Ten “Plot Holes” and Errors in Wall-E

If you don’t find an error in a movie you simply didn’t watch it.

Over the years of movie going this is one of the things I concluded. In most cases there is always an error in a movie. And if you didn’t spot anything you simply paid no attention to what’s going on.

WALL E for me is such an example in both ways. For one, when I watched it the first time I simply didn’t spot all the small and bigger errors in this wonderful tale. I simply loved every bit of it. Now that I finally had the time to watch it again on DVD I’m wondering if my brain was working at all during the first time.

So after the movie finished I started thinking. Are there any errors or plot holes? The result I came up with is the following list of ten “plot holes” and errors in WALL E…

  1. What does Wall E do anyway?
    “We clean up the mess, while you stay in space.” OK. This is a nice idea. But: did you notice the tidbit of what will happen afterwards? Everything the little wasters do is to put waste from Place B to Place C. He/they relocate/allocate it (just as the naming suggests), built it up, but don’t really clean up. Even the massive equipment you see at the beginning of the movie only stacks everything up. Was the plan from BnL to get rid of everything once they return? And if the answer would be yes how would they do it?
  2. How many Starliners?
    In a spot of BnL at the beginning of the movie you see the exodus of the humans. Yet, when you consider today’s population of 6 billion people it would mean a lot of ships. Even when you think about a population of only 100 Million it would have been a massive undertaking.
  3. Firepower?
    When Eve shows up on earth, she also shows that she’s quite capable of handling problems: she simply vaporizes them. But why? Considering the state of the earth and the fact that no alien life forms were shown, there should be absolutely no necessity to equip a probe with that massive firepower. Moreover, Eve is on the search for life, but shoots at anything that moves – which might be a hint to some life on earth.
  4. Why only plants?
    The last point directly leads to this one: why is she searching for plants alone? Isn’t finding a living cockroach enough to proof that life is possible again? Admitted, cockroaches are quite sturdy creatures – especially the companion of Wall E.
  5. Far, far away…
    Why is the Axiom so far out in space? While they at least cleverly parked her in a nebula it doesn’t explain why they went so far away from Earth.
    Another point is remarkable, too: when they are able to build gigantic spaceships and place a sign on the moon, why didn’t they simply build a home for humanity on the moon? Or Mars? When you are able to sustain a big population in a spaceship (“sailing” through the most hostile surrounding possible) you can do the same on the surface of almost any planet.
  6. Where are the others?
    So we see the Axiom flying in space. But why is the ship alone? The movie suggests that each ship went its way hence they deemed it unnecessary to flock them together like a herd. Which is stupid. You know, when something disastrous happens on one ship (which the designers thought of as possible as the pods later in the movie proof), the population would be able to evacuate to the other ships. But this way? Good luck!
  7. Recycling?
    Consider this as a satirical point in the plot since humanity didn’t seem to learn anything. They consume, they are lazy – and they throw out the garbage in masses. The only problem: where does that material come from and why don’t they recycle? It doesn’t seem that we are on a spaceship with replicators which create materials from energy. So they must get their stuff from somewhere. But those massive amounts of garbage would need a massive fleet of smaller ships to refill all raw materials needed on the Axiom. And they would need a massive industrial complex to create parts and products out of them. Admittedly, we’re in the future where almost anything seems possible. And they must have thought of something to sustain the population.
  8. Eve = Wall E?
    When we imagine that humanity did do in fact nothing since entering space (which is a big hint in the movie) it begs one question: why are Wall E and Eve so different? I don’t mean the design aspects of both; those could have been intentional design decisions. It’s more the technical aspect under the hood. For example, Eve doesn’t seem to need an energy recharge despite the amounts of energy she must consume. Wall E on the other hand needs solar panels to refill his batteries on a daily basis.
  9. Leaning in Space?
    In the final third of the movie, the autopilot fights against the captain, causing the ship to lean. I believe that this factual error didn’t escape the director. But he decided to stick with it for suspense reasons. Because normally it would have been impossible that the leaning of the ship would have caused anybody to fall over. You know, there is no gravity in space except on the ship itself. And that gravitation field normally always points upward – relative to the ship, not to the world or universe.
  10. Plants. Since when?
    OK, this one is by far the biggest plot hole in the script of WALL E. 700 years ago, humanity fled from Earth. When they did this, they expected to return some years later. Then they surprisingly found out that the planet is becoming inhabitable for a long time (as the CEO indicates). But for some reason they from the beginning have all probes, ships, scanners and protocols (and manuals) necessary to search for plants on Earth and finally return. Either they simply thought of almost everything possible that could happen or they were incredible lucky to just think of that possibility. Or it simply is a plot hole.

So, these are some of the plot holes, “plot holes” and errors in WALL E that I found or noticed.

What really amazes me is the overall amount of plot holes and errors because I thought of many of them while writing this post (and so started thinking about it).  And there are still many of them unburied (for example, why the autopilot lets them search for life on earth at all).

Does this list mean the movie as a whole is bad? Far from it! While this might true for other movies, this doesn’t account for WALL E because the overall story and its main character are simply well done and executed.

In my eyes Pixar’s WALL E is still one of the best animated movies out there. And those errors in a way even increase its charm because it makes this movie likable and lovable. Just like the little waste allocation unit with its big eyes.

Comments

  • sig

    1. I don’t think this is a plot hole really. To get rid of waste you have to relocate it. You can’t get rid of it unless you use it ie recycle it – they didn’t state this, they stated they would clean up – this means relocate. As a company BnL probably couldn’t be trusted from the start. The whole situation was probably a way for them to make more money. During their feeble attempts at a clean up the earth became unihabitable. They couldn’t clean up, they had to abort the mission.
    2. I’m not sure how many people were on that particular ship in the film – it didn’t look like many. Plus how many people could afford to leave on a ship – I expect BnL charged for the journey and only those that could afford it were saved? If 1 ship house a million people thats quite a few ships!
    3. I agree with you on this one. In fact this is what brought me here since I searched on google on this very subject. Why oh why does someone in search of life, shoot anything that moves? A little weird – she should surely have a little mercy for a life searching robot.
    4. I did think this also. Why did Eve not take back the cockroach? – but a cockroach isn’t a sign that life is sustainable. Only a plant would show this. Cockroaches can survive on rubbish – but humans need to be able to grow food/trees. Another point to make is that if there are only a few plants then the carbon dioxide content of the air would be incredibly high and possibly would not sustain life.
    5. True – unless the nebula was some sort of energy supply for the Axiom.
    6. Considering how fast the axiom zoomed back to earth, I don’t think it would be a problem for them to assist a ship in trouble.
    7. Showing the rubbish going out of the airlock is just silly. How do they produce metals and plastics without the materials? What about ship repairs etc? But lets say they could produce anything they wanted using highly advanced technology? They wouldn’t have to go back home, however they obviously need to since they are living on liquid food and obviously dying from health conditions of their lifestyle
    8. I’m not sure about this – Eve is obviously more advanced than Wall-e.
    9. I think this is a joke – I took it as such – its not a ship – its a spaceship but for the humour it acts like a ship at this point of the movie, I laughed anyway. lol
    10. Was Eve created on the ship – or on earth? I suspect Eve was created on the ship. If this is the case the ‘top secret’ message must have already been seen, to allow them to create the probes. But the top secret message was the very reason why the auto pilot wanted to destroy the plant. So why would they even create probes to send out?

    Great post by the way! I do think when watching movies you have to suspend disbelief. However, I have noticed after watching many films that plot holes are often created due to the editing process. Often scenes are removed, switched or changed and this results in plot holes or confusing elements in the films.

  • Here is my plot hole: why did the Axiom even bother sending the probe back when the computer was told that earth was a loss and was directed to keep the people in space?

    • Gunther Heinrich

      Wow. How could I miss that one? This might be one of the biggest errors of the whole movie.

      • Richard Lawrence

        Because ‘Auto’ is not the ship computer. Auto was a separate wheel. Once the ship’s computer was told about the plant it automatically took the ship home, or allowed the captain to enter the pre-programmed course. Auto is responsible only for controlling the ship when in space. Of course that is for dramatic purposes only. In reality the ships computer would do it all but Auto was needed to be a villain.

        The Axiom ship computer was a pre-programmed computer not a robotic one. I think the difference was there was no actual original reactive thought there.

  • Chris Steele

    Here is another plot hole I noticed… how did the president of bnl know that they would loose bone mass to the extent they did if it took them 700 years to degrade to that level. he showed the picture of the bone loss scale like half way through the movie and at the point that the captain realizes that auto “the auto pilot” you see that they gradually gained weight through the years. does this mean the president knew they were going to be out that long or was he just showing possibilities?

    • Beth

      I know this is 5 years old but I had to say, I LOVE this plot hole. The plan wasn’t to stay away for 700 years, and the video of the president was obviously before he found out the world was unsistainable (no messed up clothes, nice hair, ect.). They left because of the garbage right? Not because it was unsastainable. So why in the world would he make a video about Eve finding a plant, returning to earth, and bone loss? This plot hole fits well into the posters plot hole number 10.

  • Chris Steele

    oh and this is just a comment… I bet mo “the cleaning robot” must have had a field day when he got to earth… its just one big foreign contaminant to him.

  • A. C.

    1. I suspect that walle’s original mission was relocate the garbage form one location to anpther designated location. However, i think walle build the garbage buildings after walle became sentient for amusement.
    3. EVE is for an away mission. We have all seen in the star trek. It is a standard procedure for an away team to arm themselves with phaser.

    4. Why only plants, that is because EVEs were looking for an evidence for photosynthesis. If i remember science class correctly, roaches does not do that. Do they?

    5. why so far. it was a crusing ship. i suspect axiom was circling a same route for 700 years, route which might include great view of an nebula.

    8. EVE and walle are two diffrent robots. EVE is to search and procure lifeform. ON the othe hand, walle is just for garbage. We all saw what walle did when it was reactivated. i think walle can be built even with our tech. And one more fact, walles must built on cheap materials since bnl had to make it so many.

    10. They left because pf the garbage. How will they know the earth clean? by sending probe to find life forms.

    Thqnk you for reading. It is good plot holes you find. it made me think about this great movie again.

    • Gunther Heinrich

      That’s a cool list with some nice thoughts and explanations. Here are some counter arguments, to make it lively *lol*

      1. Relocation might be an idea, yet it wouldn’t solve the problem because the waste is still there. In masses. It would be another thing if it’s being reprocessed or buried, but that isn’t the case. It almost seems that the humans planned to clean up after the Wall-E’s cleaned up.

      3. In Star Trek you have tons of intelligent alien life forms. That isn’t the case in this movie. My original argument is still valid.

      4. Of course, photosynthesis is the most important thing to look for. But: the easiest way to check whether or not the planet is inhabitable again, is to check the atmosphere. You don’t have to search for a single plant. Check whether or not the Oxygen levels rise. If that’s the case, there has to be life again that’s creating it. And then you know the toxic levels have fallen enough. On the other hand the mission might have been not to check for oxygen levels but to see whether or not life is possible again. But you don’t have to search for a plant to do that. See Star Trek and its sensors.

      5. That might be possible. One thing that comes to mind is the hyperspace drive. When it was planned to return some years later anyway, why equip those ships with hyperdrive? And why wasn’t the moon inhabited (or other planets) when they already have such advanced technology?

      8. Your point is absolutely possible. But it the moment when the Wall-E’s where activated, the waste problem was the biggest problem ever. I think the Wall-E’s wouldn’t have been equipped with solar panels but with the most modern technology available to clean up as fast as possible.

      10. How will they know Earth is clean? When they send a probe to check whether or not the garbage is gone. Or they could have installed a satellite to monitor the progress. Nevertheless, when everyone fled from Earth it was (at first) a temporary measure. The movie clearly showed that the big management was surprised by the toxic levels. Would you waste your money and time for something you think of as unnecessary at first? I wouldn’t. So either this is a script problem – or the management knew from the beginning and pretended to not know. Another thing is that we don’t certainly know whether or not there were plants or animals at the peak of the garbage problem.

      By the way: even if we see several Eve’s in the probe ship there’s one thing that nags me. Why don’t they check the sea (if it still exists)? A plant is nice to have, but the sea is way more important for survival. And if there’s no sea anymore (too lazy to check) then there’s one big question: where went the water?

  • Tate Kilpatrick

    1) I enjoy watching Wall-E on almost a regular basis, the stunning visuals and simple dialogue make it an easy movie to watch again and again. However one hole that I have noticed is at one point in the movie a commercial for the “star liners” shows everyone on board being quite active, parents and their children at the pool with grandma next to them in a hover chair. It then proceeds to say that the purpose of these hover chairs is to make all the amenities aboard accessible to someone with limited mobility such as the elderly grandmother. But when looking at the present time of the film everyone is obviously using these hover chairs as their main source of mobility. So I wonder and put the question to anyone who may have a suggestion, did the designers of the ship put enough hover chairs aboard for the eventuality that everyone would one day be as obese as they are? Thus making them more immobile. I would believe no because there is no way of predicting such an eventuality, even with the BnL ceo’s prediction that they would have such massive bone loss, the plan was to one day bring everyone back to earth. So there would be no reason to include a chair for every person when they weren’t sure just how long the passengers would be out in space. And this goes back to the point of raw materials, how would they build more if necessary?

    2) Another point that is a large flaw in the film is that the previously mentioned commercial does show parents playing with their children at the the pool and enjoying a hibachi style dinner with children. Not infants, but children who appear to be about 10-12 years of age. So my next point is where are these children? They have created an extremely large rift between infants and adults. Everyone is either a toddler or a full grown adult, there are no humans on board between the ages of say 3 and 30. And even if there were would said humans need hover chairs from the beginning? The toddlers are shown in their specially modified hover strollers but if say a kid of 7 was present on board, would he or she be in a full sized, adult hover chair? Or are there ones specifically designed for kids of that age and suspected size? Food for thought.

    3) Finally another point about the newest human additions aboard the Axiom. Where in God’s name do they come from? Obviously they are not going to show or explain this phenomenon in a children’s movie but I was curious. If when John and Mary touch hands, while watching Wall-E and EVE “dancing” in space, is such a big deal to them how are kids conceived and born? Did they also implement a Matrix style system for birthing and nurturing humans in an artificial womb? I understand that this last point is most likely reading to deep into the movie, and is for obvious reasons not going to be explained in the movie, but it was just something that I wondered about the overall story of the film.

    As I said before though I enjoy Wall-E and believe it is definitely one, if not the, greatest Pixar film to date.

    • Beth

      1. This is a very nice plot hole and fits well into the posters number 10 plot hole. They literally thought of every possible outcome didn’t they?
      2. I noticed this too, very strange. I guess in the future they just make babies learn their abc’s and genetically age them, or maybe they just lock them away and brainwash them until they are of middle age (kind of like they seemed to be brainwashing the babies) and release them and then when they start getting gray hairs (I don’t remember seeing any older people either) they just…well, kill them or lock them up again. :P
      3. This is another one I wondered about after I watched it a couple of times. My theory is one I got from the book The Giver; some women of every generation are chosen as birth mothers, and I suppose either there are males that sperm is taken from or (since 700 years ago they thought of everything) they had a stockpile of the stuff and robots do the doctor stuff to fertilize the eggs.

  • Brainz

    I found two big plot holes with this movie.
    1. Wall E and Eve found one plant in the vast territory they roamed, growing in a refrigerator. Of all the places they looked, would the most probable place for a plant to grow be in a fridge, where there is no sunlight and possibly no water?
    2. This was a huge one for me: Humans returned to Earth at the end of the movie. Now what? They don’t know anything about farming and can’t really even walk due to the bone loss. How will the human population sustain itself? And even if the planet can support one plant, can it support all those people? It must be so toxic that many if not all of the people will die anyway. The movie portrays a happy ending but I can’t see there being one.

  • Zuhal Hamrah

    Another plot hole would be the biological condition of Earth. Wall-E during his collection search found items that should have decomposed like passing newspapers, bra and cover felt material of the ring box. How does that work lol or that the amazing battery of the car keys are still operating and the TV commercial of the Axium on Earth still switching on, unless it relies on solar energy.
    For 700 years they must have had prepared really well to allow sustainability on the ship. Food & water from where exactly, I am going to state something disturbing lol but hear me out. As some of the previous comments, there wasn’t anyone I assume who looked older than their 40′s. The amount of toddlers were also very little. It was an obvious population control, probably enough for the new babies to replace those who have died. The ‘fittest’ get their egg & sperm fertilized and grown outside of the womb. The unfit/sick ones either die themselves or are killed for the balance of the ship. Maybe … Gulp… Even used to feed everyone else on the ship as flavoured liquids in cups… Cannibalism… I will see myself out lol.

    • Zuhal Hamrah

      Hence they keep feeding them like farm animals…

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