The movie posters and trailer for Pixar’s WALL-E feature a cute rusty little robot whose curiosity and personality are evident in his large binocular-like eyes. However, while the market
ing presents the movie as humorous and light-hearted, it masks the darker message and social commentary that makes the movie an environmental dystopia.
In all the posters it is evident that Planet Earth, set 700 years in the future, is uninhabitable due to the amount of garbage and waste covering every inch of it. WALL-E’s job, along with other robots, is to get rid of enough of it to make Earth habitable again. As more and more evidence comes out about how waste created by humans is destroying habitats and helping to increase the number of species on the endangered and extinct lists, this movie is reflecting a possible nightmarish future for Planet Earth.
The trailer and poster mainly feature EVE and WALL-E and their love story. This causes the audience to initially view it more as a typical love story in an animated kid’s movie. However the attempts to stop WALL-E from being with EVE and his development of a personality being called a glitch subtly present a more adult viewer with the classic characteristics of a dystopia trying to suppress individualism, in this case the individuality of the robots.
What if WALL-E been marketed specifically toward adults instead of Pixar’s traditional “fun for the whole family” marketing strategy?
Well, the posters would probably have been darker and more nightmarish. The love story between EVE AND WALL-E would most likely have been less prominent and the social criticisms would have emphasized as opposed to subtly placed here and there. The spaceship holding the remaining humans would offer an even more morbid vision than the already pretty negative view of the self-centered and sedentary life led on that ship.
Since the movie is geared towards children and families, not only adults, the audience walks into the theater expecting a laugh and not a life lesson and a warning for society about the dangers facing our environment and even our bodies if humans as a whole continue down the path of not caring for Planet Earth and consumer materialism. And though the former may be what a small child gets out of it, WALL-E gives adolescents and adults the latter though it has roped them into seeing the movie with the promise of the former.