With so many different entertainment options out there for your children, we at PopcornBiz thought we'd take a moment each week to dissect one piece of family entertainment strictly from a parent's perspective, so that you know what parts are appropriate for your loved ones, and which are not. This week's COVER YOUR EYES subject: “WALL*E.”
If you're wondering why Disney decided to plunk down a $250 million for the upcoming "John Carter," a movie that's based obscure source material and features no big box office draws, you must look to the man at the helm of it all: Andrew Stanton. Stanton is the man who directed both "Finding Nemo" and "WALL*E," which are generally regarded as two of the best movies Pixar has ever made. It was Disney's faith in Stanton that caused them to make such a risky gamble. With that movie in mind, this is a good time to look back at "WALL*E" and see if Stanton's masterpiece is appropriate for kids. Let's consider a few factors:
The “Will Parents Be Able To Tolerate It?” Factor: Yes. In fact, "WALL*E" is one of those Pixar movies (like "Ratatouille") that practically goes out of its way to not be a kiddie film. In many ways, this is an extremely stark movie, featuring a vision of the future that will cause anyone who sees it to question the end of the world and perhaps the end of humanity as well. I have a six-year-old and the kid asks about death and dying ALL THE TIME. "WALL*E" is not a sound distraction from all that gloominess. Younger kids may even be bored by it.
The Dead Parent Factor: Does Mother Earth count? Because Mother Earth is essentially a corpse at the beginning of this film. The wide shots of the garbage stacks are impossibly depressing, kinda like watching the end of "A.I." Anyway, the Earth is "saved" at the end and all that. But hoo boy, it ain't an easy ride getting there.
The Sexy Sex Sex Factor: WALL*E and Eve dance in the sky and stuff like that. But they never go into the supply closet on the Axiom and, you know, change fluids. Kind of a shame. I bet there's "WALL*E" slash fiction out there that would blow your mind.
The Scare Factor: There are no monsters or scary animal attacks in "WALL*E." Here, there are only "deep scares," a term I'm gonna use for scary IDEAS, things that might disturb a child and cause them to despair. Again, the world dying is kind of a bleak thing.
The Violence Factor: Lots of robot-on-robot damage done here. Who knew robots could be so mean to each other? Also, Eve pulls a gun on WALL*E at the beginning, which is NOT a proper lesson in courtship. There's also the matter of (spoiler alert) WALL*E "dying" at the end of the movie, with Eve bringing him back to life and rebooting his memory after it's been erased. Again, all scary on an existential level.
The Racism Factor: Zero.
Age Range: 5 and up.