Over at Science Not Fiction, I do a close reading of Pixar’s corpus and come out with the conclusion that WALL-E and Remy are stand-ins for non-human intelligence and the struggle for the rights of the person.

What makes these films so astonishing and the message so powerful is the story arc of the Human as Partner narrative. The story begins with a non-human living among a familiar setting. Be it WALL-E alone among the garbage, Remy with his massive extended family, or Sully and Mike Wazowski on their way to work, we are introduced to the hero in relative normalcy. Yet each of these characters deviate from their fellow non-humans. Remy wants to cook. WALL-E falls in love. In each case, the deviant non-human is ostracized. Dug is laughed at for his ineptitude and Sully and Mike are banished to live with theAbominable Agreeable Snowman.

In being ostracized, however, the non-human encounters a human. Remy, lost in the kitchen, meets Linguini. Kevin and Dug both partner up with Carl and Russell. The deviant behavior acts as a catalyst for the first interaction. Furthermore, the human is also deviant. Boo is not afraid of monsters. John and Mary (the two people who help WALL-E and EVE) get out of their hover chairs and look away from the screens. Carl escapes the old folks home with a balloon-house airship. A team is formed when the mutual outsiders recognize a shared sense of purpose. Human and non-human rebels alike seek out each other. In combining efforts, however, the team doubles their opposition, with the non-human and human normative majorities rejecting and condemning their behavior. Remy is criticized by his father and alienates his friends while Linguini loses the respect of the entire kitchen and is at risk of having the restaurant closed for health violations. There is a high cost for non-conformity.