Thursday, July 3, 2008

He just wanted to hold her hand

I need to see WALL-E again. I'm torn between delight over the characterizations of WALL-E and his gal-pal EVE (or as WALL-E says, "Eeevaa!") and the political implications I wasn't expecting.

So maybe if I see it and expect them, I'll feel differently. I hope so.

There's a lot I liked about this film. WALL-E is perhaps the most lovable Disney creation since Bambi. Considering WALL-E is essentially a trash compactor, that's saying a lot for director Andrew Stanton's abilities. WALL-E tools around on Earth, picking up junk and using the compactor installed in his chest cavity to create bricks. Some items are held out; a spork, a shoe, and his favorite movie, Hello, Dolly! His collection reminded me of Ariel's in The Little Mermaid; artifacts from a world he has never been a part of, and yet longs for.

Yes, WALL-E has longings. He's lonely. He would like someone to hold someone's hand. And a someone lands a few days later, in a manner that will remind you of the last time you made a cat chase a laser pointer. It is not love at first sight, but WALL-E is nothing if not committed.

Every moment with WALL-E is precious. The moments without him are less so.

Where are the people, you ask? Hard to say. The Americans, at least (the ones pictured appear to have all been gathered from somewhere in the Midwest) are floating in a spaceship, eating and floating around on hoverchairs. Should they become unseated...the term "beached whale" comes to mind.

Despite the fact that they've been in space for several hundred years, the message is clear; these people are responsible for the desert waste that WALL-E's been working on for so long.

Frankly, I resent the implication that the destruction of the Earth is the fault of the U.S., although blaming it on the Midwest isn't as bad. But consider that even at the height of America's pollution output, we were nowhere near China on a so-so day. Global polution is a global problem, but still those darn Midwesterners are floating around in space.

By the time the term "stay the course" is uttered by Corrupt Corporate Man I was poli-ticked-off. WALL-E deserves better.

The film does get back to he and EVE, and there's a fantastic sequence involving flying and a fire extinguisher. Putting any of the scenes into words is tough; the visuals are so rich, so layered, that writing about them seems silly. In fact, the rest of the movie was so completely enjoyable that it seems shallow to be poli-ticked-off by Corrupt Corporate Man when there are moments like WALL-E seeing space for the first time.

Which is why I need to see it again.

P.S. The film short, "Presto," is completely wonderful beyond words. Possibly one of my favorites, although I did love "Boundin'". There is a possibility that the wonderfulness of the film short contributes to my need to see WALL-E again.

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