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New Essay on Wall-E by Michelle Yates

2015 September 29
by Shared by Steve Rust

My copy of the summer 2015 issues of ISLE arrived yesterday and I was thrilled to see a terrific contribution to ecomedia studies by Michelle Yates. The essay is titled: “Labor as “Nature,” Nature as Labor: “Stay the Course” of Capitalism in WALL-E‘s Edenic Recovery Narrative”.

You can access the full text of Michelle’s article through the ISLE website. Here’s an excerpt:

“What if humanity left and some little robot got left on and kept doing the same thing forever?” Director Andrew Stanton and his Pixar colleagues chewed on this question over lunch one day in 1994. Though left unanswered for over a decade, the question eventually resurfaced to inspire the 2008 animated blockbuster WALL-E, Pixar’s ninth financial success in a row, which led its opening weekend with an estimated $62.5 million in sales. Since its 2008 release, when it won Best Animated Feature at The Academy Awards, Best Film of the Year from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and Movie of the Year from the American Film Institute, critics have been raving about WALL-E, with Joe Morgenstern at The Wall Street Journal going so far as to call the film a masterpiece on par with classics like Singin’ in the Rain. In fact, the description of WALL-E as a masterpiece is critical commonplace, and this appears, on the surface at least, to stem from its unlikely success as an animated kid-flick with a feel-good message about Earth’s impending doom. Who else but Pixar could offer its audiences—in the very same year of capital’s most serious economic crisis to date—the fantasy that they could actually face, and maybe even bounce back from, the consequences of their own habituated overconsumption—and this by way of a trash-picking protagonist who is all at once an unwaged worker, a happy-go-lucky heroic figure, and a cuddly automaton?

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