The film is indeed charming and as visually stunning as its enthusiasts claim, but WALL-E‘s conservative critics are right to identify a problem with its message. Unfortunately, they’ve misdiagnosed it. There’s nothing wrong with the film’s anti-corporatism, which is just a variation of the anti-totalitarianism that’s requisite to the genre. More troublesome is the film’s complicity in the commodified culture it ostensibly critiques. This isn’t about Disney, whose external merchandise and marketing are extraneous to the film’s artistic vision. Within the movie itself, WALL-E betrays its true corporate overlord, and it isn’t Mickey. It’s Apple.
Crair sites any number of Apple references in the film to buttress his point. (Eve sort of looks like an iPod, for example. His conclusion:
A movie about the triumph of authenticity over artificiality shouldn’t also be an exercise in brand identification.