I’m sorry, everyone, but the human beings at the end of Disney Pixar’s “WALL-E” are totally fucked. There’s just no getting around it. No happy ending.
You probably shouldn’t read on if you haven’t seen the film, because this pretty much spoils the whole movie, but let’s face it — you’re going to read on anyway. I’ll recap the film and its ending briefly, using big words in the beginning so kids won’t know what I’m talking about, and they’ll get bored and leave:
In the not-too-distant future, Earth has become so clotted with the detritus of unfettered capitalism that the biosphere has become unsustainable for all flora and fauna. So there’s goddam garbage all over the place. So all the humans bugger off into space temporarily while robots attempt to dispose of all the trash. WALL-E is, 700 years later, the only futuristic Roomba left still cleaning the planet. He’s cute and diligent and has a great personality. All the humans have become morbidly obese, sedentary blobs living on what’s essentially a cruise ship in space. They eat everything through a straw and move about only on hovering chairs, their limbs reduced to pudgy flippers. Then a bunch of cartoony shit happens. Eventually, the humans discover they can return to Earth because they found a plant that’s still able to grow in the toxic soil and atmosphere. The end shows thousands of dimwitted, porcine people landing on the planet and cheering humanity’s triumphant return to Earth, even though the planet is still brown-yellow with ash and grime and covered in skyscraper-tall piles of crap as far as we can see, because their brilliant plan to clean it all up didn’t work.
One of the main human characters buries the plant in the harsh, unforgiving soil, waters it, and proclaims that he’s teaching the rest of the population something called “farming.” “We can grow pizza!” he says. Everyone cheers. It’s a really cute scene.
I was thinking:
“You will all be cannibals inside two harsh winters.”
1. The plant doesn’t even look like a vegetable. In fact, the plant that gave everyone hope that living things could survive on Earth looks suspiciously like ivy. Try getting a decent snack out of it — never mind a meal.
2. There are wicked bad duststorms every few days. The movie shows them happening a few times: horrific roars of sand and dirt and debris whipping across the blasted landscape. Combine that with slow-moving pudgy people and a fragile ivy plant with something like three leaves left on it growing in parched soil, and there’s just no good news I can give you.
3. The humans haven’t learned a fucking thing. In fact, the filthy swine who left the planet in such awful condition have only gotten worse as the movie goes on. We see them in space consuming more crap than ever before and making more garbage than ever before and chucking it out the back of the spaceship while the autopilot robots presumably check the rearview mirrors for state troopers. Most humans don’t even realize, while they’re floating around in the giant cruise ship, that they’re living near other people, for Chrissake. You think they’re suddenly going to band together to clean up 1,000-foot-high pillars of crushed metal and possibly toxic waste?
4. The humans think pizza grows from plants. Screwed. They’re all screwed.
5. There are no other animals on the planet besides people and one cockroach. So there’s no source of protein other than the cockroach and their own flesh. You see some fish in the closing credits, but who knows where the fuck they came from? There are no cows, no chickens, no livestock of any kind. Either they’d have to synthesize their own milk in their now-docked cruise liner, or people will be eating that pizza with human boob cheese.
6. They’re too obese to work more than a few minutes at a time. You ever see a farmer who couldn’t stand up because he was too fat? You ever see a longshoreman who couldn’t walk a few feet without breathing problems? The humans in “WALL-E” look about 400 to 450 pounds each, maybe even bigger. They’re going to put in a decent day’s hard labor, tilling poisoned soil and desalinating water to quench the thirst of that parched ivy plant that won’t even bear any fruit? Most will die of heart attacks and/or starvation and/or crime first.
7. The humans are plump, juicy, and boneless — and plentiful. In a particularly chilling scene for a kids’ cartoon, the former president warns that humans living for hundreds of years in low-gravity conditions can expect some “bone loss.” This leaves behind a race of people that is fatty, meaty, and has few bones — essentially, humanity is a spicy breading away from being buffalo wings. After a few months of ivy-and-dust goulash, living on a planet completely dead of all other life, with no culture or art left, very little in the way of entertainment, and no food, I’m sorry but the people are going to start looking at each other’s round, firm hocks and tender flanks with moist mouths. After maybe half another season of a collective, unspoken, “You thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?” the people will almost certainly begin to club each other over the head with the nearest bit of debris and harvest them for fillets and sirloins. They’d be smart to start with the older ones first. They’ll realize they have an abundant supply but a necessarily dwindling supply, then establish some sort of organized farming-and-bartering system. It won’t be a pretty picture once that system begins to break down, as it must inevitably do, by — what else? — a return of the old capitalist ideas of elitism and social inequality, because some people will be bred to be the eaters and farmers while others will be bred to be breaded. It’ll be ugly indeed. Sort of like “The Road.” But then after a few years, all that’ll be left will be a few hardscrabble boneless obese insane creatures barely recognizable as once having been human living in whatever garbage shelter they can find until they either die of disease or malnutrition or by becoming someone else’s nutrition, and then all the humans will be effectively gone — which leaves our heroes WALL-E and EVE (remember them?) to live on into eternity without care, happily ever after!