When CGI and storytelling giant Pixar teams up with Disney, the result is always dazzling. Classic after classic, the dynamic duo seems to monopolize the silver screen with their lovable gems. One of the most recent masterpieces is WALL*E, which just hit the DVD shelves last month. The tale tells of an adorable robot assigned with the apparent task of cleaning up a junk-filled earth. On the surface, the story is rich with dynamic comedy, quick and clever animation and an awkwardly cute love story. Dig deeper, however, and a new message is uncovered… a highly cynical view of American culture and an eerie prediction of a society to come. When gazed upon from a symbolic perspective, the entire film can be viewed as a cleverly disguised satire ragging on how Americans live everyday life. I think it’s not only a pertinent message, but also an extremely valuable lesson we all need to hear out. After WALL*E, my respect for Pixar and their storytelling increased on a new level.
Enter the Axiom: a space-bound craft that humans have colonized in exchange for an irresponsibly trashed earth. Set in the far future, the Axiom is the housing of thousands of morbidly obese humans, relying on machinery to meet their every whim. Sound slightly familiar? In a land based on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we are the biggest distributor of pornography. Kinda animalistic, huh? We capitalize on an industry that feeds one of the most primal instincts of human beings whenever and wherever. On the internet, in magazines, outside your door, in your homes, on your television sets, in the streets… it almost seems inevitable to become apathetic to these travesties. Pixar’s vision of a pseudo-Utopia seems pretty miserable to me. The obese residents live life from a hover-chair, not requiring any physical labor whatsoever. They shoot balls at the driving range with a flick of their finger on a touch-screen. Are your eyes widening with familiarity yet? They simply click a button and anything is delivered to them. No whim is left unsatisfied; no want is left unmet.
My question is simply this: How far are we from this? Sure, it’s presented in a child-like, satirical way, but afterwards, it left me scarred. I felt pierced by a certain truth presented in art. We are indeed falling into the predictions Aldous Huxley made in his totalitarianism society. His novel, Brave New World, is eerily becoming more and more palpable in the air we breathe. The worst thing, however, is how we don’t care. There will always be drones who work their nine-to-five, use the magic box to hypnotize themselves, and repeat until death. There will always be artists who don’t think that’s a very good idea, but how long until we become the minority? How long until the sheer pleasure and numbness of our inherent desires takes us over? What if the sweat on our brow is forever dried by the machinery we barely work hard to create?
The captain of the Axiom, after having an epiphany about the futility of his Utopia, says a line that stuck with me: “I don’t want to survive. I want to live.”
Are you alive?
I mean, are you really?