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Wow-e: Malthusian Fear Mongering Can Be Annoying
July 1, 2008 11:41 AM   Subscribe

While the latest Pixar/Disney animated film, Wall-E (teasers, trailers and clips) debuted as the No. 1 movie this past weekend and has been met with critical acclaim, including a 97% "Fresh Rating" at RottenTomatoes and a 93% ranking by critics and 90% by viewers at MetaCritic, the film has outraged the radical right. "[M]y kids were bombarded with leftist propaganda about the evils of mankind..." "...I will do my part to avoid future environmental armageddon by boycotting any and all WALL-E merchandise and I hope others join my crusade." "I agree that the Malthusian fear mongering was annoying."*

A National Review reader is dismayed over "the film’s 'fascistic elements,' which apparently include the movie’s discussion of the environment, a character 'getting in touch with her emotional, passionate inner self,' and the use of the color red."*
posted by ericb (252 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
Rightwing Composed Of Nutjobs: Film This Past Weekend

And isn't red usually the color associated with the group liberals are more often demonized as: commies? But I guess that's Goldberg for you.
posted by DU at 11:46 AM on July 1, 2008


Wow. I bet these guys must really pop some vessels when they see Bambi.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:47 AM on July 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


It was like a 90-minute lecture on the dangers of over consumption, big corporations, and the destruction of the environment. … Much to Disney’s chagrin, I will do my part to avoid future environmental armageddon by boycotting any and all WALL-E merchandise and I hope others join my crusade.

haha! I will protest a message against over-consumption and corporations by boycotting a corporation's products! I have clearly given this a lot of thought!
posted by shmegegge at 11:47 AM on July 1, 2008 [119 favorites]


In the words of one of the commenters to the New York Times article:

....For God's sake, it's a movie about a lonely robot. Period.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:48 AM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Same thing happened with the Incredibles, except it got the nutty left in a tizzy instead of the nutty right. So it goes I suppose.
posted by Jezztek at 11:48 AM on July 1, 2008


ROBOTS ARE ALMOST AS LIBERAL AS PENGUINS
posted by shakespeherian at 11:49 AM on July 1, 2008 [9 favorites]


Wait, you're telling me conservative radio hosts and bloggers are outraged at something?
posted by uaudio at 11:50 AM on July 1, 2008 [8 favorites]


Is it at all strange that a film with a message of anti-consumerism is marketed with a boatload of toys, gadgets, and bright shiny things for kids to get their parents to buy?
posted by Bromius at 11:50 AM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Same thing happened with the Incredibles, except it got the nutty left in a tizzy...

I must have missed this. Link?
posted by DU at 11:51 AM on July 1, 2008


I got a kick out of this Metacritic user review:

K BASS gave it a 1:
I do not know what movie everyone else saw but the WALL-E I saw with my two children ages 13 and 9, offended me and my kids on so many levels. We felt we had been cheated and lied to. If I would have known how environazi this movie was I would not have gone seen it. Did Al Gore have something to do with this movie? Yes WALL-E was cute, but we as earthings are not that stupid. It was very much saying that we are destroyng the Earth and that all of us are fat lazy slobs!!! How about lets save the unborn children!!

posted by Rhaomi at 11:51 AM on July 1, 2008 [13 favorites]


This is great news. It'll show Disney and the other producers that right wing windbags crying boycott and shite doesn't effect the bottom-line.
posted by dobbs at 11:52 AM on July 1, 2008 [9 favorites]


GOLDBERG: You should find some clips from the old cartoon "Captain Planet." It was just relentless propagandizing of children where the villains were all these cartoonish -- literally cartoonish -- corporate CEOs who wanted to destroy the environment. And all that -- the only thing that could save the world was if all the children from all over the world got together and formed this super hero to save the planet.

It was pure environmental propaganda. But you find that kind of thing all over the place.



You, sir, are a clown.
posted by rooftop secrets at 11:52 AM on July 1, 2008


This kind of reaction is silly and overblown, but I do remember being surprised, during the movie, how straightforward Pixar was about the politics. The captain of the ship even throws out a "stay the course" line at one point, which (though I agree with the viewpoint) felt kind of tacked-on.

I was also wondering, during the movie, if the sedentary over-consuming schlubs that the movie was aimed at would realize that it was aimed at them and get offended. I guess maybe some of them do.
posted by gurple at 11:52 AM on July 1, 2008


How about lets save the unborn children!!

That would be the sequel, Feed-us.
posted by bondcliff at 11:52 AM on July 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


Thank god someone finally figured out how to make a WALL-E post so we can discuss it.

Seriously, it was the most awesome movie I've seen in a long, long time.
posted by odinsdream at 11:53 AM on July 1, 2008 [18 favorites]


I thought the movie was pretty damn good. And I gave up listening to critics of any kind long ago. Anyone who needs a critic to tell you what you are suppose to like needs to grow the hell up.

One of the best things about the movie? The robot psych ward breakout, and subsequent saving of the day. The misfits (of which Wall-E could be said to be one) save humanity. Yay.
posted by edgeways at 11:54 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait, we're not destroying the earth? We're not fat lazy slobs?
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:54 AM on July 1, 2008 [12 favorites]


You know, I saw it as another Pixar movie embracing conservatism, just like The Incredibles, just like Cars, and to a point like Ratatouille.

Of course, in this case it was what I'd call the values of classical conservatism -- hard work, community, taking care of what you've got, the individual triumphing over nature/dictatorship.

It's sad that modern conservatives, so quick to knee-jerk the moment anything that remotely looks environmental appears in front of them, are so blinded by politics they can't even see that this movie sells their old core beliefs so effectively.
posted by dw at 11:56 AM on July 1, 2008 [40 favorites]


Not surprising, and I think they were ancitipating this a bit. Andrew Stanton going out to downplay the green message in interviews, which I suspect is at Disney's urging, but the proof is in the pudding. It wasn't Disney's marketing department that decided to make a post-apocolyptic children's film.

And the fact that a post-apocolyptic film can get a G rating and be marketed to children says so much about our culture today.
posted by Weebot at 11:57 AM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


DU: The Incredibles got overanalyzed as a Ayn Rand-ian influenced movie.

Which was as stupid as calling Wall-E an Environazi flim... in other words, really fucking stupid.
posted by edgeways at 11:57 AM on July 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


Was it really, odinsdream? I was sorta dreading taking the kids to see it, don't know why exactly, but now I am going to enjoy this movie on account of it pisses off annoying fear-mongers.
posted by Mister_A at 11:57 AM on July 1, 2008


Same thing happened with the Incredibles, except it got the nutty left in a tizzy...

I must have missed this. Link?


The Incredibles was seen by some as espousing the Objectivist values of Ayn Rand.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:58 AM on July 1, 2008


Wait, we're not destroying the earth? We're not fat lazy slobs?

You are, sonic meat machine. We aren't.
posted by dobbs at 11:58 AM on July 1, 2008


When we finally see the humans, they are corpulent, lazy slobs who move around by robotic deck chairs on a giant space cruiseship.

Whoa, whoa, I dont care what your politics are. That's the dream, man. Just floating around through space like Baron Harkkonen is where we should be headed. Sure, its lazy, but compared to my hard-working hunter-gatherer ancestors so is the 40hr workweek.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:58 AM on July 1, 2008 [15 favorites]


I thought the same thing odinsdream... I was happy to see a post about WALL-E just because I wanted to express my pure unadulterated joy for the best movie I've seen in a long time.
posted by rooftop secrets at 11:58 AM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


I got a kick out of this Metacritic user review:

K BASS gave it a 1:
I do not know what movie everyone else saw but the WALL-E I saw with my two children ages 13 and 9, offended me and my kids on so many levels. We felt we had been cheated and lied to. If I would have known how environazi this movie was I would not have gone seen it. Did Al Gore have something to do with this movie? Yes WALL-E was cute, but we as earthings are not that stupid. It was very much saying that we are destroyng the Earth and that all of us are fat lazy slobs!!! How about lets save the unborn children!!

How fitting that her name ends with ass. Ha ha.
posted by Mr_Zero at 11:59 AM on July 1, 2008


Actually, it is posited that our hunter-gatherer ancestors spent around 20 or 25 hours per week "working", but I agree with your larger point re: cruising around like Baron Harkonnen.
posted by Mister_A at 12:00 PM on July 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


Disney must get on it's knees on a weekly basis and thank the powers that be that they got attached to Pixar before someone else did... seriously. I don't think Disney has much internal pull with Pixar at tis point.
posted by edgeways at 12:01 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


MIB has issues with Wall-E.
posted by studentbaker at 12:01 PM on July 1, 2008


Mister_A: yes. It's fantastic. The only problem I had with it was the fact that they interspersed live-action with rendered people. I would have preferred a Sky Captain approach where live actors were embedded into the CGI, since the rest of it was really, really well done. Pixar just hasn't figured out people yet.

But, yes, the rest of it is awesome. I actually wouldn't classify it as much of a kid's movie, though, since it's perfectly enjoyable to a range of ages - it doesn't hold anything back as far as I'm concerned.

I would have loved (and hated) to end it differently and infuriate every single audience that sees it, though.
posted by odinsdream at 12:02 PM on July 1, 2008


It's sad that modern conservatives ... are so blinded by politics they can't even see that this movie sells their old core beliefs so effectively.

Emphasis mine. Indeed, it's doubly odd that conservatives even have "old" beliefs that they have apparently discarded (doesn't conservatism mean you don't change?), and that they can't even recognize these beliefs now that they've come around the other side.

Remember It's a Wonderful Life? Mean old Mr. Potter was the bad guy...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:02 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Incredibles was seen by some as espousing the Objectivist values of Ayn Rand.

That's pretty funny, although it's kind of a false equivalence to compare this one guy I (nobody?) has ever heard of with all these Big Name Conservatives. Or maybe that was just a single example.
posted by DU at 12:02 PM on July 1, 2008


Also, while I'm thinking of it, here's a very amusing Daily Show interview with author Jonah Goldberg, whose book Liberal Fascism inspired the National Review commenter in the last link in the FPP.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:03 PM on July 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


How fitting that her name ends with ass.

Hey now! I know several people whose asses are the smartest part of them. Don't be dissin' the ass!
posted by dobbs at 12:04 PM on July 1, 2008


Hey! Look at us! We are special because we hate something that everyone else loves! *Waves arms futilely*
posted by Hollow at 12:04 PM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


DU I must have missed this. Link?

You seriously don't remember all the hemming and hawing over it's supposed role as an objectivist manifesto? Seems like I couldn't read a review of it in any of my usual progressive minded news sources without Ayn Rand's name coming up repeatedly. While some people simply brought up the similarities in a neutral manner (or even positive among some libertarians) naturally, delivering a message even vaguely similar to Rand's was seen as quite a profoundly negative thing among certain hard-left elements.

I suppose if you want a link, Google Incredibles+Rand.
posted by Jezztek at 12:05 PM on July 1, 2008


Chiming in to echo odinsdream & rooftop secrets -- WALL-E (at least the first half) was one of the finest things I've ever seen in a movie theater. It's astoundingly, jaw-droppingly, amazingly good.

I saw it in a theater packed with kids, many of whom were growing mighty restless about 40 minutes in. They perked up when the movie started zooming about in space and getting all twinkly and explodey, but the adults I watched it with were transfixed, especially by the almost silent first part.

There is an uncomfortable moment in the movie when they introduce the remaining humans: fat, blubbery tubs leaned back in recliners and sipping supersized soft drinks -- this was uncomfortable because I was leaned back in my seat resting my tub of popcorn on my belly and sipping a supersized soft drink.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:06 PM on July 1, 2008 [22 favorites]


Or maybe that was just a single example.

Yes. More here.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:06 PM on July 1, 2008


Hey! Look at us! We are special because we hate something that everyone else loves! *Waves arms futilely*

I friggen hated Titanic *Waves arms futilely*
posted by edgeways at 12:06 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


How do you get the Internet in your hermitage in the middle of the wilderness where you live a perfectly sustainable lifestyle by cultivating edible fungus and berries, dobbs?
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:08 PM on July 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


When we finally see the humans, they are corpulent, lazy slobs who move around by robotic deck chairs on a giant space cruiseship.

To an extent the film lets them off the hook for this, suggesting that much of this is the result of bone loss from generations of living in a microgravity environment. There is plenty of empirical support for this in real life. (On the other hand, the film makes a number of mistakes in this area -- for one thing, it's clear that they do have gravity on board the ship and that furthermore it seems for a number of reasons to be comparable to Earth gravity. And there's what appears to be at least one massive plot blunder w.r.t. gravity on the ship...)
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:08 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


DU: Links
posted by rooftop secrets at 12:08 PM on July 1, 2008


I just saw this post: Not all conservatives agree.

Actually, I would agree with dw that I sort of pinned it along with The Incredibles and Ratatouille is part of an old-guard conservatism that seems to be a Pixar hallmark. Fans of Burke or Wendell Berry will find a lot to like in Wall-E.

An Objectivist acquaintance of mine who loved The Incredibles was really disappointed with Wall-E, I guess because while it's nice that Pixar embraces individualism how dare they imply there is anything wrong with our hallowed corporations, like implying they threaten humanity or destroy our individualism. Or worse- imply that humans might not be able to make up for destroying the planet.

That's not really conservatism per-se, that's just stubborn corporation-worship.
posted by melissam at 12:09 PM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Fat people didn't like it, either.

I thought it was wonderful.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 12:10 PM on July 1, 2008


So, it would seem clear what the solution is. Those unhappy with the pro-environment message of the movie need to found their own studio, develop cutting edge animation technology, and film the pro-consumption, save-the-unborn-children film that they are apparently aching for.
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:10 PM on July 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


dw...yeah it's amazing how distorted the notions of 'liberal' and 'conservative' have become, and how they differ in meaning in an academic setting vs a colloquial one. As far as I can tell, 'conservative' is really just referring to the conservation of the post-war God-fearing right-wing American pie-in-the-sky suburban lifestyle instead of anything relating to a classically conservative outlook of financial, cultural and political sustainability. This 'neo-con' attitude, unsuprisingly, doesn't like any change and, as a result, has gone to great lengths to polarize 'conservative' and 'liberal' to the point where 'liberal' has become a derrogatory term for practically anything. The use of symbols and these manipulations of classical notions contains an element of fascism. Ironically, from an academic perspective, all Americans fall under the 'liberal democrat' category.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:12 PM on July 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


Sounds like something a liberal would say.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:13 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fucking love me some Wall•E.

But I am curious as to why our Wall•E was the only one left. Did he try and fix up his buddies when they went kaput? Did they screw themselves over by staying outside in the superstorms? I mean, he's been cannibalizing them for spare parts. Is it just not his directive? Man I need some closure on this.
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:14 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Use of the color red?

As in the color of the Fascist Republican Party?

Oh, right... the commies stole red back in the 40s cause Roosevelt appeased them. It took Ronald "Mr. Gorbachev! Give me back my Crayola Crayon!!" Reagan for us to get it back.
posted by Parallax.Error at 12:14 PM on July 1, 2008


Here's a true story about how awesome Pixar is.

As some of you know, when the trailer first came out, my girlfriend, Courtney, burst into tears at the trailer. She was emabrrassed but somewhat amused by this, as so she made a video of herself watching the trailer on her computer, knowing she would start crying every time that little robot said his own name.

After a few months, she started to get trickles of emails from people at Pixar who said they had seen her video and really appreciated it. It was all sort of under the radar -- mostly code monkeys, and they were sort of circumspect about the subject.

Then she got an email from one of the film's producers, saying they wanted to send her something for Christmas. She received a Crew Jacket at a nice note saying that the folk at Pixar had appreciated the film.

Then, last month, she received another barage of emails from Pixar, again from producers. They were having the wrap party for Wall-E in San Francisco, and wanted to know if we wanted to join them.

They flew my girlfriend out (I paid my own way; we weren't going to ask them to ) and put us up in the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel, the same one featured in Bullitt, at the top of Nob Hill. We met a few of the people who had contacted my girlfriend, all of whom were very nice, and some of whom she had gotten to be quite good friends with in the past six months. We walked over to a nearby Masonic Temple, which had been elaborately dressed to look like the interior of a spaceship, and then we settled into the the theater with a thousand of the people who had worked on Wall-E, as well as their families.

Before the movie begam the producers and the film's director, Andrew Stanton, came out and gave a very heartfelt speech about the making of the film. They made it abundantly clear that, as far as they were concerned, this film was a collaborative act, and no part of it could have existed without the imagination and labor of the people who made it. They were the real stars of Wall-E, Stanton told them, even if they are never seen on screen.

Then he said this: "Six months ago, when the first trailer for Wall-E came out, we were only halfway done with the film, and we weren't exactly sure how we were going to get it done. We were exhausted. And then, one day, a movie showed up on YouTube showing a girl watching the trailer for Wall-E. And every time she watched it, she would cry on cue. When we saw that, we knew we were on the right track."

Everybody in the theater laughed at this knowingly.

"Well," Andrew Stanton said. "We invited Courtney here tonight."

A gasp went through the theater. I turned and looked at my girlfriend, who was gape-mouthed with astonishment. Andrew Stanton asked her to stand up, and all one-thousand sets of eyes in the theater turned to find her, and thunderous applause broke out. Courtnye stood, and, not knowing what to do, blew kisses to the assembled artists and craftspeople who had made the film.

It was one of the most moving and astounding things she had ever experienced, and I had ever witnessed, and Pixar had done it for no reason other than that her video had touched them and made them optimistic about the film they were making, and they wanted to repay her.

We went to talk to Andrew Stanton afterward. He recognized Courtney at once and embraced her, delighted she had made it. As we talked to him, Brad Bird, the Academy Award-winning director of Ratatouille, interrupted. Stanton introduced us, and Brad Bird offered to take our photos. This is the photo he took.

For the rest of the evening, at the wrap party, people from Pixar came up to Courtney and talked to her excitedly, thrilled that she had been invited. The next day, one of the Pixar employees Courtney had befriended gave us a tour of the studio. Then we went home, unable to believe our experience.

Pixar has never tried to make use of this story for promotional purposes. They really did it exclusively because they were touched by Courtney's response to their trailer, and because they thought it would be nice, and because they thought it would be a treat to their employees, who, from what I have seen, they treat with enormous respect.

So, you know, screw those who see a pessimistic or partisan message in this film. It's a well-made, well-told story with, in my opinion, the single greatest animated lead character ever put onto film, produced by artists with passion, committment, and the intelligence to create what must stand as the single finest collection of consistently excellent films ever produced by a studio. And they treated my girlfriend really well. If that's not enough to deserve us an an audience, I don't know what is.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:18 PM on July 1, 2008 [1089 favorites]




These culture critic/culture warrior types are so tedious. It's a movie, damn you! Sit back and enjoy for once.
posted by Mister_A at 12:19 PM on July 1, 2008


...this movie sells their old core beliefs so effectively.

I walked out of this movie a little dazed myself. I thought that the end message of "it'll all work out as long as we keep inventing great technology with our can-do attitudes!" was the tired Disneyfied answer to multiple global crises. Tommorowland, indeed.

I also thought, if they've gone this far, why don't they go for full-blown Brave New World distopia? Where is new food coming from? How are babies being made (if something like merely holding hands between two behemoths is so radical)? What happens when they realize that because of reduced bone mass, they can merely flop around helplessly (that skeleton diagram didn't look like it would support the weight of anything outside of an aquatic environment.)?
posted by ikahime at 12:20 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


It must suck being so far on the right, movie-choice wise. Everything (except violence, especially when it's aimed at brown people) seems to upset them one way or another. Maybe the studios should cut together special versions of movies for them.

I'm thinking in the style that a friend living in Kuwait told me about how theaters there showing western movies re-cut the film whenever there's nudity, kissing, sex, etc that may be found offensive by Muslim standards. They instead cut in B-footage of serene wildlife, rolling hills, picturesque landscapes and the like. When the naughty parts are over, back to the movie.
posted by pyrex at 12:23 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


I loved Wall-E

I loved how his malfunctioning proto-sentience infected other robots.
posted by The Power Nap at 12:26 PM on July 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


Amazing Astro Zombie comment: I sense a sidebar in your future.
posted by longdaysjourney at 12:27 PM on July 1, 2008


I left the theater happy to no end knowing that an entire generation of kids is going to grow up watching Wall-E over and over again. Maybe there's hope for us yet.
posted by the jam at 12:27 PM on July 1, 2008


Astro Zombie -- what a great story!
posted by ericb at 12:27 PM on July 1, 2008


I was really impressed by "Wall-E". The storytelling is probably some of the most sophisticated that they've done at Pixar, which raised one small issue for me: I think it's going to be a while before I'll be able to show this film to my 2.5 year old. The other Pixar movies have worked on so many levels of comprehension that they were accessible and entertaining to just about anyone. This one it seemed to me was working on a level that would bore kids under a certain age and leave them confused. Based on that alone, I'd say this is their riskiest film yet.

As a side note, I'd also like to mention that "Presto" is fantastic.
posted by wabbittwax at 12:27 PM on July 1, 2008


Great story, A. Zombie, and Courtney is absolutely adorable, you lucky undead you.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:28 PM on July 1, 2008


Astro Zombie just told one of the greatest stories in metafilter history. Sidebar it. Now. I'm all choked up over here, and I'm usually too busy feeling superior to people over the internet to bother getting emotional about anything.
posted by shmegegge at 12:28 PM on July 1, 2008 [7 favorites]


Whoa, whoa, I dont care what your politics are. That's the dream, man.

Only if robotic deck chairs that haul my walrus-like bulk about also have the BJ machines (fellatotrons?) from THX 1138 (re-fucked-with edition).

And only if they implant farcaster portals inside my colon and urethra so I can just go whenever I please, no mess. Well, mess somewhere else, but I don't care about somewhere else.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:31 PM on July 1, 2008


Astro Zombie, that story was awesome and so much in the spirit of the film... thanks for sharing.
posted by rooftop secrets at 12:31 PM on July 1, 2008


This movie is excellent, if offends right-wing mouth breathers, so much the better.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:35 PM on July 1, 2008


I would think that the Right would embrace the ideas in WALL-E, I mean, it pretty clearly shows that the problems with the environment are no big deal, because we will be able to build giant space ships and just blast out of here when things get rough.

At least, this is the argument I'm going to use if any of my co-workers use words like 'Environazi' when talking about it.

As to the film itself, I spent most of it alternating between a big, stupid grin on my face and tears in my eyes (the theater was dusty... yeah. That's what it was.) It was amazing, and I'll say without hesitation, one of the best things I've seen in a long time.
posted by quin at 12:38 PM on July 1, 2008


and film the pro-consumption, save-the-unborn-children film that they are apparently aching for.

They did. It was called Juno.
posted by drezdn at 12:38 PM on July 1, 2008 [14 favorites]


After eading the wingnuts response to Wall-E, I'm on my way to the next matinee!
posted by birdhaus at 12:41 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well I'm going to tune this thread out because I want to go see the movie and I've already learned too much (robots, Harkonnenism, etc).

So long! See you in the duck thread!
posted by Mister_A at 12:41 PM on July 1, 2008


Man, I really really loved Wall•E. My girlfriend fears of a future like the one depicted so it was a bit unnerving for her, but it was just so endearing anyway... Anyway, to me, it was less about the environment and more about corporate control.

How beautiful was pixar's version of space?
posted by Brainy at 12:41 PM on July 1, 2008


And this has been gnawing at me:

K BASS : I do not know what movie everyone else saw but the WALL-E I saw with my two children ages 13 and 9, offended me and my kids on so many levels. We felt we had been cheated and lied to.

I somehow doubt that any kids in that age group would have been 'offended' by it. I suspect that either K BASS is full of shit, or those are some seriously fucked up children.
posted by quin at 12:43 PM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


here's a very amusing Daily Show interview with author Jonah Goldberg

Oh man that was nuts. He's just willfully obtuse about language.
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:45 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's weird and sad, but for some reason I didn't enjoy WALL-E very much. I don't know why-- I wanted to love it. I'm a huge fan of Pixar's past work, and my politics are as liberal and green as they come, but the movie just didn't move me. Maybe trying to identify with faceless, voiceless robots hits the limits of my empathy. On the other hand, maybe my suspension of disbelief was broken by trying to figure out where WALL-E and EVE got their personalities and emotions from, because they were obviously sentient despite being constructs. For that matter, it could well have been the juxtaposition of real live-action footage with the cartoon humans that bugged me.

Whatever the cause, WALL-E isn't one of my favorite movies, unlike most of the rest of Pixar's library. I feel guilty about this.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:46 PM on July 1, 2008


Disney must get on it's knees on a weekly basis and thank the powers that be that they got attached to Pixar before someone else did...

As you probably know, it's more than "attached." In January 2006, Disney acquired Pixar, thereby making Steve Jobs the largest individual Disney shareholder with 7% (followed by Micahel Eisner's 1.7% and Roy Disney's 1%) and a seat on Disney's board of directors.

I don't think Disney has much internal pull with Pixar at tis point.

As has been reported, Pixar maintains its own culture, etc. and Disney has been wise to let Pixar flourish and evolve on its own, since its creative output has always been profitable.
posted by ericb at 12:47 PM on July 1, 2008


The movie was completely outstanding. I went to see it with my 7 year old boy, and the first five minutes had me choked up and looking over at him in apology for having put him into a world where the premise was plausible.

The entire theater cried aloud in shock at what seemed to happen to the cockroach. To THE COCKROACH.

Everyone at Pixar should be immensely proud of what they do. Astro Zombie's story, as fantastic as it is, comes as no surprise, and why should it? We've learned time and time again that these guys are for real, that they're somehow more connected than most everyone else to the core of what makes us, and stories, work; that it shows in the way they treat others just naturally seems correct.
posted by felix at 12:49 PM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Sidebar THIS ASAP, please.
posted by spock at 12:52 PM on July 1, 2008


I saw this last night. Spectacular movie, with some astonishingly real emotion in it.

I will say, minor gripe, that Wall-E's head design owes rather too much to Johnny 5, but what can you do.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:52 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


That was awesome, Astro Zombie. I was gulping air to keep from crying myself.
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:56 PM on July 1, 2008


Guess what watching Courtney watch Wall-E made me do?!

Jesus. Hayfever. I tell ya
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:57 PM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


So, you know, screw those who see a pessimistic or partisan message in this film. It's a well-made, well-told story with, in my opinion, the single greatest animated lead character ever put onto film, produced by artists with passion, committment, and the intelligence to create what must stand as the single finest collection of consistently excellent films ever produced by a studio.

Yeah, well, I agree with you. I thought the story was weaker than Ratatouille, personally, but it's a character movie. And the Pixar folks are pretty awesome, knowing one of them personally and a few others indirectly.

If they had treated your girlfriend poorly, I would have had words with my peeps and we would have sent them a clownfish wrapped in newspaper.
posted by dw at 12:57 PM on July 1, 2008


It’s absolutely excellent, and rather surprisingly a good little SF tale as well. I'm not surprised that the one dissenting view on Rotten Tomatoes criticizes it for being too dark and cynical: It is quite dark, but in a very good way.
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on July 1, 2008


Yay! Sidebar!

Here's part of the thank you letter I sent to Pixar:

I really got the sense of Wall-E as having been a creature who has been, for the most part, alone long enough to have developed a very idiosyncratic personality, battling his boredom with a great sense of curiosity, and so a gesture that started as utilitarian -- he clasps his hands to draw garbage into his midsection -- has evolved into something far more complicated. When he is on his own, he often links his fingers nervously, and, as a result of his strange obsession with Hello Dolly, it is the way he attempts to express affection. I noticed that he often grasps hands with others throughout the film -- I believe he shakes hands with John when he first meets him, one of the many moments in which characters are quickly transformed after their contact with Wall-E. It's a very touching gesture, and this attention to telling details is something I have always appreciated about the films of Pixar. It reminded me, in a way, of Violet's uncombed bangs in The Incredibles, which, in a lesser film, would simply have been a design choice, but in this instance reflected Violet's desire to simultaneously hide herself and shield herself from the world -- a particularly nice touch, given that those were her exact superpowers.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:58 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I suspect that either K BASS is full of shit, or those are some seriously fucked up children.

More likely it went like this:

K BASS: "I can't believe this environzi propoganda! That rich hypocrite Al Gore must be involved somehow! Awful! Just awful! You guys didn't like it, did you?"
Kids: "Um, ...ah, ..(Brain warning: Danger! Danger, Will Robinson! Loaded question alert!) ... hmm ... uh no. Of course not Mom."
posted by eye of newt at 1:00 PM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Unbelievably good movie. I'm glad it exists, if only to show others what is creatively possible. Pixar, yet again, has set the bar high.
posted by spiderskull at 1:04 PM on July 1, 2008


It's sad that modern conservatives, so quick to knee-jerk the moment anything that remotely looks environmental appears in front of them, are so blinded by politics they can't even see that this movie sells their old core beliefs so effectively.

Some modern conservatives. I am pretty conservative. By Metafilter standards, I may as well be a couple of clicks to the right of Gehngis Kahn. But I thought Wall-E was just an entertaining movie. The characters were endearing. The comic relief was terrific. BNL industries reminded me more of Idiocracy than An Inconvenient Truth. My kids loved it. I will probably buy a lot of Wall-E paraphernalia at Christmas this year.

Then again, I think that Georgia O'Keefe portraits are just pretty flowers. So I might be missing the subtext.
posted by Slap Factory at 1:06 PM on July 1, 2008


I was in love with the movie up to the point where humans entered the picture and the first 'real' dialogue came in. It was so skillful in telling this nearly wordless story that it felt like the spell was broken once it got more conventional. Don't let that stop you from seeing it though, it was sooooo much better than 'Cars'.
posted by mattholomew at 1:06 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see what kinda of screenplay the NRO killjoys could come up with. I mean really, if they don't like the movies.....make one they would like.

I saw it saturday and after the movie the kids were humming and sliding all over the theater..gurgling 'WallEEEEEE!'

I good Wall*E robot toy could really sell...no...really?
posted by xjudson at 1:07 PM on July 1, 2008


Interesting to note that, thanks to overwhelming numbers of favorable viewer ratings, WALL-E is currently up to the #6 movie OF ALL TIME on IMDB. I have not seen it yet (I see few movies in theaters, but this one WILL be an exception).

A Best Animation oscar is a lock, but given the overwhelming responses of the critics (who are almost unanimously going GA-GA over it), I would not be surprised to see it get a Best Picture nomination. I'd make it an odds-on favorite to win a Best Picture Golden Globe, just based upon peoples reactions to it.
posted by spock at 1:10 PM on July 1, 2008


I just want to chime in that this was a phenomenally good movie. I saw it with my 7-year-old son, and neither of us was bored for a single minute. Pixar's storytelling with images is just incredible. I teared up more than once - over a couple of robots.
posted by bashos_frog at 1:10 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fat people didn't like it, either.
Well, speaking* as a fat person**, I can't see how this is fat bashing - from what I have read, the film tells it like it is - we overconsume and sit on our asses, we get fat and lose strength (and not just physically).
*disclaimer - have not yet seen film; will do this weekend
** who is, admittedly, a recent convert to cardio + weight training, becoming less fat daily, and losing my fat cred?

posted by pointystick at 1:11 PM on July 1, 2008


ericb: "As you probably know, it's more than "attached." In January 2006, Disney acquired Pixar, thereby making Steve Jobs the largest individual Disney shareholder with 7%"

Fun fact (from zimbio.com):

Eve was actually designed by Apple’s behind-the-scenes design guru Johnny Ive, the guy responsible for the design of the iPod. Andrew Stanton told Fortune: "I wanted Eve to be high-end technology - no expense spared - and I wanted it to be seamless and for the technology to be sort of hidden and subcutaneous. The more I started describing it, the more I realized I was pretty much describing the Apple playbook for design."

She certainly looks the part.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:15 PM on July 1, 2008


If I were AZ, i'd be telling that story everytime the conversation was remotely related to it, until my friends had it memorized.
posted by empath at 1:17 PM on July 1, 2008


The apple-ness totally shows with Eve's otherwise hidden indicators that shine through the casing. This is straight from most apple devices right now.
posted by odinsdream at 1:17 PM on July 1, 2008


Looks like all of those Ayn Rand+Incredibles references are all Objectivist sites or Libertarian references like Reason magazine. Maybe they were wishing it was an Ayn Rand epic?
posted by destro at 1:18 PM on July 1, 2008


Most people think I am a compulsive liar. Thank God the Web lets me link to photographs.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:18 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry, EVE just reminds me of Nintendo's R.O.B. every time I see her. Wall-E too now that I come to think of it..
posted by pyrex at 1:22 PM on July 1, 2008


I loved this movie. I saw it Saturday with my husband and 5 year old daughter. It was her first movie in the movie theater! She wasn't too impressed and only liked two parts (though she did like it better than watching movies at home). But my husband and I loved it so much that we went and saw it again the next day when she was over at a friend's house.

I had not read nor heard any reviews. The internet was all excited about the trailers and I pshawed all of it. When I saw the "extended peek" that was on TV a few weeks ago, I was confused. I just did not get this Wall-E movie at all. It's a robot! A robot in space! As my daughter said, "Robots are weird."

I'm glad I changed my mind. It really is a great movie.
posted by frecklefaerie at 1:31 PM on July 1, 2008


Fat people didn't like it, either.

What? I fucking loved it. Furthermore, its depiction of fatness isn't just "lol fatty" -- they give it a context and show how much of a challenge it is for everyone. It's not just a personal fault, corporations and government have been similarly derelict in their responsibilities to encourage health. Disappearing parks, automobile-centricity, misleading food advertising, failed public transit, and failed health care all have contributed to obesity trends. Wall•E at least recognizes that fatness doesn't occur in a vacuum, even if it doesn't give examples of healthy living. ("...we have a jogging track?!")
posted by cowbellemoo at 1:34 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


We loved it, and it sparked some pretty active conversation with the housemates ont he way home from the theatre.

Also loved some of the subtle shout outs (like Wall-E's boot noise being the Mac boot sound).

I didn't exactly think the head owed a lot to Johnny 5, but more to the relatively limited options available to make a robot neotenic and expressive enough to establish quick rapport, while still providing the engineering to allow for the quick replacement factor they used during the move.

AZ's story so reconfirmed my wish to work at Pixar. It has seemed to me since way back that they have a culture that recognizes that a friendly, nurturing relationship between management and staff can really encourage creativity and productivity, generally from loyalty rather than fear.

Oh, and the magician short was HILARIOUS.
posted by Samizdata at 1:36 PM on July 1, 2008


odinsdream -- narrative-fu made computer animation of the humans seven hundred years before unnecessary. Back then, they were us; seven hundred years later, humankind changes so radically that they become weird CG-y people. Doing the Sky Captain thing would have borked a pretty cool kludge on Pixar's part, I think. Prosthetics would have cheapened it.

Acknowledging the limitations of the medium you mention by effectively draping the film in a conceit of realism was pretty slick, no?
posted by lumensimus at 1:37 PM on July 1, 2008


how dare they imply there is anything wrong with our hallowed corporations

I'm picturing a re-done version of Matrix: Reloaded where the humans wake in the fields and fiercely defend their giant metal harvesting overlords.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:38 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I find it slightly amusing that people who have no qualms about talking and thinking rats/cars/toys/fish, get hung up on issues of where did the robots get their personalities and how the hell will these fat bastards procreate and walk around. I tell ya, if FTL is possible than I have no issues with robotic personalities.
posted by edgeways at 1:38 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


I saw WALL-e with my two kids. My 6 year old was bored. My 8 year old enjoyed it. I think the first part was very good, but the second it's kind of lame. I think it is a good movie but not the best of Pixar by far.
posted by dov3 at 1:43 PM on July 1, 2008


Oh, and the magician short was HILARIOUS.

Oh my God yes.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:43 PM on July 1, 2008


Presto was phenomenal. Absolutely a pure, perfect work of slapstick.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:43 PM on July 1, 2008


Very Portal.
posted by Artw at 1:44 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I want a screensaver of the scene where Wall-E is flying under Saturn's rings.
posted by bashos_frog at 1:46 PM on July 1, 2008


I'm yet to see WALL-E, but if it's half the film the critics are going on about I think it'll be another film that i'll love forever.
posted by Nik_Doof at 1:49 PM on July 1, 2008


Man! I can't believe I forgot to mention Presto, which was proportionally as awesome as WALL•E.
posted by odinsdream at 1:50 PM on July 1, 2008


Presto preview and full length original (which I suspect will get yanked off YouTube sometime soon).
posted by ericb at 1:53 PM on July 1, 2008


Taking a peek at AZ's GF's little film above kinda confirmed something to me. The audio playing on the preview she watches is audio used in Brazil (the movie), there was more then once or twice when my wife and I looked at one another during Wall-E and mouthed "Brazil!".

Wall-E is of course not Brazil, but there are elements of it tucked here and there, which amuses me.
posted by edgeways at 1:53 PM on July 1, 2008


Excellent movie; so good that I could not get up to pee and was having bladder spasms by the time the credits rolled.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:57 PM on July 1, 2008


You know what disturbed the hell out of me?

Wall-E was a damn cannibal!

cowbellemoo:

But I am curious as to why our Wall•E was the only one left. Did he try and fix up his buddies when they went kaput? Did they screw themselves over by staying outside in the superstorms? I mean, he's been cannibalizing them for spare parts. Is it just not his directive? Man I need some closure on this.

It's because Wall-E malfunctioned, and he took apart all of his fellow robots. He's a cannibal! Whole collections of robot parts just so he can maintain himself. Now he has a whole ship full of people and robots to take apart, just so he can live longer.

The horror...
posted by rand at 1:57 PM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yeah, yeah, that's nice and all, AZ, but where was Astro Zombie 3 while all that great stuff was going on? You just left him in the dungeon with some bones, didn't you?
posted by languagehat at 2:00 PM on July 1, 2008


Nobody ever asks about Astro Zombie 2.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:02 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's because Wall-E malfunctioned, and he took apart all of his fellow robots. He's a cannibal!

Noooooooo!

Mental note: Keep Wall•E action figures I ordered SEPARATE AT ALL TIMES.
posted by cowbellemoo at 2:10 PM on July 1, 2008


The linked-to comments from the people who hate this movie have somehow made me like it even more, and if that's wrong, I don't want to be right.
posted by kyrademon at 2:15 PM on July 1, 2008


Oooh, and anyone else dig the 'evolution of art' thing during the credits? Cave painting > hieroglyphics > Renaissance > Impressionism > Modernisme mosaic > ?
posted by cowbellemoo at 2:16 PM on July 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


Yeah, cowbellemoo. Pixar is made entirely of win.
posted by RakDaddy at 2:18 PM on July 1, 2008


What I really wasn't expecting from it was a very 70s Sci-Fi feel - wingnuttery asside the enviromental catastrophe that has taken over the earth isn't global warming but more non-specific, if anything it's a proliferation of trash and pollution, like John Brunners The Sheep Look up. And the generational starship where the original purpose of the mission has long been forgotten is a common 70s SF trope. Which is pretty awesome given that what the competition is offering is some celebrity voices and some song-and-dance acts.
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on July 1, 2008


Samizdata : Oh, and the magician short was HILARIOUS.

Artw : Very Portal.

Yes! As I was watching it and being greatly amused, I turned to the wife and said something like "You just know they were playing Portal when they came up with the idea for this."
posted by quin at 2:25 PM on July 1, 2008


Having just watched Presto, I must say it was lovely. I just knew it was going to be good once I saw the old-skool Disney still-card intro.
posted by pyrex at 2:26 PM on July 1, 2008


I also I found myself thinking of 2000ad and Dr. Who a lot, as well as various eurocomics.
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on July 1, 2008


...oh, and it was kind of Douglas Adamsy as well.
posted by Artw at 2:35 PM on July 1, 2008


I really loved the film. I went on Friday with the Ms. and our three and five year olds. The kids didn't seem to get that it projected a future, but did understand it's message about waste and consumption. This was almost immediately undermined by Disney as they were given a cheap, plastic Wall-E watch for attending one of the first showings. Of course my first impulse was to take them away from them and file them in my giant collection of interesting crap produced by a culture I'm trying to understand. But instead we let them wear them and now they don't work anymore. They still love them, though and won't take them off. Strange how an experience can attach a person to an inanimate object.

One of my favorite aspects of the film is that it gives me a lesson to point to for my kids growing up in a disposable society. Now when I talk to my older girl about why wasting food is bad, we can use the movie as an example. We talked about our garbage and our garden and recycling. And counter to what she gets in the world, now she has a better understanding as to why we do things differently than other families, like composting, and shopping at thrift stores.

The movie wasn't just about consumption, in my opinion. There was a bit in there about cataloging and sorting too. And quite a bit about curiosity. Organizing and curiosity are of course clearly lefty-pinko predilections.

I can't recommend this movie enough. See it. And take someone with you.
posted by Toekneesan at 2:40 PM on July 1, 2008


Pixar's films are wonderfully original.
posted by Zambrano at 2:40 PM on July 1, 2008


Yes! As I was watching it and being greatly amused, I turned to the wife and said something like "You just know they were playing Portal when they came up with the idea for this."

You live in Seattle? See it at the Bay on Friday night?

Because that's what the guy behind me said to his wife/GF/whatever.
posted by dw at 2:43 PM on July 1, 2008


We must protect the children from Environmentalist Propaganda!

That fucking crying Indian is what get's my goat. Jeebus said right in the Holdy Beeble I can throw my trash out the car window! And. As everybody knows Indian tears are deadly poisonous!

Plus it makes my children sad. "Daddy that indian man is crying!" They yell. I tell them "Don't fall for that propaganda. That Indian is faking. He is only trying to lull you into into going out of the car to throw your Mc Happy-meal bag away where he will then shoot you with arrows. Just throw that shit out the window and then roll it up fast. Or a Mexican might get in."
posted by tkchrist at 2:43 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Organizing and curiosity are of course clearly lefty-pinko predilections.

The Revolution will be Alphabetized!

... and color coded for the hearing impaired.
posted by tkchrist at 2:45 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


cowbellemoo: "Oooh, and anyone else dig the 'evolution of art' thing during the credits? Cave painting > hieroglyphics > Renaissance > Impressionism > Modernisme mosaic > ?"

Don't forget the 8-bit sprites at the end.

I thought it was a fascinating idea. Like we were seeing a condensed representation of future history. That is, that the state of affairs at the end of the movie (trying not to give too much away here) were considered by later generations of humans to be the founding myths of ancient history, and were rendered as such: first as cave drawings and hieroglyphics by the earliest descendants, then, as things progressed, the art style evolved along the same lines as classical and Renaissance art and eventually into early computer animation.

History repeats itself, basically.

Although now, as I look at that, it's a bit troubling. For anybody who didn't stay all the way to the end of the last reel, there's a little extra bit at the tail end, right before the production code slide. It's simply an image of the Buy n Large corporate logo, accompanied by a brief musical sting.

I wonder... in the context of the scenes portrayed in the credits, do you think that's a hint that history would *fully* repeat itself, and that humanity would eventually lapse back into pollution and sloth? It just seems odd to me that they would have the brand of the corporate goliath be the film's parting image.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:46 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


It'll be released in two and a half months here. I can't even fathom what the distribution guys are thinking (even Terminator 3 (!) did well in the summer and, supposedly, summer's when children don't have school and could see the damn movie), but I laughed so much during Ratatouille and the trailer was so endearing that I'll wait till it's shown in theaters.
posted by ersatz at 2:48 PM on July 1, 2008


I was worried that it was going to be like short circuit which I didn't like and was generally depressing.
posted by captaincrouton at 2:51 PM on July 1, 2008


Well, they both have robots in. That's about it.
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on July 1, 2008


BTW, should I be impressed that the people at the National Review know the word "Malthusian"?
posted by Artw at 2:58 PM on July 1, 2008


Metafilter: Malthusian fear mongering.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:58 PM on July 1, 2008


You live in Seattle? See it at the Bay on Friday night?

Because that's what the guy behind me said to his wife/GF/whatever.


For a minute there I thought I was your mystery commenter, dw, but then I remembered that we saw Wall-E at the Metro instead of the Bay.

Then again, I imagine geeks everywhere were making that kind of comment after Presto. After being primed by Presto, I found the spaceship scenery in Wall-E to be pretty evocative of Portal, too.
posted by gurple at 2:59 PM on July 1, 2008


Afterwards I had cake.
posted by Artw at 3:06 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now this makes me really quite mad. Wall-E doesn't start in Australia until September 18th! I swear it's almost like we're in another universe. You'd have thought that they'd release it for (next week's) school holidays or something... WTF Pixar? =(

Otherwise, awesome thread =)
posted by cholly at 3:12 PM on July 1, 2008


JezzTek: "Same thing happened with the Incredibles, except it got the nutty left in a tizzy instead of the nutty right. So it goes I suppose."

Huh? I'm on the nutty left and The Incredibles is one of my favorite films; currently my favorite animated film. Why would anyone on the nutty left have a problem with The Incredibles? Brad Bird rocks.

I wish Pixar would get around to doing a sequel to Finding Nemo that investigated Dori's past. Now THAT would probably be enough to make me cry my eyes out on a YouTube video. That's a story that my heart wants to see told.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:23 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Then again, I imagine geeks everywhere were making that kind of comment after Presto.

Yeah, I kept expecting the bunny wanting cake and not a carrot.
posted by dw at 3:23 PM on July 1, 2008


Huh? I'm on the nutty left and The Incredibles is one of my favorite films; currently my favorite animated film. Why would anyone on the nutty left have a problem with The Incredibles? Brad Bird rocks.

I love The Incredibles, but I don't think it fits too well with my worldview. Not so much the Ayn Rand stuff, but the celebration of the nuclear family and traditional gender roles, the fact that they made a nasty villain out of a misfit geeky kid, and especially what happens to Violet's character at the end all kind of turn me off. For a film supposedly about exceptional, unique people, there's a lot of stress on conformity.

Doesn't stop me from watching it over and over, though.
posted by gurple at 3:29 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know, I find it especially interesting that it seems Pixar seems to arouse so much discussion from so many directions. I suspect that means they actually spend some time writing...
posted by Samizdata at 3:33 PM on July 1, 2008


Astro Zombie, I teared up a little just reading your comment. That was just pure win.
posted by Caduceus at 3:45 PM on July 1, 2008


Incidentally, I thought that the physical resemblance of Wall*E to Johnny 5 was an intentional homage ... I mean, there were little visual references to robots and computers from other sci-fi films throughout. The nod to 2001 was very clear, for example.
posted by kyrademon at 4:07 PM on July 1, 2008


It was a triumph. I'm making a note here, huge success...
posted by Artw at 4:10 PM on July 1, 2008


especially what happens to Violet's character at the end

I'd like to hear you expand on this, because I think most people would see Violet's blossoming (so to speak), after seeing how take-charge and commanding her mother could be, as quite the rah-rah, you-go-girl empowerment angle.

After all, the girl goes from someone that would rather turn invisible (both literally and figuratively) than face her fear, to someone who almost demands to be seen (where she prompts the kid at the end for a date -- "I like movies.")
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:11 PM on July 1, 2008


Gurple: "I love The Incredibles, but I don't think it fits too well with my worldview."

...worldview?

"Not so much the Ayn Rand stuff,"

Oh! I see. You might be confused. That wasn't supposed to be Ayn Rand. Edna Mode was inspired by real-life fashion designer Edith Head. =) BTW I can do a not half bad impersonation of Edna Mode upon request.

"but the celebration of the nuclear family and traditional gender roles,"

Celebration? Tradition? Just cuz the family happened to have two point five kids?

"the fact that they made a nasty villain out of a misfit geeky kid,"

..I think you're reading a bit too much into--

"and especially what happens to Violet's character at the end all kind of turn me off."

What happened? She told the boy of her dreams when and where they were gonna go out. How could that be a turn off? She knew what she wanted and she got it.

"For a film supposedly about exceptional, unique people, there's a lot of stress on conformity."

There were lotsa pretty colors and explosions and I laughed a lot. Why does everything have to be a socio-political statement? Sometimes a drawing of a cigar is just a drawing of a cigar.

0.o
posted by ZachsMind at 4:21 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


kyrademon: "Incidentally, I thought that the physical resemblance of Wall*E to Johnny 5 was an intentional homage ... I mean, there were little visual references to robots and computers from other sci-fi films throughout. The nod to 2001 was very clear, for example."

From firstshowing.net:

As for where he actually got the idea for the look of Wall-E, many have questioned whether it was inspired by E.T. or Short Circuit, but Stanton confirms that it was something else entirely - binoculars. He recalls playing with binoculars at a baseball game and thinking that "you don't need a mouth, you don't need a nose, you get a whole personality just from [them]." That drove the whole rest of the design and the remainder came out of logic. They wanted it to be a roving trash compactor that could hide like a turtle and would have tank treads so he could get over any terrain. "I wanted to see it as a machine first and as a character second."

Stanton did go on to say that Johnny 5 from
Short Circuit might have "unconsciously" been inspiration, but it primarily came from binoculars as referenced in that story. He only ever saw Short Circuit once and instead was trying to get a Luxo the Lamp feel. "I wanted to believe that a robot is really there. I wanted to believe he is really a robot and not just a human in a robot shell."
posted by Rhaomi at 4:25 PM on July 1, 2008


Since I seem to have provoked a strong reaction, I'll explain in particular what I don't like about what happens to Violet's character. True, at the beginning she's limited by her shyness and less confident, and at the end she's able to approach the guy she likes and even take charge when he stumbles. That's great.

But also, at the beginning she's different-looking and -acting, while at the end she's dressing in nice soft purples and doing the same thing with her hair that everyone else does and fitting in. I liked her better before, and I didn't like the conflation of personal confidence with looking and acting like everyone else.

Again, I love the movie. I think the fact that it makes me think about these things at all is a good thing. Critique != hate.
posted by gurple at 4:30 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


If I were going to get irrationally upset I'd go for something creative, like how the robots' genders (if they even have genders) are never officially established, so clearly this is promoting homosexual relationships
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:30 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


gurple - so basically she's not a goth?
posted by Artw at 4:32 PM on July 1, 2008


gurple - so basically she's not a goth?

Yeah, pretty much.
posted by gurple at 4:36 PM on July 1, 2008


I'd like to point out that I left work early so I could come home and favorite AstroZombie's comment.

That is all.
posted by device55 at 4:40 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


You might want to quote that last link from Jonah Goldberg in full:

"I agree with the charges of hypocrisy. I agree that the Malthusian fear mongering was annoying. But I saw WALL-E on Saturday as well. And I thought it was a fascinating and at-times brilliant movie."

I think "annoyed a few conservatives" is, uh, far more accurate than "outraged the radical right."
posted by Heminator at 4:48 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


gurple - so basically she's not a goth?

Yeah, pretty much.


Meh. Lame.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:55 PM on July 1, 2008


But also, at the beginning she's different-looking and -acting, while at the end she's dressing in nice soft purples and doing the same thing with her hair that everyone else does and fitting in. I liked her better before, and I didn't like the conflation of personal confidence with looking and acting like everyone else.

I thought the point was Violet was now confident enough that she recognized she was supposed to fit in so her parents didn't get busted as supers. Which earlier she resented.
posted by tkchrist at 4:58 PM on July 1, 2008


Just the other day I was thinking about the 'Wall E Crying Girl' and tried to find it again on Youtube and failed... I've been sort of avoiding this thread to not be accidentally spoilered, then I saw Astro's post via 'Popular'. Let's just say I wish you could favour something more than once. Say about 4 million times. And Pixar are just so full of win I can hardly parse it.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:59 PM on July 1, 2008


Great movie. Great story. Great story tellers. This is all a setup for me, because Tivo has recorded some Starz documentary "Inside Pixar", so I'll see you all... a little later!

(And A++++ Astro Zombie WOULD READ AGAIN!)
posted by cavalier at 5:07 PM on July 1, 2008


I just heard somebody on TV say that WALL-E was "manipulative."

I think it's interesting that when film makers are so successful at soliciting emotions that they are then called "manipulative." I find that odd. Since the point of many good stories IS to be manipulated into a certain feeling. People often hate on Spielberg for this. Frankly it's why I think he can be a genius.

My Wife had almost the same reaction to WALL-E as AZ's GF did. In fact both of us tear up when that Sarah McLachlan Animal Cruelty Video PSA comes on TV.
posted by tkchrist at 5:08 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Daddy that indian man is crying!" They yell. I tell them "Don't fall for that propaganda. That Indian is faking."

And faking in more ways than one! In that ad the actor (Iron Eyes Cody), portraying the Indian, wasn't really Native American. He was Espera de Corti, a son of Antonio de Corti and his wife Francesca Salpietra, immigrants from Sicily.
posted by ericb at 5:19 PM on July 1, 2008


You, sir, are a clown

Now, there's tolerence for others opinion.
posted by brickman at 5:24 PM on July 1, 2008




The more I think about it, the more I think the reason cons hate the movie isn't because of the eco-rant or the consumption critique, instead it's the lack of scarcity the movie portrayed. No scarcity=no profit. How utterly inconceivable and against nature.

Frankly, it was a problem I had with the film too. The only possible scenario I could think of was that like like Wall-E, the passengers on the Axiom were made of other ...Axioms? No really. How else do you support that crowd for 700 hundred years? They started with thousands of ships. Now they were down to one. Dum dum dum...They had to go back.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:34 PM on July 1, 2008


If I were going to get irrationally upset I'd go for something creative, like how the robots' genders (if they even have genders) are never officially established, so clearly this is promoting homosexual relationships

Exactly -- right in league with Jerry Falwell's 1999 claim that Teletubby 'Tinky-Winky' was gay -- and thus "bad for chidren."
posted by ericb at 5:36 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Violet wasn't goth.

In my experience, goths are pretenders. I'm sure some people in here will be upset with me for saying that. Notice how much I care. Violet wasn't pretending. Violet was hiding and she was sad. That's not being a goth. That's experiencing depression. I speak with some experience in this area. She had some of the trappings of a goth, but I took that as coincidental. I think admittedly the artists were going for a look there, but her character isn't a goth.

The hair and the clothes are a big visual factor. The artists were using throughout the film various cliches to convey to the audience volumes of information with just a glance. That's what movies often do. Some people call that blatant use of stereotypes. I call that using the social language of your audience to convey a story. I'm not sure why people get upset when films use cliches and stereotypes. It's like being unhappy someone uses contractions while speaking.

Aladdin's an interesting example. Notice how the good guys look clean and pretty and the bad guys look ugly and dirty? Some people took that as offensive. All the characters were of the same ethnic background. The artists were just trying to let the audience know who to root for.

Near the end of The Incredibles, Violet's dad notices she did something different with her hair. All she did was pull it back so we could see her face. If you watch Violet carefully throughout the film, that's a gradual blossoming visual of her character. It's most vibrant in that moment when she moves her hair aside to put her mask on. Metaphorically she has to come out of hiding to face who she is: someone Incredible.

At the end at the track meet, it's not that she's trying to look like the other girls. She still could care less looking like the other girls. She just doesn't have to hide anymore. That's not conforming. That's growth!

I like to think also that Violet's visual look is indirectly dictated to the artists in no small part by Sarah Vowell herself, who dresses in black a lot not because she's a goth, but because black goes with everything and she's not particularly known for being fashion conscious. Still, Vowell cleans up pretty good while still being noticeably and singularly her. Sarah Vowell is hot!
posted by ZachsMind at 5:36 PM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh, the Sarah McLachlan animal cruelty video, indeed. I was practically sobbing by the end of it, and it didn't help that we were pet sitting that week.
posted by redsparkler at 5:38 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


RedState: The Conservative Messages of Wall-E (with spoilers):
1) The overthrow of fascist tyranny ...

2) Failure of the Big Government social programs ...

3) The effects of the Mainstream Media ...

4) Propagandizing the education system ...

5) Triumph of individualism ...

6) Elites fighting to maintain power ...

7) Individualism must be suppressed ...

8) Superiority of the classics 8) Superiority of the classics ...

9) In the end Humanity embraces truth and does the right thing ...
posted by ericb at 5:41 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


At the end at the track meet, it's not that she's trying to look like the other girls. She still could care less looking like the other girls. She just doesn't have to hide anymore. That's not conforming. That's growth!

I think the great thing about these movies is that we even bothered to read so much into the minutiae like this. I don't think any one interpretation is necessarily "correct", and I doubt everyone involved in the film, or even the design of a single character, would give you the same story.

I think Violet was a bit short-changed in her character development at the beginning, so for me it felt like she had shed the entire personality she'd been given when she changed her palette and hair to match the rest of the student body. As contrasted with the rest of the family, who had much more well-defined personal growth and basically remained the same people.
posted by gurple at 6:04 PM on July 1, 2008


But also, at the beginning she's different-looking and -acting, while at the end she's dressing in nice soft purples and doing the same thing with her hair that everyone else does and fitting in. I liked her better before, and I didn't like the conflation of personal confidence with looking and acting like everyone else.

I completely understand your point, but I'll also say this: I used to hang out with a lot of alternative types, and be one myself, and I can say with reasonable confidence that some -- not all -- alternative types, including myself, were doing it in part because we knew (or thought) we'd be rejected by the conforming masses, and so chose a path that allowed us to gain acceptance from others through our unconformity, to wear our (supposed) rejection as a badge of pride by not even trying to conform.

Of course, it required we conform to the other non-conformists, but that's something often overlooked when you're young.

As I and others in my group grew older, some of us gained enough self-confidence to not need that peer acceptance so much any more -- and we stopped doing the alternative thing, in part because it's alienating in some situations and can be a PITA and cause physical discomfort to keep up (if you don't believe me, witness goths dressed in black trenchcoats and tight leather pants, outside on a 90F+ day.) Others did not.

And as it happens, when you start caring less about what others (not just the popular folks, but any folks) think about you and the way you dress, you end up choosing comfortable and stylish clothes that make you happy...and since that's what others tend to do as well, and since companies tend to cater to that audience more than others, voila! You look like everyone else, because you're independent and don't care what people think.

Or at least that's what I think, and likely none of you care. ;)

As for the movies, I think you can safely assume that, since movies work hard to make you feel, sometimes they're going to make you feel uncomfortable -- and if you don't like feeling that way, if it makes you feel uneasy to be introspective or to question your own beliefs -- well, you're probably going to want to lash out at the thing that made you feel that way.

There are certainly propaganda engines out there, but I think most people look at them and laugh, assuming others won't take them seriously. Does an average athiest get angry about Veggie Tales? Does an average conservative get angry about That 70s Show? Probably not, but we don't know it because when nobody cares, nobody complains. So the squeaky wheels and all that.

Ultimately I think if you get angry about something, and lots of other folks don't, you may be right, but you'd be better off looking inward a bit first.
posted by davejay at 6:06 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


After posting:

At the end at the track meet, it's not that she's trying to look like the other girls. She still could care less looking like the other girls. She just doesn't have to hide anymore. That's not conforming. That's growth!

Dammit, ZachsMind, next time I'm sending my comment to you for pruning.
posted by davejay at 6:07 PM on July 1, 2008


Yes, I know unconformity is not a word, I just choose not to conform to your dictionaries.
posted by davejay at 6:08 PM on July 1, 2008


Seriously, if you've ever thought of goth as anything but an aesthetic- and that goes for goth's proponents and detractors- you have overthought that particular plate of (black) beans.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:19 PM on July 1, 2008


Looks like all of those Ayn Rand+Incredibles references are all Objectivist sites or Libertarian references like Reason magazine. Maybe they were wishing it was an Ayn Rand epic?

Maybe it's because the premise of The Incredibles is lifted almost in its entirety from Atlas Shrugged. Maybe it's because The Incredibles makes much the same point that Atlas Shrugged makes- that we should let the Objectivist ubermenschen super heroes do as they please, and never presume to question what they do or how, or to interfere with them. Maybe it's because the good guys in The Incredibles are ubermenschen fighting against the designs of an untermenschen who dares to think of himself as being on a level with the supermen.

One of those things, maybe?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:26 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


And uh, don't get me wrong, I'm not defending the character of Syndrome. But he is a perfectly Randian villain- a manipulative and weak man who lacks the intelligence, talent and drive super powers that the ubermenschen possess and jealously seeks to control, rob, and destroy the smart, talented and hard-working people superheroes. Consider how the film would have been different in this regard had the villain been a super who felt that supers should rule society.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:34 PM on July 1, 2008


I understand your criticism, Pope Guilty, but I think those same criticisms could be leveled at any Golden Age comic book heroes, none of whose authors, to my knowledge, were specifically espousing a Randian worldview. The Incredibles is, in large part, a satire of those comics, and the fact that it hews pretty closely to their worldview doesn't, in my opinion, mean the film itself is arguing for a world in which superheroes get to do whatever they please, regardless of outcome. In fact, in the final race, we see his family cheering Dash to come in second; I think that scene only makes narrative sense if you consider the film an argument against repressing individuality. The way Dash expresses himself is through speed. It is not important for him to dominate others, only to have the opportunity to explore his individual skill.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:44 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Regarding the Portal connections... I was just glad to see GLaDOS's Psychosis Module getting work.

It's hard out there for a mentally ill mesh. I hear he got help, though, so you know our hearts are with him.
posted by abulafa at 6:45 PM on July 1, 2008


I honestly can not believe anyone took this movie for being "environazi" (whatever the fuck that is). The movie definitely had strong statements about rampant consumerism, un-checked corporate powers, and individualism, but there was *no* environmentalist points made that I could see (except at the natural cross-section of the issues).

I personally thought the movie was amazing on every level. I'll admit that I'm definitely with the crowed when it comes to be kinda happy that it pissed of some far right nutters. But even aside from that, I loved everything about this movie.

I like that Pixar decided to explore some more traditional animation concepts (the lack of dialog would make Chuck Jones *really* proud).
posted by vertigo25 at 6:52 PM on July 1, 2008


odinsdream, I saw this two nights ago and it would be on my all time favorite movies if it had ended the way it almost looked like it was going to. Both for subverting audience expectations, and for letting the message that being able to live a "real" life rather than flat-lining a virtual one involves wonderful and terrible life cycles, but is still preferable to the ennui of secure nothingness.

Regardless, I'd see it again on the big screen. It's beautifully done in almost every way (especially the earth scenes).
posted by stagewhisper at 6:59 PM on July 1, 2008


AstroZombie, your story made me cry on cue.
When am I meeting your girlfriend :)
posted by liza at 7:00 PM on July 1, 2008


Well, to be fair, the whole concept of "Superhero" is a bit proto-fascist/Randian. So, yeah, kinda hard to make a movie about them without some of that subtext.
posted by Avenger at 7:06 PM on July 1, 2008


Well, I think there's a difference between the Watchmen approach and the one taken in The Incredibles. Watchmen seems to engage the notion, particularly in the characters of Rorschach, the Comedian, and Ozymandias, while The Incredibles seems to take the ubermenschen status of supers- and the privileges thereto accreting- for granted. I don't think it really confronts the issue at all, but rather makes those Randian assumptions. I love The Incredibles- it's a fantastically good movie, amazing in every element, but I'm disturbed at the idea that I'm supposed to be rooting for Brad Bird's version of John Galt.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:30 PM on July 1, 2008


Can't wait to see Wall-E. And when I say wait, I mean wait three fucking weeks because that's how long it takes until it's out in the UK. Meanwhile, it's released in Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Israel, Belgium, Argentina and fucking Iceland, before it comes out over here. Not that I have anything against those countries, or think that the UK deserves it sooner than them, but what do they have to do to the film so they can show it here, ffs? Translate it? Add subtitles??

(OK rant over.)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:34 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Watchmen is more or less the anti-Incredibles. I really cannot wait to see the political shitstorm that movie is going to unleash.
posted by empath at 8:06 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now, there's tolerence for others opinion.

Jonah Goldberg is a fucking idiot; everyone knows this.
posted by trondant at 8:09 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Watchmen is more or less the anti-Incredibles. I really cannot wait to see the political shitstorm that movie is going to unleash.

I would feel the same way if it were not for the fact that I'm pretty sure it's going to get the V for Vendetta treatment.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:15 PM on July 1, 2008


but what do they have to do to the film so they can show it here...

Build up anticipation, so that more people (having heard the positive critical response in the U.S. -- and "minor markets") will flock to theaters to see the film in other "major markets." Cha-ching.

Expect a "world-wide" release of the DVD sometime around holiday/Christmas-time. Cha-ching.
posted by ericb at 8:20 PM on July 1, 2008


From everything I've read online, they aren't changing a panel, including the surprise ending, and the script is nearly word for word from the comic. Snyder is actually campaigning rather publically to keep the movie over three hours long, and plans to release a 4+ hour long version on DVD. I really don't think it'll be remotely like V for Vendetta.
posted by empath at 8:47 PM on July 1, 2008


A bit late to this thread, but I highly recommend that people check out the Buy n Large website that was briefly mentioned by Rhaomi. It's a pretty good satire of the corporate web site in general, but if you confine yourself to just looking at their Robots section, you're just seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Specifically, the "World News" subsection is just brilliant, IMO. Lots of good stuff there.
posted by agress at 9:48 PM on July 1, 2008


Also, just to add to the chorus, went to see the movie this past saturday. Loved every minute of it, and was somewhat disappointed that most of the crowd decided to leave before all of the credits were done rolling, cause hey, pixel art!
posted by agress at 9:50 PM on July 1, 2008


I didn't get from The Incredibles that the answer is to just let the superheroes do what they want. Though we may never see sequels to that film, I imagine that what happened between that car ride with the gov't liason and the scene at the very end with the Underminer, a compromise was reached.

RICK DICKER: The people of this country are indebted to you.
MR. INCREDIBLE: Does this mean we can come out of hiding?
RICK DICKER: Let the politicians figure that one out. But I've been asked to assure you we'll take care of everything else.


That compromise was that the Incredible Family could do their superhero-ing thing so long as they worked in conjunction with the government. We get the indication at the end there that they remained in hiding in order to maintain a resemblance of a normal life, but we were also given indications that they weren't going to be able to keep that charade going for very long.

What if the family literally went public? What if they were funded by either the US government or private interests? How many compromises would they have to make? Since Syndrome had killed off so many of the old Supers, would there be no other supers, or would the job of the Incredible Family be to seek out new young people with special talents and help train them to serve the greater good? And what if some of those people didn't want to serve a greater good?

I still hope someday Brad Bird revisits that world he created, because there's still a wealth of stories to tell there.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:36 AM on July 2, 2008


A bit late to this thread, but I highly recommend that people check out the Buy n Large website that was briefly mentioned by Rhaomi.

Vindicated! Where were you nine months ago when I was getting shit on?
posted by dersins at 12:47 AM on July 2, 2008


After seeing the Buy n Large website, I really want a SALL-E, a GAR-E and a WEND-E. Dammit, why do people have to do things like that to me?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:36 AM on July 2, 2008


I love this:

In order to access services through our site, you must provide us with certain personal information such as your name, your Vari-Credit number and expiration date, your Vari-Credit billing address, your telephone number, your e-mail address and the name or names of the person(s) in your immediate family. We may also ask you for other personal information, such as your medical history.

All acquired customer information becomes the property of the Buy n Large corporation and can be used (but is not limited to) any venture the Buy n Large Corporation deems beneficial to it. By visiting Buy n Large (or a Buy n Large partner) the user agrees to relinquish (if requested) any personal assets that may be deemed "usable" by the Buy n Large Corporation; this includes (but is not limited to) real estate, stock holdings, user transportation, employment income and the users "soul" (either real or imagined, regardless of spiritual or religious affiliation).

By visiting the Buy n Large website you become a registered member of the Buy n Large Database. You may not unsubscribe to this database at any time.

Buy n Large will share your personal information with third parties whenever it deems such sharing to be advantageous to it, including when you engage in certain activities on our site such as using a menu, viewing, clicking your mouse or breathing. Buy n Large will also share your personal information when you respond to promotional materials from Buy n Large and authorize a third party to use your personal information for purposes such as, for example, sending you additional promotional materials that further obligate you (and your family) to receive additional promotional materials, providing you a product or service, or entering you in a contest, sweepstakes or game that will usually require a financial obligation on the part of the user.

By visiting Buy n Large you are contractually obligated to read all email that is sent to you via the Buy n Large servers. Failure to do so will be considered of a breach of contract.

We automatically log all information about your computer's connection to the Internet, which we call "Buy n Large Property". Buy n Large Property consists of things such as IP address, operating system and type of browser software being used and the activities conducted by the user while on our site (or other sites). We may also use some of the Buy n Large Property, such as the pages you visited on our site (or other sites), to send you e-mail messages (such as "Buy n Large requires you to join our Buy n Large Corporate Street Team. Failure to do so will result in legal action") focused on products that we feel you should (or must) be interested in and now are contractually obligated to be interested in.

From time to time we may add or enhance services available on the site to increase our market share. We will use the information you provide to increase our market share and facilitate any program that is deemed beneficial to the Buy n Large Corporation. For example, if you email us with a question, we will use your email address, name, nature of the question, etc. to assist the Buy n Large Corporation in acquiring new assets. This includes using your question and likeness in publicity materials as the submission of any data to the Buy n Large Corporation immediately transfers your status as a "user" to "Promotional Entity". This status is life long and binding. Please see the Promotional Entity contract at BuynLarge.com for more information on your obligations.


And I can't find a single REAL legal notice on that BnL site about how it's really the property of Disney/Pixar.
posted by emelenjr at 7:16 AM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Naturally, the Buy n Large Headquarters is in NJ.

My next AskMe: I cannot handle it anymore. How do I love Pixar less?
posted by spec80 at 9:45 AM on July 2, 2008


I love The Incredibles, but I don't think it fits too well with my worldview. Not so much the Ayn Rand stuff, but the celebration of the nuclear family and traditional gender roles

Helen Parr may be a stay-at-home mom, but has there ever been (will there ever be) a more intelligent, competent, human, non-bimbo, kick-ass female action hero in the history of film?
posted by straight at 9:49 AM on July 2, 2008


spec, mine will be "how do I get a job there and is it worth moving to the other coast for?"
posted by Brainy at 10:15 AM on July 2, 2008


Maybe it's because the good guys in The Incredibles are ubermenschen fighting against the designs of an untermenschen who dares to think of himself as being on a level with the supermen.

In the movie I watched, it was the good guys trying to get the bad guy, who WAS TRYING TO KILL THEM. It wasn't, "hey, this guy's trying to be on our level, let's get him!" It was, this guy's trying to KILL US!
posted by inigo2 at 10:16 AM on July 2, 2008


Well, they do have a few outlying offices and people who work from home.
posted by Artw at 10:17 AM on July 2, 2008


Tell me more, Artw, tell me more. Where are these outlying offices?
posted by Brainy at 10:21 AM on July 2, 2008


Well, there’s one in Seattle. That probably doesn’t help.
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on July 2, 2008


"BnL Homeland security"

Made me snort
posted by edgeways at 10:44 AM on July 2, 2008


Late to the party! Wall-E was so gratifying for me, because I left Cars, a movie of nostalgia for some kind of scopophiliac manifest destiny, with no humanity at its center, only a glamour of gasoline fumes, in a little liberal tizzy of my own. The way that movie played to blue collar American crowd, down to resorting to the low-hanging fruit of anthropomorphized ethnic stereotypes, was insulting to my intelligence. And no, that's not okay because it's "only" a kid's movie. It's worse.

Wall-E as a companion piece restores the balance: Pixar's not some sainted entity: they'll shill for any political fantasy narrative, reactionary conservative or doomsday liberal. That's as it should be.

I'm certain Cars was a better film for merchandise revenues, though. Time will tell, and that matters a lot to Disney. Jessica Rabbit couldn't sell lunchboxes, and boneless fat people can't either.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:26 AM on July 2, 2008


Jessica Rabbit couldn't sell lunchboxes, and boneless fat people can't either.
Lunch boxes no, but you're forgetting the lucrative squishy talking stress toy and bean bag chair markets!

Plus, those rectangular food straws are gonna sell like hot cakes - in a CUP!
posted by contraption at 11:30 AM on July 2, 2008


I just watched that video of the girl watching the trailer and aside from its overall cuteness, my immediate reaction was "Get your own GD theme music!" What is it wrong with people? Quit ruinin' up my second favorite soundtrack!

At least the soundtrack for Diva still remains relatively undiscovered in American commercial media.
posted by jdfan at 12:11 PM on July 2, 2008


In the movie I watched, it was the good guys trying to get the bad guy, who WAS TRYING TO KILL THEM. It wasn't, "hey, this guy's trying to be on our level, let's get him!" It was, this guy's trying to KILL US!

Man, what's it like to live without subtext?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:34 PM on July 2, 2008


And A Bug's Life was totally Marxist. But they made up for it with utterly capitalist One Man Band.
posted by jabberjaw at 1:04 PM on July 2, 2008


I love The Incredibles- it's a fantastically good movie, amazing in every element, but I'm disturbed at the idea that I'm supposed to be rooting for Brad Bird's version of John Galt.

I think you'd have to insist he's Brad Bird's John Galt in order to do that, though. What I mean is that there's ample reason to think he's Bird's version of Lenny from Of Mice and Men, (best intentions, catastrophic effect on those around him) or Bird's version of Prospero (An exiled man of incredible power who's caught between seeking his rightful place in society and raising his child) or Bird's version of many other figures from narrative history. But all of them will involve inflating certain aspects of the character and ignoring others, because the language of the movie is the archetype. To choose John Galt, you have to be pretty determined to overlook the glaring flaws in the comparison (as someone already mentioned, they cheer on their son taking second place at the end, as just one f'rinstance.) just like you'd have to be pretty determined to insist that Mr Incredible is Prospero. (He does not keep a captive Caliban among other considerations.) In truth, I think the comment which was sidebarred from that original thread makes the best case, one which far outweighs the trivial evidence for the case of objectivism.
posted by shmegegge at 1:10 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've always read the character of Buddy as a tragic example of what can happen when one's gifts are not allowed to be used to potential. Would he have put his genius to work on finding ways to destroy the supers so he could supplant them if he had been embraced for his inventive genius and technical skill as a child? Because that is Buddy's "super" power, and the supers (through the actions of Mr. Incredible) make him feel that he is less because they don't acknowledge that skill and uniqueness.

His character is the warning of what will happen to the children of the supers (and possibly the supers themselves), forced to hide who and what they are.

The movie is about finding a way to acknowledge the specialness of a person, without it coming to completely define or control who they are, along with their relationship to society.

And I think one of the amazing strength of the Incredibles is the fact that it is an fantastically entertaining movie that touches on themes like the ones identified in this thread...I mean, how many animated superhero movies provoke discussions on Ayn Rand, individualism, collective good, and so forth. The discussion as a whole, though, reminds me of the beginning of a Poe story (I can't remember which one) in which he discusses the fact that an author should never worry about what message they are putting into their work; the audience will find one and ascribe it to them.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:03 PM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


What I mean is that there's ample reason to think he's Bird's version of Lenny from Of Mice and Men, (best intentions, catastrophic effect on those around him) or Bird's version of Prospero (An exiled man of incredible power who's caught between seeking his rightful place in society and raising his child) or Bird's version of many other figures from narrative history.

Yeah, but as I've mentioned, the premise of the film is essentially lifted from Atlas Shrugged. Had it been lifted from Of Mice and Men, then I could see an argument made for Lenny.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:19 PM on July 2, 2008


I've been to see it twice with The Boy (who is 3 1/2 and adores the movie), and will probably go many more times. It's a masterpiece.

Nobody else seems to have mentioned this yet, but Peter Gabriel's absolutely exquisite "Down To Earth" over the end credits deserves mention as an earworm par excellence.

One minor unnervingness: as I asked my wife after we saw it the first time, "is it wrong that after seeing that I want to go get In-N-Out?" It was the Buy-N-Large multiburger picture that did it, I swear.
posted by scrump at 4:01 PM on July 2, 2008


I'm so glad I come from a culture largely untouched by the malign influence of Ayn Rand. It means I can think about The Incredibles without feeling icky.
posted by holgate at 4:11 PM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but as I've mentioned, the premise of the film is essentially lifted from Atlas Shrugged.

Except it's not. The supers don't go on strike in a fit of pique because the world doesn't acknowledge their superiority. The world sues them out of action not because they're too good, but because they're not good enough. They can't use their powers to get in big fights without causing a lot of damage, possibly more damage than if they'd stayed home. And the world doesn't exactly grind to a halt without them.

I could go on. But The Incredibles is not Atlas Shrugged. Really. Not at all.
posted by straight at 5:13 PM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Is Watchmen, which has the same supes driveninto retirement set-up, also Atlas Shrugged?
posted by Artw at 5:20 PM on July 2, 2008


Everything is Atlas Shrugged.
posted by tkchrist at 6:23 PM on July 2, 2008


Trick question: Rorschach was based on the Question, who was the first Objectivist superhero.

Though I think Rorschach owes as much to Nietzsche as he does Rand.
posted by empath at 6:44 PM on July 2, 2008


IIRC Ditko was a nut for that shit.
posted by Artw at 6:45 PM on July 2, 2008


You've seen this, of course?
posted by Artw at 6:46 PM on July 2, 2008




Quick follow up: Courtney, and I, briefly, were interviewed about our trip to Pixar by local tv station WCCO.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:46 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


It Teaches Kids ‘Humans Are Bad For Planet Earth’.

Yeah. Since the whole plot is a struggle to get humans back to Earth to save it.

Hello? Conservatives? I thought you'd be all happy about the biblical imagery here what with Noah sending out a white dove that brings back a green branch proving it's safe to leave the ark now.

My only regret with the movie is that not even Pixar can escape Hollywood Rule #1: The guy can be goofy and ugly, but the girl's gotta be sleek and beautiful. (What? You say EVE's a dude? Nonsense. Gay robots don't sit around watching...old musicals...hey, waitaminute!)
posted by straight at 10:09 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hello? Conservatives? I thought you'd be all happy

Heh. Sucker. Never going to happen.
posted by Artw at 10:10 PM on July 2, 2008


Jessica Rabbit couldn't sell lunchboxes

Jessica Rabbit could sell anything.
posted by odinsdream at 9:51 AM on July 3, 2008


Aw, crap. Astro Zombie made me cry. At work. Just before my boss walked into my office. (Honks! into 'kerchief.)
posted by steef at 1:41 PM on July 3, 2008


Pope Guilty: "Man, what's it like to live without subtext?"

What's it like to invent shit that ain't there as you're watching the film?

The Incredibles has NOTHING to do with Ayn Rand. NOTHING!

Brad Bird: "A:The idea that 'The Incredibles,' a mainstream animated feature, was thought of as provocative was wonderful to me. I was very gratified, though I thought some of the analysis was really kind of goofy. Some pieces compared the viewpoint to the objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand. I thought that was silly and the writers were humorless. I was into Rand for about six months when I was 20, but you outgrow that narrow point of view. Some compromise is necessary in life."

Quit seeing shit that ain't there. If Bird was influenced at all by Rand, it wasn't conscious, and it wasn't positive. Bird was telling the story. What you're reading into it is coming from your perspective, not his.

Same can be said about Wall-E. People are going ape shit over the fact the story takes place in a future where the Earth is essentially one big fucking land fill. Considering how we're treating the planet? Makes perfect sense. It's as viable a possible future as global Armageddon.

Earlier today I was trying to explain to a friend how the Voyager unmanned space probes have exited the heliosphere of our solar system, and what scientists have discovered from the data collected - essentially that we live inside a gigantic egg shaped bubble of energy, and that the southern hemisphere of said energy bubble is being pushed and flattened by something, and we don't know what that something is yet, but it's gotta be massive and it's gotta be invisible to our current ability to detect things in space. The universe is not just a vacuum. Space is warping. Shit out there is warping space that we can't see. The universe is much more complex than we can possibly imagine.

You know what she said to me? "Well, none of that will matter when The Rapture happens."

WTF? Now how she got from outer space to faux religious interpretation of scripture is beyond me, but it had nothing to do with what I was saying: it had to do with the crazy shit going on inside her head.

You look at a movie like Wall-E or The Incredibles and you see "subtext," huh? Subtext. Really? Quit seeing shit that ain't there. Quit reading shit that ain't there into shit that is. It's annoying.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:17 AM on July 4, 2008 [6 favorites]


Earlier today I was trying to explain to a friend how the Voyager unmanned space probes have exited the heliosphere of our solar system...

[SNIP]

You know what she said to me? "Well, none of that will matter when The Rapture happens."


ZachsMind. Dude. You gotta get smarter friends.
posted by dersins at 1:46 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


If Bird was influenced at all by Rand, it wasn't conscious, and it wasn't positive.

I don't think you know what's implied by someone saying that they were into Rand for about six months in his 20s. Have you ever been friends with someone who has caught the Rand bug? They tend to be a bit monomaniacal about it.. to the point where you can't even talk to them about politics. Sure, they grow out of it, but I would not downplay the influence.

Incredibles is absolutely influenced by Ayn Rand. I don't think it's pushing an Objectivist agenda at all, but it certainly touches on typically Randian themes, and reading it that way can be enlightening. There are lots of ways to view any movie (or read a book), and good movies work on multiple levels.
posted by empath at 1:57 PM on July 4, 2008


the story takes place in a future where the Earth is essentially one big fucking land fill. Considering how we're treating the planet? Makes perfect sense. It's as viable a possible future as global Armageddon.

Well, actually, given what a tiny percentage of the Earth's landmass has any sort of building or road or trash on it, the idea that the whole Earth would look like the scene in Wall-E (which was set in the ruins of a city) any time in the next century (I think that's when ships supposedly left the planet) is pretty ridiculous.

I suppose, given the "rising toxicity levels" the president mentions, you could imagine that people released enough poison into the biosphere to kill all the plants in the rural areas too. But even that seems far-fetched. I doubt we could kill all the plants on Earth even if we tried without using lots and lots of nuclear weapons.
posted by straight at 2:39 PM on July 4, 2008


It brought tears to my eyes, I loved it. It was one of the best movies I've seen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:33 PM on July 4, 2008


If I were going to get irrationally upset I'd go for something creative, like how the robots' genders (if they even have genders) are never officially established, so clearly this is promoting homosexual relationships

I think this was true at the beginning of the interactions between the robots, and I appreciated the gender ambiguity and potential queerness there. But once EVA starts giggling, speaking in a higher pitched voice, and reveals that her name is EVA, their genders are pretty clearly marked and safely hetero.
posted by overglow at 10:38 PM on July 4, 2008


I saw the movie last night, and I loved it so much I'm compelled to blurt out incoherent thoughts in a dead thread:

Wall-E was a masterpiece, and Presto was perfectly chosen to set us up for the main feature's expert use of body language and physical comedy.

The premise was a bit heavy handed, but so is most sci-fi. They did such a fantastic job of pulling the audience in that I completely bought that Wall-E or Eve might be dead several times, despite knowing better.

The earth set is going to win the animators buckets of awards. The dust. The garbage towers, The abandoned space ship dock. It was as beautiful / sickening as anything in Manufactured Landscapes.

Finally, thanks to Astro Zombie for proposing an alternate origin for the objectivist leanings of the Incredibles. If indeed Bird was channelling golden-age comics, the specialness of individuals theme says much more about the fantasies / insecurities of comic-book nerds than it does about political theory.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:07 AM on July 5, 2008


and what scientists have discovered from the data collected - essentially that we live inside a gigantic egg shaped bubble of energy, and that the southern hemisphere of said energy bubble is being pushed and flattened by something, and we don't know what that something is yet, but it's gotta be massive and it's gotta be invisible to our current ability to detect things in space. The universe is not just a vacuum. Space is warping. Shit out there is warping space that we can't see. The universe is much more complex than we can possibly imagine.

Got any links for this? I think I could read a couple of articles to spend the time till the Rapture.
posted by ersatz at 3:55 PM on July 5, 2008


AZ, damn you! You've reduced me to tears! I MAY POST IT TO YOUTUBE!
posted by mwhybark at 7:39 PM on July 6, 2008


Is Watchmen, which has the same supes driveninto retirement set-up, also Atlas Shrugged?
posted by Artw at 5:20 PM on July 2 [+] [!]


(despite tkchrist's amusing rejoinder)

HELL NO, and you know it Artw! Watchmen ultimately condemns the whole concept of the superman: them not be us, cain't be trusted, no sir, no how.

Bird's use of exceptionalist themes in ALL of his work is so clear, it's really not debatable. In order to dismiss it, you must seek to dismiss the idea seeking subtext to iluminate artists' themes in creative work (as someone above noted, calling it "annoying"). Bird's work, as beautiful as powerful as it is, embraces exceptionalism as a founding principle. To be clear, I don't think he's ever called critics that note this fact of his work anything worse than humorless. Defenders of the stance that the analysis itself is misguided have often gone further, though.

Not that I'm gonna get bent out of shape about it, as I feel I have an understanding of both views. It's REALLY IRRITATING to see graceful, near perfect art executed by your political adversary, as this thread testifies, so the critical analysis of Bird's work has a uniquely personal tone, and in turn so does the defense of it. The fact that this film is a Pixar production certainly prompted a certain level of gear-up for political analysis.
posted by mwhybark at 8:08 PM on July 6, 2008


More humorless conservatism from the Mises Institute. Wall-E is cute. How dare they.
posted by melissam at 8:55 PM on July 6, 2008


Quote from Mises
After having had a sustainable automatic food production system aboard the Axiom — which had apparently worked without fail for seven centuries — humans all of a sudden decide to resort to traditional agriculture.
...They glorified a lifestyle that would likely have killed them — and countless others — had it actually been revived.
I'm sorry Mises Insitute, but some of us are doing the whole agrarian thing and have been for awhile. And we haven't died. As long as some people still want to be doctors and engineers, I don't see how that's a huge problem.
posted by melissam at 9:00 PM on July 6, 2008


Wow, melissam. That Mises Institute article is so spectacularly humorless that I'm tempted to assume it's all a joke. 1400+ words to tell us how unrealistic Wall-E is? Wall-E, the robot love story set many hundreds of years in the future? The one that's a freaking cartoon? Man, I hope for this guy's sake that nobody ever shows him Ratatouille. His head might explode.
posted by dersins at 1:08 AM on July 7, 2008


What a Mises Ratatouille review might look like:

"After all the great strides the modern world has made in food safety, Ratatouille encourages the notion that vermin have a place in the kitchen. The so called "days of yore" when rats ruled the kitchen were days of death for the human race, causing holocausts such as the Black Death."
posted by melissam at 9:22 AM on July 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


And now Courtney's story has been picked up by USA Today.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:17 PM on July 7, 2008


I haven't seen Wall・E, so I might be off the mark, but the dystopian future that everyone talks about reminds me of the dystopian futures that Hayao Miyazaki often has in his films (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Princess Mononoke, most strikingly.) Lasseter is well-known to be significantly influenced by Miyazaki....
posted by gen at 12:01 AM on July 8, 2008


For those discussing The Incredibles: It's probably worth noting that, at the end of the movie, Violet's dressed in... violet. Her appearance is reflecting herself, literally.

Also, I think most of the people who objected to her storyline were just mad they couldn't fit her into their slash fiction anymore.
posted by anildash at 5:24 AM on July 8, 2008


Courtney's boyfriend Max (the guy behind mega-popular blog Metafilter)

Congratulations on your promotion!
posted by Artw at 10:09 AM on July 10, 2008


Wait... Princess Mononoke is set in the future?
posted by Artw at 10:09 AM on July 10, 2008


It was earth, all along!
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:13 AM on July 10, 2008


Congratulations on your promotion!

"Courtney's boyfriend Max (the guy behind mega-popular blog Metafilter)..."

Whoa. Congrats indeed. Matt still working there?
posted by ericb at 1:06 PM on July 10, 2008


Matt still working there?

mathowie, jessamyn, cortex and vacapinta are all really AZ's sockpuppets.
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:16 PM on July 10, 2008


I spent the time writing a comment for the deleted thread about a Slate article, so I might as well put it here:

That article is a load of crap, as is the very question (Does Wall-E demonize fat people?). Overconsumption is a very real problem. Among its byproducts are obesity and environmental damage. It is encouraged by corporations as a mechanism of capitalism. This is not a very hard thing to understand.

Take, for example, the "stimulus" checks sent out by the US government: the goal isn't to help people catch up on their mortgage payments and save their houses, it's to encourage them to buy more shit they don't need in order to boost the economy. The American way is built on consumption, not sacrifice. Pointing this out does not demonize a single group, it demonizes all of us for being part of the problem.

[N.B. - I'm overweight, I like money, and I like stuff. I also think we should do everything we can to reverse the damage we're doing to the planet. And I loved Wall-E.]
posted by kyleg at 4:14 PM on July 10, 2008


I just want to say that Astro Zombie's story turned my desire to see Wall-E into determination to see it in the theater. What an adorable movie.
posted by adamdschneider at 5:35 PM on July 10, 2008


It Teaches Kids ‘Humans Are Bad For Planet Earth

Well... duh?

Continent sized plastic "island" in Pacific ocean
posted by edgeways at 10:20 PM on July 10, 2008


Saw Wall-E yesterday; thought it was great. Anyone else seen the Australian short Slim Pickings?

The conservative criticism of Wall-E reminds me of Paul Krugman's comment on the deeply-held conservative belief that "there are no limits, except those imposed by tree-huggers." In this view, conservation is un-American. I wonder where that idea came from.
posted by russilwvong at 11:14 AM on July 14, 2008


Your Guide to the Wall•E Controversy
[from The Onion’s AV Club]

posted by blueberry at 1:15 PM on July 14, 2008


A positive review of WALL-E from a conservative critic.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:25 AM on July 15, 2008


Thanks for that link, pxe2000. The language in it drives me crazy - as leftist, I apparently now don't believe in the values of hard work and personal responsibility, nor do I acknowledge free will - but it is nice to see that people from across the political spectrum can appreciate the beauty of WALL-E and its positive message of getting involved.

Maybe what Pixar should do next is a movie that attempts to teach both the filthy leftists and the radical conservatives to actually talk to one another and work towards solutions instead of applying labels to each other.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:12 AM on July 15, 2008


For any latecomers out there who wanted to check out the mock Buy n Large corporate website: although the homepage of http://www.buynlarge.com is now a redirect to the vanilla WALL-E promotional site, the rest of the old BnL site still exists in pieces and can be read through a targeted Google search.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:25 PM on July 25, 2008


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