WALL·E ★★★★½

I always imagined that Hayao Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro” would be the first movie I ever showed my son. But sometime last summer — about 30 minutes into an eight-hour flight, or roughly 29 minutes after his 2-year-old mind grew bored with sitting inside a massive steel tube as it rocketed across the sky at 300 mph — I delegated the honor of choosing Asa’s first movie to the fine people who program Delta’s in-flight entertainment.

The options were rather uninspiring (you can’t bring a bottle of water through security, but “Sing 2” is safe?), and even the higher-quality fare seemed like it might fry my kid’s brain. It wasn’t until I neared the end of my A-Z search that something jumped out at me as a viable option. Not only was it a great film, but its frequently wordless storytelling also meant that I’d be able to watch along from the next seat without a pair of headphones. But the real deciding factor was that — despite my deeply ingrained resentment towards the look and gentrification-like energy of computer-generated Hollywood cartoons — this one somehow promised not to betray my pretentious and ridiculously parent-brained plan of introducing Asa to the movies by showing him one that reflects the most basic essence of their magic. Even with Disney’s entire library at my disposal, it’s hard to imagine I could have found a better choice.

The movie, of course, was “WALL-E,” and my son watched it something like six times in a row before we landed (he alternated between taking serene naps and making Spielberg faces up at the seat-back screen). In the months since, I’ve seen at least half of Andrew Stanton’s fantastic post-apocalyptic fable approximately once a day — twice if it’s raining — and have scrambled to turn off my Apple TV before it auto-played “Cars” more times than I can count.

That might sound masochistic, but I regret to inform you that it’s a distressingly standard media diet for someone with a young child and a Disney+ account; most toddlers would beg for the Ludovico Technique by name if they knew what it was called. In truth, the only strange thing about it is that I haven’t gotten sick of “WALL-E” either.

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