Study Guide

WALL-E Setting

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Earth, 2805 A.D.; Axiom

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We only get one planet, and WALL-E shows us how badly we treat it. About 700 years before the movie takes place, a corporation called Buy-N-Large has taken over Earth (or at least the U.S.). They own everything. There's a BNL store, gas station, bank, and fast food, featuring a quadruple cheeseburger as one of its main menu items. No wonder all the humans in the movie are so plump.

Speaking of humans… there aren't any on Earth. They've left, and we don't see any for the first thirty-nine-and-a-half minutes of the movie, when WALL-E encounters the strange beings on the Axiom (but more on that later).

The Earth we see is covered in trash. So much trash, that after 700 years, WALL-E is still cleaning it up. Recovery seems hopeless, until WALL-E finds the plant that leads him and EVE to the Axiom.

FATtlestar Galactica

What was intended to be a five-year cruise took a Gilligan-esque turn, turning into a 700 year cruise. It's a cruise that would give David Foster Wallace hives, with a fully automated robot crew intended to ensure that humans do absolutely nothing. They abide by the Buy-N-Large motto: "Buy Shop Live."

But is this living? It's a world that's always 72 degrees, where "there's no need to walk" and all meals are slurped in cups. No one has an identity. All the humans wear identical bodysuits and are sold new ones periodically. "Attention, Axiom shoppers. Try blue. It's the new red," the computer announces, and—boom—everyone changes to blue! (Where do they get their money if no one works?) Even the children are being brainwashed at an early age: "A is for Axiom, your home sweet home. B is for Buy N Large, your very best friend."

What is C for? Capitalism? Consumerism? Calories?

When the Captain decides that this existence isn't living, he returns to Earth, and our two settings collide… but more on that in "What's Up with the Ending?"

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