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The Cautionary Tale of Wall-E

            WALL-E is an animated movie produced by Pixar and Disney in 2008. Directed by Andrew Stanton, the story follows a robot named Wall-E, who is designed to clean up an abandoned, waste-covered Earth seven-hundred years into the future. WALL-E presents a cautionary tale by representing a potential future where we face the global impacts of overconsumption, corporate control, total lifestyle automation and cultural conformity. This urges the viewer to stop and look around at how their day to day actions determine their own future and the future of our planet. Stanton has used a number of devices to convey the warnings to the audience, including use of a futuristic, familiar, harsh dystopian setting, subtle symbolism, juxtaposition and clever characterization reversals. A number of film techniques such as camera angles, shots, movement, lighting and sound have also helped deliver these messages.
             The first important message Stanton presents in WALL-E is that overconsumption leads to excessive wastage, which will poison the earth, making it uninhabitable. In the very first scene Stanton juxtaposes the shining stars and beauty space, against the dull, destroyed Earth. As the camera dollies in on Earth, the audience passes through space junk and a thick, brown haze of pollution. The removal of colour to sepia tones symbolises aged surroundings with lighting minimal. The camera passes over an abandoned electrical powerstation, which symbolises the overconsumption of Earth's finite recourses, coal. The camera continues to zoom over a vast wasteland of trash, before stopping at a long abandoned city where skyscrapers have been recreated out of compacted trash, reminding the audience that waste has overtaken human civilization. The removal of dialogue in these earth scenes emphasizes the lifelessness of the setting. By deliberately allowing the camera to focus on specific trash items, including discarded Pixar animation characters as well as familiar box and plastic items, Stanton is using irony to jolt audiences to the realisation that they are responsible for this mess.

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