Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Summer Movies 3: Wall-E

Man alive, kids today have it easy. Back in my youth, animated movies were way more hardcore. Between Bambi’s mama biting it, Cruella DeVille wanting to skin the title characters, Simba’s daddy biting it, some truly disquieting sexual perversion on behalf of Judge Claude Frollo, and learning in school that Pocahontas’s happily-ever-after included smallpox, it’s a wonder my entire generation isn’t in therapy. Oh, wait.

Anyway, Wall-E is a fantastic movie, and unlikely to permanently scar any kiddies. Which is kind of a shame, really. I think the 1988 re-release of Bambi was a bonding experience for my generation. It was the first time we got that special kind of smack in the face that only Disney can give an eager young child, and we got parental betrayal as a bonus. I mean, come on, the movie had been around since the 1940s, and you’re telling me mom and dad couldn’t have taken a moment to warn us before we saw Mama B get blown to smithereens?

The film has some great moments. Early on, our Wall-E encounters a defunct Wall-E. He stops and looks sadly at it. Is he going to mourn? Say a prayer for the dead? Oh, no, he’s gonna steal dead Wall-E’s treads. Awesome! Also awesome is the inclusion of a cockroach and Twinkies, the only two things (aside from Cher) guaranteed to survive the end of times. And props to Pixar for making me care about a cockroach for the first time ever. Wanna try including some of the kids from The Hills next time to see if you can work your magic again? (Speaking of magic, the pre-cartoon with the magician and the rabbit was really cute.)

All in all, I declare Wall-E the best robot movie since Deadly Friend.

Of course, not everyone thinks Wall-E is so great. And sure, it does paint a grim picture for humans, but come on – is it really so harmful to remind people once in a while that maybe we oughtn’t always pick the path of least resistance, and maybe recycle every so often?

Besides, amid all the flack for propagandizing a healthy lifestyle and attention to carbon footprints and all that folderol, the press seems to have overlooked another piece of agitprop buried beneath the movie’s glossy exterior: Macs rule. If Wall-E’s solar charge sound being the Mac startup chime wasn’t enough of a tip-off, then the appearance of Eve in all her efficient, shiny, rounded, white glory should confirm that the Pixar peeps are Macophiles. Not surprising, as Macs still kick PC ass when it comes to graphical dexterity. I guess now that the go-to Mac slinger Justin Long has his hands full, Pixar decided to pick up the slack. I may have been hallucinating (or distracted by the pint-size playing Beckham with my seatback), but I could swear at one point I even spotted Eve with the same green-dotted battery indicator sported by the battery of my iBook.

So is Pixar trying to tell us to prepare for the future now by accepting the inevitable and converting to Mac? Probably not. After all, poor, boxy, decidedly unshiny Wall-E constantly needs to be cobbled back together with spare parts, something I’ve had to do with almost every PC I’ve owned, so I’m more inclined to peg the little guy as a Windows-bearer. (No offense – I’m a bi-platform girl myself. My desktop is a Gateway and my laptop is an iBook G4, and I love them both equally.) So maybe the real message of the movie is that someday, in the far far future, if we humans can work together and grow spiritually, then Mac people and PC people can finally find common ground. Or, y’know…not.

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