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Fridge Brilliance

  • I was really irritated by the portrayal of future humans in WALL•E as morbidly obese, lazy to the point of helplessness, and entirely self-absorbed... until I realized that the point was not to be a slam against fat people, but to liken the humans to infants. It really clicked for me when it occurred to me that they all wear one-piece jumpsuits (rather like layettes) and consume only liquids. And then I realized that even their obesity has kind of a cuddly appeal, like the chubbiness of well-fed babies. It's not that they're all gluttonous, disgusting slobs, it's that too much luxury and not enough challenge has robbed them of their independence. (And then I wondered how I ever could have made the first assumption, when it is a Pixar film—no one who works for John Lasseter would ever mistake fatness for an indication of laziness!)
    • A throwaway line about the effects of microgravity on bone formation suggests that it was a serious attempt to represent the effects of hundreds of years in space. That said, the "babies" metaphor fits perfectly with the scene at the end where the Captain learns to walk for the first time.
      • Word of God confirms the infant explanation if you watch the DVD commentary.
      • Likewise, the infant explanation is referenced in Peter Gabriel's song Down to Earth, written for the movie, in the line "Coming down to Earth/Like babies at birth".
      • A scientific explanation would be “potato disease” (although this troper is not sure that's the actual name). If you can't find its meaning, it basically causes astronauts and humans in space to become extremely obese.
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    • WALL-E obviously pays a lot of homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is another movie that likened humanity to infants in the grand scheme of space — in 2001, the first space-faring humans the audience sees need to learn how to walk, feed themselves, and use the restroom in space, evoking the same things toddlers learn.
  • The first time watching WALL•E, I thought that his reawakening by EVE's kiss at the end was pure Deus ex Machina, as I didn't see how that little spark could do all that. Then, rewatching their first kiss, I realized that you could interpret his reaction as a system reboot. As such, the whole thing makes perfect sense: when EVE repairs him after his fatal system crash, he boots up in safe mode, with just the base operating system running. One clean reboot later, and all user customization is restored, including 700 years of learned personality. -dscrank
    • This Troper saw it differently. During their first kiss, I saw the spark as an exchange of information. So a part of WALL•E was transferred over to EVE. When Eve kissed him at the end, the information was copied back into his system. It is possible however he just needed some time to process.
    • Another possibility: Motherboards are distinct pieces of hardware from data storage. If only his motherboard was shorted out, it's possible that his hard drive (or whatever data storage device he uses) was still intact. And when he was given a new one, it was simply a matter of his old memories being accessed by a new processor. That's why it took so long for him to recall his memories. They were still "installing" while EVE was trying to revive him.
  • I realized what Beta Couple Mary and John represented after seeing their names next to each other. They represent mankind, plus they are two of the three humans who actually meet WALL•E. Do their names remind you of anyone? Hint: Think Mary and Joseph. The ending of WALL•E is mankind creating a new beginning on Earth, it could be a way of saying their sins were being purged. Not sure if this was intentional, but it sure fits! -Gallows
    • I figured (thanks to the entry directly above) that is was Mary Magdalene and John the Baptist- The two most commonly-recalled Apostles. They helped spread the word to which WALL•E had opened their eyes, even after WALL•E got taken down in a self-defeating plan to keep the status quo from shifting. -JET 73 L
      • The names always seemed significant to me until I read that they are also the two most common names in English, showing how humans stopped thinking about things such as names or perhaps showing they were named by a robot that would only know really common names. - bookworm389
      • Mary Magdalene and John the Baptist were not Apostles.
      • Mary (either the Magdalene, the "other one", or both, depending on to whom certain uses of the name referred and which books one accepts as Apocrypha versus outright fabrication) was an apocryphal apostle; I accept and appreciate the correction/reminder that John the Baptist and John the Apostle were different people.
      • Apostle doesn't just have to refer to the twelve either. Paul, Barnabas, Timothy, Silas, and Apollos were also called apostles.
      • ...and not the mother and stepfather of Jesus?
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    • Or maybe they chose the common names deliberately to say "There is nothing special about these people except luck! Anyone can break the mould like this! You don't have to be Garimathian Ordinald Sturrian de Verinald, any regular Joe John could do this." - Thinks Too Much.
      • And this interpretation fits nicely with WALL•E's story, since he more or less puts humankind back on the right track by falling in love.
    • John and Mary is the name of romantic drama from 1969. It's a shout out to that movie and their implied romantic plot. The religious element may still apply as a Double Meaning.
  • The captain fools Auto twice with holograms. Auto only has one eye, and thus lacks depth perception. "Come and get it, Blinky" indeed.
    • This troper thinks that it is the camera which would be fooled as it is the one relaying the image, but questions why did the camera not perceive depth perception with its focusing function. All modern cameras should have a focusing function, not to mention one on a high-tech space cruiser.
    • Except it probably does, but given that most of the robots on the ship don't interface directly (like the typing robot or the release capsule in EVE's introductory scene), Auto probably only sees what would be displayed on the monitor... plus, he's not terribly bright to begin with (he doesn't even think to check whether any of the holographic displays were on, or to send GO-4 in instead of addressing it himself, and a good portion of the plot has to do with him overlooking the span of time since his "do not return to Earth" order), so the image being a little blurry or transparent isn't going to make it any harder to fool him.
  • In WALL•E, after much thought, is that this could actually be considered Pixar's first live-action feature! The humans presented in the video of the BNL's star ships were real humans, not CGIed ones. As was Fred Willard's role as the ADO of BNL, Shelby Forthright and the previous captains of the main star cruiser. The reasoning is that since the people got so fat, their bodies became more misshapen and too puffy, it would look cartoony so they could get away saying it was CGI. The robots could have been either way since they're robots and would look good either way.
  • I had a moment of Fridge Brilliance when reading the page for Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale. A lot of people griped that it was unrealistic for the humans to survive on Earth after coming back. I thought about the distances involved... and then I realized, for WALL•E and EVE making the journey to the Axiom and back, time has no meaning. They're robots! As for the humans returning at the end of the film, they blast into what looks like a Star Trek style faster-than-light warp and come straight back to Earth in what seems like a few seconds. However, according to relativity, more time than what they experienced would pass on Earth. Hence, we see Earth going from having one small, limp-looking plant, to having entire fields covered in greenery in the last scene. Keep in mind that at no point does the captain or anyone else mention how long it has been since the EVE probes were sent to Earth, only that "no probe's ever come back positive before." It's quite possible that EVE was launched a long, long, time before the events of the movie. After all, they've been out there for 700 years. -nitrokitty
    • Actually, Auto does refer to EVE as 'Annual Probe 1', suggesting they are sent (or return) exactly once a year. Going by the montage of WALL•E caring for EVE's dormant body (after EVE acquires the plant), it does seem that EVE was on Earth for at least a few seasons, so this makes sense.
      • If EVE probes are sent to the earth annually, then they must have landed at random points around the world. The WALL-E robots might have been worldwide, but they could all be limited in how far they could go to clean up the earth. The one WALL-E that never shut down and developed sentience just so happened to be in the one place an EVE probe was randomly placed in. It took almost 700 tries for one EVE probe to interact with a working, sentient robot on Earth. The odds of that happening have to be astronomically high to the point it was a miracle (in context) that they even met at all.
    • WALL•E's trip on the EVE ship through space is clearly happening at sub-light speeds, meaning it must take several centuries at least to reach the Axiom (The ship is seen within a nebula, and the closest nebula to earth is around 400 light years away; if the shuttle were travelling at near light-speed, space would appear distorted, so it must be travelling much slower than that). The return trip in the Axiom is clearly at warp speed. If it's a light drive, then it takes another 400 or so years for humanity to get back to Earth; if it's a hyper-light drive or a wormhole system, it could take as little time the few seconds it looks like in the film. Either way, there's plenty of time for the plants to flourish on Earth since the beginning of the film.
      • This is kind of thrown off by the fact that WALL•E's pet cockroach is still around and waiting for him, meaning it couldn't have taken that long for him to go and get back.
  • Disobeying directives. At first, EVE thinks of nothing but her directive, but as her gain of human emotions increases thanks to her contact with WALL•E, it becomes less important to her, until she has to make a choice between staying with the broken WALL•E and continuing to try to repair him or delivering the plant to the captain. She chooses to try to fix WALL•E. In contrast, AUTO never, ever strays from his directive, no matter what extreme measures he has to take to obey it ( such as throwing WALL•E down the garbage can after shocking him, confining the captain to headquarters, or forcing EVE to watch WALL•E get seriously hurt and nearly killed.) It's essentially what makes him a Shadow Archetype to EVE.
  • Near the beginning of the movie, Eve's fondness of her BFG and general trigger-happy tendencies seem a little brash for a well programmed, professional piece of equipment. Of course, that's just the point- Eve was programmed to think of Earth as wild and dangerous for living things, just like Auto. To her, Earth is the land of Everything Trying to Kill You.
  • Buy n Large never learned. It's still compacting its trash into cubes and throwing it out, even on the Axiom.
    • Which leads to another question: where is the Axiom getting its raw materials for the products it uses and throws away?
      • The nebula they're hanging out in contains raw elements for lifetimes. They've surely got the technology to handle that. The question is why don't they recycle? Do the robots self-replicate? Who made those mice???
      • Maybe the mice were made to gather any recyclable material.
      • Maybe there was a trailing ship that collects the cubes for processing (WALL-Ps, if you will). The Axiom was a liner, not a factory.
      • While the Captain was doing the system check, he asked the computer about "regenerating food stores" or something along those lines. It's possible there's replicator-like technology (ala Star Trek) that produces more of the same food, again and again.
  • The fact that all the robots have to interact with machines by pushing buttons seems dumb, but when you look at how A.I.s work, it makes perfect sense. The easiest way to get an out-of-control AI is to let a bunch of them network together and share information and processing power without human oversight. By making sure the only way they can interact with each other is through buttons and switches you can keep the robots from evolving into something uncontrollable.
  • Assuming the closing image of plants growing outside the city is real-time, and not a glimpse of Earth's future recovery, the cockroach's survival and presence of Wall-E's plant make more sense. They're not lone survivors of their respective species; they're organisms that just happen to have wandered (as wind-blown seed in the plant's case) out of the already-vegetated areas. The only reason that Wall-E hadn't realized life was thriving outside the city's fringe is that he'd not yet run out of trash to scoop and compact in the city, so never left the area which was had been most heavily-polluted and thus took longest to recover. Likewise, the only reason the Axiom hadn't returned to Earth centuries ago was that all previous EVE-probes were eliminated by AUTO before they could activate the green-leaf signal, not having a stowaway around to disrupt the landing-bay area and prevent this EVE from being disposed of quietly, too.
    • Or perhaps, the city was just where WALL-E stockpiled the trash (e.g. his personal landfill). Given how much trash there was, he was probably spending as much time maintaining the city and his roadways as he was getting new trash. The plant might have caught his attention for its unusual nature rather than its uniqueness e.g. he found it odd that a plant would be growing in the trash rather than with the rest of the plants.
  • Whether it happens in Real Life is for us to find out, but of course Eternal English is present on the Axiom! Everything is recorded, so the sound never degenerates or distorts, and so all humans born and raised have an audio guide to speaking a language that, due to in-universe Author Existence Failure, cannot be changed or reprogrammed.
  • Various "the world after humanity" documentaries show the world returning to a near-pristine condition in less than a century of total human abandonment. Even our tallest skyscrapers would crumble to dust within 100 years, petroleum products (oil, gasoline, plastics, etc.) break down in mere years, metals corrode, etc. By 700 years there would be no sign humanity had ever stood on this world's surface. However, the denuded, waterless, dust-storm-swept Earth that BnL left behind would take much longer to recover — certainly not just a century. That plant life was starting to reappear in sheltered places was a small miracle in itself, which brings us to the start of the movie!
  • Meaningful Name: The first E in EVE stands for Extraterrestrial, suggesting her model was originally for searching for plant life on other planetary bodies, on Mars or some kind of Exosolar Planet. Once things were looking bad for the Earth, those models could just as easily be sent to it, without much change to the function or design, and therefore to the name.
  • The Axiom is a literal ark that people use to escape an uninhabitable Earth until it's recovered enough for them to return. EVE's sleek white design is no accident: she's the dove who brings back a living plant as proof that it's safe to disembark.
  • Why would the WALL•As stop what they're doing and give EVE a lit space to fix WALL•E in? Because he's probably their predecessor and they can recognize that.
  • At the beginning of WALL•E, the song playing has they lyrics "And we won't come home until we kissed a girl!" And what's one of the things that helps bring WALL•E back to his senses? A kiss from Eve.
  • WALL•E's boot-up sound is an Apple Macintosh sound. Of course, Rule of Funny and a cute reference to Pixar's parent company. But specifically it's the boot-up sound of a Performa desktop computer. The Performa was Apple's workhorse computer of the 1990s: a simple and durable machine produced in large quantities, nothing fancy or super-powerful, but capable and reliable. This sums up WALL•E as well.
  • Another thing that could make sense about the religious parallels: When this troper was watching the movie, they realized something; before WALL-E broke the communication device on her chair, Mary was wearing blue clothes. Guess what color is proeminently featured (besides white) in most representations of the Virgin Mary?

Fridge Horror

  • One might expect at the beginning that all humanity was evacuated onto the spacecraft. But near the end, the entire populace aboard the ship is visible; the population of a small town. Now one might ask: Did they really abandon more than 99% of the Earth's population on the planet (which, at that point of time would have been much bigger than And, if yes, where are the remains? There must be remains (well, at least skeletons) or at least survivors on Earth. If there are any of both, they are never shown. Then again, one might think that the ship once held all of earth's population on board (and that it naturally decreased over the dozens of dozens of generations in those 700 years), but in the aforementioned final shot, it is apparent, that it never could have held any more people than were presently on board (the aforementioned small town). So, what happened to the other people that possibly made it on board? Well, any answer and conclusion that we come to could easily pass as rather disturbing.
    • You're forgetting something though, there were other ships. The one the movie takes place on was the flagship, or the main one leading the others. Of course, it does beg the question of whatever happened to the other ships. Did the signal to go back to Earth reach them? Did they die out and AUTO never told anyone? Did AUTO possibly disable the other ships as a big "screw you" before his deactivation?
      • Watch the credits closely - one of the shots is of escape pods landing and more humans coming out. So they got back, eventually.
      • You also have to consider that any people left behind would have disintegrated by the time of the movie. We know it's been at least 700 years, and the planet was so toxic that you required a gas mask/oxygen tank. And the soil couldn't support plant life for that entire time. So, we know the air and ground were toxic, and we can surmise that the water was as well. No living thing could survive for long without radical adaptation or suffering horrific respiratory issues. Also, if the world was that toxic, it was probably capable of breaking down flesh and bone faster than normal.
    • The Directive A113 recording implies that there were people left behind, such as ADO Shelby Forthright and some BnL personnel, presumably to oversee the clean-up work while everyone else was off in space. On the other hand, Forthright's ragged appearance and the sirens blaring in the video suggest that what's left of civilization was falling apart from all the toxicity. One has to wonder what became of all of them...
      • Shelby's final "let's get the heck out of here" implies that he has someplace to go. He may have just meant another building in some miserable company compound, but if you want to be optimistic, perhaps BnL had saved one last ship.
    • In the "Operation Recolonize" message McCrea gets when EVE comes back positive, if you listen closely when Shelby says "And the Axiom will immediately navigate your return to Earth!", it sounds a lot like "Axiom" was inserted there later. This implies that there were other ships and the one base message was edited accordingly, otherwise "Axiom" wouldn't have such a different tone and inflection compared to the rest of the sentence.
      • Word of God in the movie script confirms this, noting it as sounding like a bad edit.
    • The existence of other ships doesn't necessarily imply the existence of enough to house earth's entire population. It would seem out of character for a ruthless, greedy megacorporation like Buy n' Large to undertake such a monumental humanitarian task as that. Most likely they built a limited number of ships, sold tickets to those who could afford them, and left everyone else behind. Probably only the very wealthy were saved.
    • In the scene in the store where WALL•E gets chased by carts you can briefly see a banner advertising an "Evacuation Sale" (70% off) so we may presume whomever was initially left evacuated later.
  • WALL•E takes pieces of his fallen friends and comrades for himself so that he can stay alive. Cannibalism, anyone?
    • More like donating organs, really. He's not eating them or even using them as fuel, he's replacing broken parts of his body.
    • Plus, we see him take off his treads when he enters his "house"... maybe those sorts of things are more like clothes. It's still a bit creepy to take clothes off of corpses, but not that creepy.
    • Also, he's a trash compactor. He probably wasn't programmed with a respect for the dead, since his life's purpose is to compress chunks of unmoving metal.
  • Let's see... BnL Is the government and owns every business. Communism?
    • You got it backwards, dude. BnL is a business and owns every government. Capitalism.
    • No, communism is the elimination of private property entirely. If the government owns all the means of production, that's closer to socialism, not communism. Communism would be if the means of production were owned by nobody, but instead were treated as though they were owned by everybody and could be used according to need instead of possession.
    • And then we have an interesting point; Since BnL is a business that owns every single government, it may have effectively become the Government itself. Like Capitalism and Communism combined.
      • Which would be Mercantilism: Everything devoted to production, manufacture and labor, aiming for the highest return on the lowest investment while making sure customers can still buy the product. Classic mercantilism emphasizes domestic production over more expensive importation, so BnL made everything theirs, and thus "domestic".
  • It's presumed that all Pixar movies so far take place in the same universe. In pretty much all of the Pixar movies, one can find a reference to another Pixar movie. In WALL•E, the Pizza Planet truck can be seen, just briefly, in the garbage pile. In Toy Story 3, it's even shown that Buzz Lightyear runs on Buy n Large batteries. Seeing the other Pixar movies making references to each other implies that they're all linked together (such as Toy Story references in Finding Nemo, Cars, and Monsters, Inc..). That means in WALL•E, a film taking place in the future, all the characters from the other movies may be dead. Seeing how polluted the earth is, clownfish may even be extinct. If the toys from Toy Story haven't died yet, it means they just wander the wasteland forever, no one to play with them and only waiting for death...
    • Well, yeah, but that's not to say they all didn't live long, happy lives. It's like if they made a movie about dinosaurs. Unless it ends with a meteor flying through the sky, it's not confirmed they died immediately. But still, by the time the other movies take place dinosaurs have gone extinct. The lovable characters have died by then, but life goes on. It's not that bad.
    • Actually, all of a sudden, Cars makes perfect sense. The automobiles are all the super-advanced AI-controlled automobiles that everybody left behind when they abandoned Earth.
    • If I recall correctly, there was a man named Andy in the prequel comic, Out There...
    • Now that I think about it, we've seen how "built to last" B&L products are. Assuming Woody etc. are B&L products or at least repaired with B&L parts, who’s to say Andy's family and friends haven't been passing the gang down to other kids for 700 years? Just because we don't see toys doesn't mean there aren't any.
    • Of course, given how passive and disconnected everybody seems to be, if Woody and the gang are on the Axiom, they're probably hanging out in a storage room somewhere. or they were compacted and dumped by the WALL-As.
      • If that was the case at least Buzz would be alright since he's a spaceman.
    • The monster world in Monsters, Inc. likely had a massive energy crisis as the human population dwindled. If they didn't find a new energy source that isn't human dependant, things may have went full apocalypse.
  • One of the robots in the repair ward is defibrillating everything in sight. WALL•E lets him loose. Where was he between being released and when we next see him? The residential quarters? The daycare? Where??
  • As noted by another troper above, Pixar loves referencing its own canon in each new film. WALL•E collects things he finds while compacting trash, and one of the items briefly glimpsed in his home is Rex the dinosaur from the Toy Story trilogy, in good condition! Assuming toys are indefinitely sentient, this Rex has quietly witnessed the centuries of self-indulgent destruction of everything he once knew back in Andy's room. By the time the events of this movie take place, he's likely consigned himself to just remain on WALL•E's shelf for the rest of eternity.
    • Of course, Rex could be up and about while WALL•E is off at work, which could make for a pretty interesting (albeit creepy) spin-off short...are you reading this, Pixar and/or Wallace Shawn?
      • Who says this is the same Rex from Toy Story? This Rex could have an entirely different personality and backstory, which could make said spin off much more interesting..
  • Somewhere on that ship is a cute robot system for disposal of dead bodies.
    • And that is more horrifying than the kind of body disposal that we engage in now because...?
      • Did anyone else wonder what's in the slurpee-goo they "eat"?
    • oh god are you saying its the equivalent of soylant green?
  • One has to wonder why there is such thing as a self-destruct button in the escape pods. Imagine if said pod got somehow damaged, misguided, or any rescuer failed to retrieve it. Instead of a slow, painful, death by starvation or thirst the self-destruct would be almost a blessing.
  • There seems to be a strikingly small number of young children shown given the massive number of passengers on the ship. Many adds that we're getting even today (seven centuries prior, by default) go out of their way to mention that one's heart has to be in a certain level of health for sexual activity. If the humans did stay in space like Auto wanted, they might have eventually fizzled out because no one was healthy enough to reproduce.
    • Unless the reproductive organs were to shut down or there are robots designed to help with sexual activity (dating may have been more of an online thing, but people were still dating on the Axiom), artificial insemination may have been commonplace.
  • One of the defective robots appears to be incredibly violent and erratic, being able to destroy every single robot-guard by his own, but if you realize, that kind of robot is supposed to be a massage robot... so, probably someone was beaten really hard by this robot before they send it to repair
  • The film depicts WALL-E as the last functioning cleaner-robot on earth, without any explicit reason for his survival compared to all other WALL-E's. But, during the first moments of the movie we see WALL-E come across a non-functioning WALL-E, with the next scene showing us that he stole the dead WALL-E's tires. WALL-E survived when everyone else broke down because he recycled.
  • While it's up for debate whether the field of green plants we see at the end of the film were there all along, or are a glimpse of the Earth's future, consider what the former could mean in the context of how we see AUTO handle a positive result of an EVE pod. Maybe in the past another EVE also came back positive, but AUTO managed to get rid of the plant before the Captain saw it. After all, there's been many Captains already, who's to say that the previous one before Captain Mc Crea didn't also get a "false alarm" call once or twice, or any Captain before that? It's entirely possible AUTO's been secretly getting rid of retrieved plants for years and the only reason he didn't succeed this time is because of an unplanned for variable (i.e. Wall-E).

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