What is human?

In several of the movies we have watched this semester have explored the idea of humanity and what exactly is a person.

In the movie 28 Days Later the line between the inhuman brutality of the infected and the humanity of the survivors is blurred to the limit. We start after the apocalypse with an isolated human, Jim, who has no knowledge of the events that have transpired while he was comatose. We get an idea of how alone and powerless he is through the montage that follows that contains many high angle shots to show how powerless he is in addition to many of these being far shots, which help to add to how powerless he is as well as how truly alone he is in the world. He even shows remorse for hitting the infected priest. Then at the end of the film, after setting the infected loose on the soldiers in the mansion, we see Jim use the same brutality as the infected to kill one of the soldiers threatening his friend. After seeing the methods Jim uses to reach the ends of saving his companions we are left wondering just how human he can be considered when compared to the infected.

In the movie Wall-E, we are asked to evaluate the humanity of the inhuman robots who seem to express emotion and have a will of their own. We start with Wall-E a trash compactor who reacts just as any human would when possibly injuring a pet he recoils and remorses. Later on we see Wall-E care for Eve as one would expect of a human to care for a comatose friend as shown through the montage of him caring and protecting her until the ship returns to pick her up. Again we are left to question just how human a character is, Wall-E a machine without a heart brain or flesh has a ‘heart’ comparable to the best of humans.

Both of these films question our definition of what we can consider human and where to draw the line as to “what is human?”.


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