Monday, July 7, 2008

Bloviation and WALL-E

Because the Internet isn't boring enough:

On other fronts:
  • No news yet on the jobs I've interviewed for. Upper lip losing its stiffness. Have another interview tomorrow. Not feeling optimistic.
  • They're still holding Elvis Presley's brain hostage on Planet Zort. Ted Koppel doesn't care.

Our Fourth of July festivities were fun, though according to our oldest, not nearly involved enough. Yesterday he came to me, a mite disappointed, complaining that all we'd done for the Fourth was the parade, the fair, the fireworks and the movie, omitting the air show and car show, even though he and his siblings had a ball playing in the pool, with the toys and exploring this classic '60s mazey house we stayed in with Michelle's niece. It was a grandma house, definitely -- shiny wallpaper, shag carpeting throughout even in the bathrooms, dark cabinets, Day-Glo orange bathroom countertops, oversized keys hanging on the walls and, in nearly every room, a speaker with which you could communicate with people who'd rung your doorbell. Sooooo modern, oh, 50 years ago. Oh yeah: Red brick. That ubiquitous red, scored-face brick that EVERYONE used back in the 60s.

We saw WALL-E over the weekend. Frankly, Pixar has done better. Oh, I have no qualms about the "message" of the film, which has brought out great umbrage among conservative bloviators and much self-righteousness among bloviators from the left. I think the message is apt -- If we sit idly by, absorbed in our own lives and self-entertainment, we're bound to take for granted the beauties we have around us. I acknowledge that the overt message is that such human carelesness rendered the planet inhospitable. But you must also acknowledge the more subverted message (shown on the Axiom among the two humans who are broken out of their technological coccoons to begin enjoying life as human beings, rather than as consumers) that as we depend too much on technology for not only entertainment and education, but also social interaction, we're destroying the human environment -- face-to-face communication, interaction and play on levels that don't involve cameras, pixels or computers. (WALL-E, EVE; I assume it's EVE, it's hard to tell as WALL-E pronounces it EVA) and the ship's captain also pick up on this message, and it's nice to see it infused in the rest of the group after they make it back to Earth to begin salvaging what they can.)

But back to my original point: Pixar has done better. It's not in character development -- though the number of developed characters in this film is very small. The message, as I've said, is just fine with me. It just feels like the story was treated lightly, almost mechanically, when the action gets to the Axiom. Now, WALL-E's loneliness and the hopelessness of his task on Earth is beautifully portrayed. Who wouldn't pick up a bunch of odd objects and cling to them in that kind of environment? On the Axiom, however, the action was a bit too pat and repetetive. I don't know. It's easy to overanalyze these things.

UPDATE: Something else just struck me as I pondered other things. There has been some commentary on the Internet that Disney/Pixar are bing hypocritical in mass-producing watches and other plastick swag to promote this movie preaching against overconsumption. I would tend to agree -- but this comes from the generation that seems to insist that every web site or business or blog have swag of its own to distribute, mostly in the form of t-shirts and keychain trinkets. Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

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