The Past and the Future are Our Now: A Look at Environmentalism in Princess Mononoke & Wall-E

Wall-E (2008) is one of the strongest films to come out of the big US feature animation studios. I would argue that it might be one of if not the most important animated feature to come out that decade, including internationally.

Even with the leaps and bounds we’ve made with animation in the last decade, I still feel like if an animated feature at a major US studio with no dialog and a slow, meditative pace for the first 30-ish minutes was pitched it would get turned down immediately or green lit until it drowned in notes and was averaged out to look more like the gag or dialogue driven, quick paced snappy visuals we’re used to. While those are not inherently bad things, their complete takeover of the medium at large just makes Wall-E stand out that much more. (Honestly I’d love to go back to opening weekend now and watch people watch this film in theaters. Did kids get impatient? Or were they fixated on the screen? Were parents confused? Who knows!)

There are so many factors that are out of a director’s control, especially at a big studio, that it’s a miracle when any film gets made, full stop. That Andrew Stanton’s film seems to have come out relatively unscathed and different from any film before (or after) it is a testament to how unique and thematically strong it is.


This post will contain full spoilers for Wall-E and Princess Mononoke.

It will contain slight spoilers for Nausicaa.

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