Fat! Lazy! Humans! Destroy the Earth: Wall-E does not compute

By | June 10, 2008

Warning! Deeply UNFORTUNATE Wall-E spoilers ahead!

If you haven’t already, do check out the open Kung Fu Panda thread over at Shapely Prose. I’d pretty much (sight unseen) written off the movie as good for little more than multiple Orientalist buzz word and Fat Hate bingos, but commenters have persuaded me that there is some definite baby steps value in there, since the main character ultimately doesn’t undertake a diet or weightloss regime to gain skill & the respect of his peers. I’m not exactly thrilled with the other things described (food used as motivation etc) in the thread, but I’m somewhat placated by the fact that it isn’t just another hour and fourty minutes of focused fat hate and mockery. I wish I could say the same for some of the other upcoming animated releases.

The early descriptions of Pixar’s upcoming summer release Wall-E are rather harrowing, to say the least.

Over on the thread linked to above Bekki mentioned that the “villains” of Wall-e (which my partner & I have been looking forward to since the first images of the little Johnny-5 esque robot were released… we say “Wall-e” to each other in the voice and everything, it’s really quite sad) take the form of (the ever so original and not hackneyed at all) Fat! American! Couch! Potatoes! I didn’t want to believe that Pixar, the folks behind last summer’s resplendent Ratatouille, a brilliant movie about the importance of nourishment and appearance not ultimately dictating a person’s (or rat’s) skills or passions, could be capable of perpetrating some sort of heinous obesity crisis storyline but it seems the ugly rumours are true:

“WALL-E indeed seems to be making a statement about fitness and the obesity crisis. ‘It shows a future in which mankind literally spends all day on a giant starship moving around in floating chairs, drinking liquified food from Big-Gulp-esque cups, and forever surfing (and chatting) on chair-mounted video screens,’ says the source.

A section of the film reveals the history of mankind’s fall into sloth and fat: ‘There’s an amazing sequence where the camera pans over portraits of the previous captains of the ship — and we watch as they slowly devolve into amorphous blobs with each successive generation. Will the lethargic humans re-awaken to their possibilities as people? I hate spoilers: you’ll have to see the movie to find out!’ “

full text here

The (cited) article over at calorielab (from back in October) goes on to say these early screenings the human characters hadn’t been fully rendered yet, so it’s not clear whether or not they will actually appear as Jabba the Hutt with arms and legs in the final cut of the film… Still this is so INCREDIBLY disappointing. I feel personally betrayed by Pixar right now.

UPDATE: Rachel at the F-Word, wrote about this way back in November and I encourage you to read her incisive and detailed analysis of how this sort of portrayal advances damaging fat stereotypes here & here. We pulled from the exact same article even, so I’m kind of stunned my google search for didn’t turn up her posts on the movie. Evidently my google-fu is failing me today. Thanks, Rachel for being so cordial! I personally feel like I should have been whacked with a clue-by-four on this one.

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