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More WALL-E Thoughts

Lileks discusses the grief that he's gotten over the fact that he enjoyed the movie:

Shannen Coffin at the Corner notes that you never know how much hate mail you'll get until you take on a Pixar film. I'd add that the opposite is oddly true as well: I got a lot of very negative email about the review, some of which had to do with "shilling" (as one writer put it) for Disney, but most of which had to do with buying an eco-scary / anti-capitalist agenda because the characters were cute. Apparently I can write for years and demonstrate skepticism towards catastrophic doom-mongering, and it counts for nil. Ah well. Look, I think "JFK" is a pretty good piece of filmmaking. Its ideas are rubbish and its effect pernicious, but I still think it's a compelling work. Doesn't mean I believe a single frame.

Sometimes you separate the ideas from the movie, sometimes you can't, sometimes you shouldn't, and sometimes you don't want to because you approve of the ideas. Asking me to reject Wall-E because its unrealistic premise has contemporary overtones is like asking me to swear off Star Trek because Roddenberry wanted a post-religious collectivist one-world government that eschewed money and property.

He also chides Andrew Sullivan for stereotyping:

Apparently Andrew Sullivan took note of the review, and while I appreciate the patronage, this rankles a bit:

"Well Lileks loved it. Not all conservatives are stupid ideologues."

And not all liberals are stupid anti-consumerists who spaz out when someone praises the Works of Walt! Who'd have thunk it. Really, if one wants to cling, bitterly, to the notion that a believe in lower taxes and strong foreign policy and greater individual freedom re: speech and property automatically translates to a crimpled, reductive, censorious view of pop culture, go right ahead.

Last night, I watched the end of Ratatouille, and afterward was a history of Pixar. Interesting stuff. It was a great example of the powerful synergy you can get when you successfully meld C. P. Snow's two cultures and combine traditional animators with computer geeks.

As good as they're getting at this stuff, though, I don't think that it's the death of 2-D animation. I suspect that as the 3-D stuff continues to asymptotically approach verisimilitude, there will be rebellious young turks who want to draw cartoons, and so the cycle will begin anew.

In any event, the foofaraw makes me want to see the movie in the theater, something I haven't done with a Pixar movie since Toy Story (though I wanted to with Ratatouille).


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Tom Hill wrote:

I love his comment about anticipating all the responses he'll get to a writing and deciding not to write it.

Karl Armstrong wrote:

I would say that the advent of 3D animation vs. 2D is very analogous to the advent of of photography vs. fine art; It changed it, but it certainly didn't kill it.
On the other hand, the use of hand-drawn cell animation, vs. computer aided 2D is rather different. The old techniques are obsolete for a variety of reasons (That's not to say they can't occasionally be revived for limited artistic purposes, just as ancient techniques are still used in other arts). We probably won't be seeing any major features that are not heavily computer aided for a long time.

Bob wrote:

Perhaps I'm reading it wrong, but I took a very different message from Wall-E.

Yes, consumerism killed the planet. That's the premise. But if you watch, you'll see that the danger in the movie is from everyone following everything they're told. Whether that's from a capitalist, consumer business ("Buy N Large") or a government.

It's the arrival of an independent individual, Wall-E, that starts to change everything. Some examples that caught my eye were the administrative robot waving back to Wall-E and the cleaning robot that gets knocked off his pre-defined path. He initially panics, but quickly realizes that he can now go anywhere he wants, and does so!

The heroes in the movie, of mechanical and biological types, are those who break from what they're told to do by 'the man' and take responsibility for themselves and act independently, taking risk along the way. In the movie, 'the man' was Buy N Large, but it could have been the government just as well.

In the end, personal, not governmental initiative win the day.

I took it as being almost important to the message of "The Incredibles" to individuality. ("If everyone is special, then no one is.")

Carl Pham wrote:

To see an amazing example of why 2D hand-drawn animation will never completely die, rent "The Thief and the Cobbler," an astonishing illustration of the art.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

2D is alive and well, handdrawn, painted, or computer drawn, and often combined with 3D as well, all blended into one.

As an example of a movie that's pretty much painted rather than drawn (and very beautiful) I'll recommend 5 Centimeters Per Second (Byousoku 5 Centimeter).

I've watched it with Japanese language and English subtitles so I can't say anything about the (likely dismally dubbed) quality of ADV's version as released in the US.

ken anthony wrote:

I liked it. Yes, it was stupid. Why the captain didn't switch to manual before the crisis is the same reason the girl goes into the dark room with the maniac and his bloody knife... it's another stupid movie.

It did have it's moments.

ken anthony wrote:

Do the guys at JPL know that when sending a probe to search for life on a dead planet you should equip it with a nuclear cannon?

K wrote:

I'm a bit perplexed, myself. You don't object to Wall-E even though the premise is the same as the deep environmental/socialist movements: Humans, under the control of corporations are destroying the planet with their rampant consumerism and naked greed.

Is there any theme you WOULD object to if it were sufficiently stylized, dressed up in cool designs, Chaplinesque skits and well crafted writing? I'm thinking probably not.

Didn't see Wall-E, but I did see Ratatouille - Anton Ego's review is one of the great moments in cinema.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on July 2, 2008 4:56 AM.

The Purges Begin was the previous entry in this blog.

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