Wall-e vs. the Agenda

Trash, trash, and more trash.  The opening scene of the Disney/Pixar film Wall-e follows a trash compacting robot adding stacks of garbage to Empire State Building size trash towers. There is no question that Wall-e was meant to inform people of what could happen to the world if we do not focus on the environment and their health.  This film purposely had an agenda to fulfill.


“Agenda Setting Theory is where the media tells people what to think about, not how to think it.” (Steele, 2016).  The film Wall-e for those who don’t know is about a robot (Wall-e) who was left on a trash covered earth to attempt to make the world livable for humans.  Currently, the humans are in spaceships waiting (quite lazily I might add) for the world to be inhabitable again.  Wall-e, the last working robot on earth, meets an advanced robot (Eve), who was sent down to earth to scope the environment.  Yadda, yadda, they fall in love (as much as mechanical beings can fall in love) and they fight to convince humans that the earth can grow life once again.

This film is telling people multiple things.  First and foremost, the film is meant to show what they world may be like in the future.  Throughout, the film we see trillions of pieces of trash, sludge rivers, and unsafe environments.  Next, the film highlights what the future of human lives will be like if people continue to not exercise and eat healthily.  For the majority of the film, the humans remain stagnate.  They are stuck eating, drinking, and lounging in hoverboard chairs meant for the elderly.  The film also shows the humans connected to their television screens, not caring about what is around them.

Wall-E obese humans - cropped

Although Wall-e is in a universe of extreme scenarios, it is still attempting to tell, nay, warn the general public on “what could happen if we don’t stop” scenarios.  The film is attempting to get the viewers to realize that we, as a human race, need to change our ways.

Even though the film shows an extremely frightening future, it is not all bad news.  The film is centered on Wall-e and Eve finding a plant on earth and trying to convince the captain and the human race that earth is can once again sustain life.  This gives the audience hope; hope that we can always change our ways.  We can reverse the path we are going towards and we can fight auto-pilot robot ships that want to stop humans from getting off the ship and going back to earth.


The ending of the film also tells people that they can reverse their health.  They can exercise, grow their own food, walk around a bit, etc.

In conclusion, I found Wall-e to be high on the agenda spectrum. That, and a hopelessly romantic love story between two robots.


Steele, C. K., Dr. “Media Effects: Agenda Setting and the News.” CSU, Fort Collins, CO. 27 Feb. 2016. Lecture.

WALL-E. Dir. Andrew Stanton. By Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, and Jeff Garlin. Prod. Jim Morris. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 2008.

7 thoughts on “Wall-e vs. the Agenda

  1. Wall-E is one of those films that causes you to think about the way that we live in our environment, and the worsening state of our health. What I think is ironic about this film though, is that although the film conveys a life where its inhabitants are nothing more than utterly lazy and unhealthy, the disney brand is often associated with over indulgence. I find it interesting, that Disney is clearly trying to find a balance between both their consumerist roots, and the over indulgent state of 21st century society. I very much enjoyed this article, looking forward to reading more!


  2. This was a great post. i remember the first time I watched Wall-E with my dad, he said that the film was pushing a “tree huger” agenda. I didn’t know what that meant until later, and now it is super obvious to me. Great use of gifs in the blog, and use of scholarly content.


  3. I loved reading your post because it was really easy to understand your content with your use of style and diction. I have never seen Wall-e, but after your description and analysis, I want to watch it! I admired your clarity and conciseness, which are two things I am working on in my own posts, so I would like to follow your example. I agree with the point that Kaitlin made about Disney finding a balance of agenda setting between their consumerists roots and indulgent contemporary society. I definitely enjoyed this piece and I am looking forward to reading more from you.


  4. I think your thoughts on this are really interesting! I agree that there is a ton of agenda setting within this movie, it definitely was meant to scare people a bit. I think the concepts you brought in were really interesting and thought provoking!


  5. When I first saw Wall-E, I definitely thought Disney was slapping us all in the face with the “don’t be addicted to technology,” “exercise more,” and “be more eco-friendly” messages. So although I wasn’t the biggest fan of the movie, I do think that those messages are important, especially for children to understand. Agenda setting always sounds like it has a bad connotation, so I’m glad your post shed some light on how it can be used to convey a positive message.


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