This weekend a science fiction classic was unleashed upon an unsuspecting public, bringing together Pixar's classic storytelling style with the raw, inspired and eco-conscious sci-fi of the '70s. Pulling from a number of sources, Wall-E paints a bleak yet beautiful and ultimately hopeful picture of the future while satirizing almost every aspect of mainstream American culture. And you thought it was just about a cute little robot playing with mundane objects. So whether you are still on the fence about seeing it or looking to find out more about where it came from after seeing it, here are a number of great films that have clearly inspired Wall-E.
2001: A Space Odyssey: The Arthur C. Clark/Stanley Kubrick masterpiece about a doomed mission to Jupiter to investigate the source of an alien signal. This is the most obvious of influences and can be seen in several points throughout the second half of the film. While the visual gags will be obvious to some, there's an absolutely unmistakable audio cue that will be obvious to all. Of course one of the characters is also clearly drawn from this brilliant film.
Silent Running: The classic yet mostly forgotten science fiction film about a pilot (Bruce Dern) helming the Valley Forge, a vast space freighter carrying the very last specimens of Earth's plant life aboard it. When orders come in to scuttle the cargo and return home, Dern's Lowell murders his crew and hijacks the ship in an effort to keep alive this last piece of Earth's history. Bored and lonely, Lowell reprograms the ship's service droids, who eventually become his closest friends. A beautiful, moody and somewhat dark film, this ushered in some of the great sci-fi of the '70s. If there is any one film that's most responsible for the creation of Wall-E, it's this one.
Logan's Run: While this film never quite explains what happened to humanity, one thing is certain. We've moved underground and thrown ourselves into the hedonistic, sexual revolution of the '70s -- and we're all are forced to commit suicide when we're 30, or one of the government-appointed Sandmen will take care of it for you. An interesting look at what happens when we become confined by our own protections and ultimately forget who we are -- a theme that plays very heavily into the second half of Wall-E.
Soylent Green: You know what Soylent green is. And if you don't, don't ask. Just watch this movie. But don't tell ANYONE, ANYONE AT ALL that you're about to watch it. They'll spoil the big twist ending in which '70s Science fiction legend Charlton Heston belts out one of his most classic lines. Much like Logan's Run, this film is a large part of the inspiration for the ultimate message in Wall-E.
Star Wars: While not a tonal or content influence on Wall-E, Star Wars is influential in other unmistakable ways. Without R2-D2, C-3PO or that scene aboard the Jawa Sandcrawler, would there even be a Wall-E? I don't think so.