Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Sections

Commentaries on this Media!

Wall·E Watches Hello Dolly

by Sarah O'Brien

Pixar lore has it that Wall·E (2008) was conceived by Andrew Stanton as production wound down on Toy Story in 1994. In many ways, Wall·E begs to be read as a coda to the Toy Story franchise. Founded on the conceit that toys—and, presumably, all commodities—have lives of their own, the Toy Story movies follow the toy characters’ attempts to escape their fates as, alternately, garage-sale cast-offs, museum trophies, relics in the attic, and garbage. In the end, the crisis of their impending obsolescence is solved when they are handed down to a younger child who will give them life anew as her cherished toys; the cycle of consumption continues. Wall·E, meanwhile, envisions a world in which all the world’s stuff has become trash, such that humans have fled to space to feed their mindless consumption. The film presents a vision of environmental devastation so outwardly bleak that many viewers are initially puzzled its provenance as a Disney film. Yet an underlying optimism shines through as, in this scene, it expresses a fantasy that even the world’s end will not bring technological obsolescence. Someone—or something—will be there to process and reprogram the husks of iPods and VCRS, to make sense of—and to emote over—the massive media archive left by humans.

Wall·E Watches Hello Dolly

by Sarah O'Brien

Pixar lore has it that Wall·E (2008) was conceived by Andrew Stanton as production wound down on Toy Story in 1994. In many ways, Wall·E begs to be read as a coda to the Toy Story franchise. Founded on the conceit that toys—and, presumably, all commodities—have lives of their own, the Toy Story movies follow the toy characters’ attempts to escape their fates as, alternately, garage-sale cast-offs, museum trophies, relics in the attic, and garbage. In the end, the crisis of their impending obsolescence is solved when they are handed down to a younger child who will give them life anew as her cherished toys; the cycle of consumption continues. Wall·E, meanwhile, envisions a world in which all the world’s stuff has become trash, such that humans have fled to space to feed their mindless consumption. The film presents a vision of environmental devastation so outwardly bleak that most question its provenance as a Disney film. Yet an underlying optimism shines through as, in this scene, it expresses a fantasy that even the world’s end will not bring technological obsolescence. Someone—or something—will be there to process and reprogram the husks of iPods and VCRS, to make sense of—and to emote over—the massive media archive left by humans.

Wall·E Watches Hello Dolly

Filed under: , , , , ,

Wall·E returns from a day of scavenging and watches the musical Hello Dolly while he surveys his wares.

from Wall·E (2008)
Creator: Andrew Stanton
Distributor: Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Productions
Posted by Sarah O'Brien
Keywords
Genres
Options