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Animation, female robots and sequels
January 23, 2009 8:34 PM   Subscribe

Andrew Stantion, director of Wall-E, briefly talks about a sequel, why the female robot has a gun and the separation of animated and live action films.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (62 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man that guy really has issues with women.
posted by delmoi at 8:41 PM on January 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


I also have this artistic pride. I don't want my grandson to go, "Grandpa, did you make 'Nemo 1' or '2'?" That would just kill me.
posted by ORthey at 8:44 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


What about Wall-E: The Sequel -- do you go there?

I don't think you do.

.
posted by Mblue at 8:50 PM on January 23, 2009


Hey! That link we all just read? The only one in the post? Let's quote the whole thing one line at a time!
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 9:13 PM on January 23, 2009


Hey! That link we all just read? The only one in the post? Let's quote the whole thing one line at a time!

Hypocrite.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:17 PM on January 23, 2009


Speaking of segregating artists: MacInTalk for best supporting actor!
posted by mazola at 9:23 PM on January 23, 2009


That's really interesting. I loved, loved, loved Wall-E, but a few things did give me pause about Eve and the Eve storyline: her exterior, which is perfect and perfectly unavailable; her initial willingness to dismiss the things he loves; the frightening period of withdrawal that is necessary for her to incubate the plant; the heroic amount of will she had to exert in order to overcome her built-in "directive," which was hard not to read as the robot equivalent of a "biological imperative." I don't dig this sort of analysis much, and my enjoyment of the film was near-total, but my reservations about the characterization of Eve make a lot more sense in light of that quote.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 9:28 PM on January 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


Man that guy really has issues with women.

Seconded. And dude? The "glass ceiling" is not about your films being kept out of Best Picture; its about women...you know, those "mysterious creatures", the ones you never make stories about?....not being able to break through to lead roles or leadership positions!

Irony, or a bad case of patriarchy-blindness? Eve was a good character, but now his stupid remarks are kind of spoiling what I liked about her.
posted by emjaybee at 9:33 PM on January 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Probably worth staying away from anything in which there's any hint of romance at all, just in case.
posted by Artw at 9:52 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


THE MOVIE IS ABOUT ROBOTS (and it made me cry)
posted by Faux Real at 10:08 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


...Wall-E having no clue where the boundaries were with a woman. Because men don't either. Men just stumble into it and find out through experience. And they either survive it, or they don't.

I'd say women have a much harder time surviving men who don't know boundaries. But then again, what do I know? I only spend time talking to women to hear such things...
posted by yeloson at 10:11 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man that guy really has issues with women.

Turning them into robots is just a coping mechanism.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:16 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


This guys reminds me of the "nice guy" pegged pretty well in this XKCD comic. I'm not saying he's like that, just the general vibe.
posted by delmoi at 10:16 PM on January 23, 2009


I don't know. I'm not really seeing his issues with women at play here. He seems to be expressing little more than the classic nerd view of women as perfect and mysterious; not exactly a mature view, but not a particularly regressive one. What am I missing?

Also, the glass ceiling thing? The female interviewer brought it up, not him. She also refers to the Best Animated Film category as a "ghetto" -- I assume we're taking that as a neutral metaphor, and not a racially insensitive attempt to subconsciously diminish the plight of minorities, yes?

I hate to be lazy with the internet tropes, but I have to go with: Plate? Check. Beans? Double-check.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:31 PM on January 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


Man that guy really has issues with women.

Seconded.


Maybe I'm another guy with issues. It sure would explain a lot. But I also noticed the EVE stuff, read it more or less as Staunton explained it in that article, and thought it was mostly good storytelling. He's correct that it worked on a primal level, and part of that's due to the fact he got at some archetypes that resonate with everyday experience. Sometimes the experience of approaching and trying to establish a relationship with a woman is pretty much as he describes it, particularly if, perhaps like WALL-E or your stereotypical geek, you have very little experience with whichever stage of the whole dance you find yourself in, or if you're the kind of person who may have a life largely absorbed by your own directives/work.

I don't think the guy has issues, I think he has one perspective that's probably common to the experiences of some subset of humanity. Your mileage may vary (mine sometimes has), but if that makes you uptight, you may also have issues.
posted by weston at 10:32 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Nemo is about a single dad, how sexist is that?
posted by Artw at 10:47 PM on January 23, 2009


He's correct that it worked on a primal level, and part of that's due to the fact he got at some archetypes that resonate with everyday experience.

I registered all the Eve stuff as well-- particularly how she was only approachable when she was unconscious, which was kind of odd-- but it didn't resonate for me; how could it? I'm a woman watching the movie (as was about half its audience). Her eggy impenetrability and potential lethality was one of the things that kind of put me off the movie, actually. Not that I didn't enjoy it for what it was, but I don't agree that it was some kind of masterpiece... though it is kind of amazing that they created a robot creature that somehow channelled Angelina Jolie in every way.
posted by jokeefe at 10:48 PM on January 23, 2009


I don't know. I'm not really seeing his issues with women at play here. He seems to be expressing little more than the classic nerd view of women as perfect and mysterious;

I didn't say it was "regressive" I said it was "an issue" Something that makes life more complicated then it needs to be.
posted by delmoi at 10:52 PM on January 23, 2009


particularly how she was only approachable when she was unconscious

For part of the film, until she really started to have other values other than those imposed on her by her society, eventually exploring the these developing internal values and the tension with those originally imposed, and then synthesizing a resolution...

That's at least one reading that's reasonably gender neutral but potentially universal. EVE may not be every woman in the world, but it's hard for me to believe there's nothing to relate to here.

(And I find personally find her a lot warmer than Angelina Jolie. ;)
posted by weston at 11:13 PM on January 23, 2009


I find Wall-E and Eve adorable as individuals, and enjoy their action sequences, but I really don't like their romantic interaction with each other. The parts where Wall-E is so... grovelling... in his behaviour towards Eve are not fun or cute to me. I get that people can identify with it, but I find that kind of attitude to women offputting in real life too. So kudos for animating robots in a way that accurately shows a type of real-life relationship - I just wish that next time, they could give their male character some backbone, and their female character a real third dimension.

Ah well. Good thing I've got the brilliant camerawork and sound effects to marvel at, the blobby humans to laugh at and cheer on when they finally 'wake up' and notice their world, the little references to classic sci-fi movies to make me nod knowingly, and the cute little OCD cleaning robot to make me smile. It really is a great movie.
posted by harriet vane at 11:20 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hope one day to make a truly groundbreaking animated film, one capable of striking a nearly flawless balance between slapstick and quiet profundity, between cartoon humour and authentic heartache, a film so original and startling in its tone and execution and so deft in its ability to speak to the great universal truths of the human condition that it delights toddlers and makes grown men tear up and obliges major media outlets to come knocking to ask me whether I think my film deserves to be the first cartoon ever nominated for Best Picture, so that one day I too can be interviewed by Newsweek's blog and have my offhand comments therein presented as irrefutable evidence of my deep psychological failings.
posted by gompa at 11:27 PM on January 23, 2009 [25 favorites]


I didn't say it was "regressive" I said it was "an issue" Something that makes life more complicated then it needs to be.

Fair enough. I tend to think of "issues" as more akin to "psychological issues."
posted by Amanojaku at 11:27 PM on January 23, 2009


I though Wall-E was a great exercise in world building but the actual plot left me cold.
posted by empath at 12:22 AM on January 24, 2009


Nemo is about a single dad, how sexist is that?

Pixar continuing a Disney tradition.
posted by crossoverman at 12:24 AM on January 24, 2009


quiet profundity

It is technically beautiful, and I enjoyed it as an entertainment. I have no doubt its makers put every ounce of creativity into the product. But it is a product, first and foremost, and I'd disagree that the film conveys any particularly deep message, one that would be meaningful from a corporation that encourages a culture of out-of-control consumerism as a way of life.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:47 AM on January 24, 2009


everything's a product

chill out.
posted by tumult at 10:21 PM on January 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


everything's a product

chill out.


Meaning... what, exactly?

Oh, Metafilter, how I missed you. C'mere and let me give you some noogies. Yeah!
posted by jokeefe at 11:19 PM on January 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought the immaturity of the Wall-E and Eve relationship was intended to be reflective of the innocence of the two robots' naive consciousness. Ultimately, they weren't the heroes of the story, so their romance and personalities were not representative of an ideal.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:26 PM on January 24, 2009


Meaning... what, exactly?

meaning blazecock pileon is going to have a hard time finding deep messages if he believes they can't be in products, because all works of art are products. i'm not saying that to be obtuse.
posted by tumult at 11:41 PM on January 24, 2009


Powerful Religious Baby articulates a lot of the reasons I couldn't thoroughly enjoy a movie that I liked much more than I expected. At the time, it seemed weirdly reminiscent of the nerdy boy/ cool girl dynamic in teen films: he doesn't feel worthy, she's so mysterious and withholding, but is won over by persistent attention.
posted by goofyfoot at 11:42 PM on January 24, 2009



Also, the glass ceiling thing? The female interviewer brought it up, not him.


Actually, the first line of the article refers to Stanton using the phrase in an acceptance speech after winning Best Picture from the L.A. Film Critic's Association. Apparently he thought of it first and the interviewer was quoting him. Also, that was really inept of him. It's clueless and totally tone deaf, but not ill-intended. I, too, think Wall-e should have been a contender for best picture, too (although I like Ratatouille better) but that doesn't mean you get to compare it to half the population being prevented from advancing due to sexism.

When he says "...Wall-E having no clue where the boundaries were with a woman. Because men don't either. Men just stumble into it and find out through experience" it's somehow less offensive if you change "men" to "boys". Also, I wouldn't want my sister to marry him. (Although I've heard interviews with him and really comes across as a sweet guy, I have to say.)

I wish Pixar, god bless them, would make a freaking movie with a female main character. Just one.
posted by smartyboots at 12:17 AM on January 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


meaning blazecock pileon is going to have a hard time finding deep messages if he believes they can't be in products

That's not what I said, at all.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:42 AM on January 25, 2009


Actually, I thought it was pretty weird for such an anti-consumerist film such as that to be released by Disney, of all companies. The credits even had several people under the marketing heading, which I had never seen before.
posted by grouse at 1:08 AM on January 25, 2009


I though Wall-E was a great exercise in world building but the actual plot left me cold.

Yeah, this is pretty much how I felt about it. To me, it wasn't much of a plot per se, but sort of a series of vignettes. You could very easily chop it up into discrete segments that would stand pretty well on their own. The plot seemed a bit ancillary - sort of a common thread tying the vignettes together. I liked the movie and enjoyed watching it, but this lack of plot is probably one of the reasons I didn't go all apeshit over it like everyone else I know.

As for Eve - I think all the psychoanalysis is a bit much, even coming from the movie's creator. Although I will say that I didn't find Eve to be particularly feminine. Had she not had a female voice, she could have just as easily been male. Whether this prevented me from fully buying into the love story, I cannot really say.

My only complaint about the movie was the ending; without the ending credits sequence, we have no reason to believe that things will turn out well. Even with the credits sequence, it's kind of like WTF? Who puts an important thing like that into the credits sequence?

Anyway, like Juno (and lots of other movies that people seem to go crazy for), I thought Wall-E was fun and enjoyable, but not so much a big deal.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:44 AM on January 25, 2009


I wish Pixar, god bless them, would make a freaking movie with a female main character. Just one.

I guess The Incredibles' Elastigirl wasn't main enough for you? There were significant female characters in Finding Nemo, Cars, Wall-e, and Toy Story 2, to say the least.

Perhaps I'm not as much of a feminist as I thought, but Stanton's usage of "glass ceiling" was fine and well expressed. Certainly, while the term emerged out of the woman's fight for equality in the workplace, it has since expanded to a more general term where advancement is forestalled due to discrimination. You then have to take in the position of a lot of the Pixar folk. In their minds, they do not make animated films. They make films using animation. For a segment of the Academy, as well as our own society, there is an instant belief that if something is animated, then its not serious, it's kiddy stuff, etc. Thus, there are people who wouldn't consider Wall-e a film worthy of being a Best Picture nominee, simply because its animated . This is the discrimination that the folks at Pixar perceive, and which is what spawned the glass ceiling comment.

I'm also surprised at the criticism being leveled at the relationship between Wall-e and Eve. At best, it should be viewed as young romance between two inexperienced individuals, not some mature dissertation of adult relationships. This is supposed to be a more innocent romance, to which Stanton has admitted, most jaded folk today couldn't accept unless he wrapped it up in a dystopian future of trash and overweight humans.

Lastly, as a nitpick, Eve was approachable before her hibernation mode. It was this very approachability which resulted in Wall-e giving her the plant that resulted in her going into sleep mode.
posted by Atreides at 9:03 AM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess The Incredibles' Elastigirl wasn't main enough for you?

She was one of an ensemble, and in that movie, the bulk of the time we saw things from Mr. Incredible's POV. It was nice that she got a lot of screen time, and that was definitely not a bad movie in terms of female characters.

But no, there has not yet been a Pixar movie centered around a female character. Has there even been a short that was? (I haven't seen them all). And yeah, for all the little girls out there watching cartoons, it does matter. They need heroes to aspire to, also, and stories in which they are not just a helper or completely nonexistent.

To be fair, Pixar's problem in this area is endemic in all kids' cartoons, which tend be Male Character + Love Interest + Ensemble. Or Ensemble that Includes One Female (Not the Leader).

To be unfair, the casting of a male lead in a movie about ants (Bug's Life) is just a whole other level of anger-making. Even a completely female-dominated, majority-female species gets a male hero. And so I don't sing paens to them despite the many good things about their movies, because when it comes to this, they're making the same mistakes as the latest straight-to-video piece of crap kid movie.
posted by emjaybee at 10:28 AM on January 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


To be unfair, the casting of a male lead in a movie about ants (Bug's Life) is just a whole other level of anger-making.

To be more unfair, I've always felt that Bug's Life was perhaps among the weakest products of Pixar to date. In terms of the Pixar shorts, only a few of them actually star humans. One of the latest, however, features a little girl who gets the best of two competing male adults.
posted by Atreides at 10:44 AM on January 25, 2009


whether I think my film deserves to be the first cartoon ever nominated for Best Picture

Gompa makes a great point, but I have to make the correction: Beauty and the Beast, 1991. Outstanding technical achievement, OK movie, still the only animated film ever to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. I prefer Ratatouille (and Toy Story, and Toy Story 2, and probably also The Incredibles) to Wall•E in most regards, but given the amount of ass Pixar has been kicking it's really a shame that none of their films has ever gotten that particular nod.
posted by Joey Bagels at 10:46 AM on January 25, 2009


Eve was approachable before her hibernation mode

Didn't she shoot at him repeatedly while he was stalking her? And it was his continued stalking despite her obvious disinterest that wore her defenses down so she could see what a nice guy(tm) he was. That is a novel theme for children to see about respecting a woman's boundries. I guess when a robot says no it doesn't mean no. And him forcing physical affection on a comatose Eve immediately reminded me of the beginning sequence of Kill Bill with the Bride in the Hospital.

I can't believe I am arguing about the love lives of robots on the internet.
posted by saucysault at 11:09 AM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: the love lives of robots on the internet
posted by Grangousier at 11:17 AM on January 25, 2009


Metafilter: arguing about the love lives of robots on the internet

But, yeah, Wall-E dragging Eve's inanimate body along on a date was pretty darn creepy.
posted by Zed at 1:12 PM on January 25, 2009


And yeah, for all the little girls out there watching cartoons, it does matter. They need heroes to aspire to, also, and stories in which they are not just a helper or completely nonexistent.

PS: Kim Possible, a Disney product, stars a female lead (it's actually a cute show, with great animation and voice work). Other Family Channel staples (That's So Raven, Hannah Montana, Zoey 101, Lizzie Macguire etc etc etc) all star female leads. PSPS: The lead animator for the Incredible Hulk's vicious battle sequence (with Ed Norton vs. Tim Roth) was a very quiet, "mousey" girl, probably the cutest thing you've ever seen. And her animated Hulk beat the absolute **** out of the Abomination.

I read books about screenplays and scripts. Very few "superhero" or "adventure" movies have a female lead. The ones that do cater to a male audience. I sure hope you don't take this as a bash against women... it's just... very few have stepped up and created a screenplay/show/novel/comic book with a viable, legitimate, honest, female "hero" that a) doesn't shove femininity down the reader/viewer's throat, b) doesn't abuse sexuality! The thing about heroes is that they put all their own problems aside to help others. It's tough for people to do that when the problems they face daily are so overwhelming.

The author challenged the reader: "Maybe you'll be the first [to create that female hero]!" The problem is, most women are told that their gender is struggling with abuse/gender bias/society BS/rights/equality on a daily basis. It's basically "heroic" for them to live a day without being beaten/victimized/oppressed/etc., let alone have their writing voice heard in Hollywood or New York.

i.e. Repressed woman hears about repressed women, feels repressed.

I want to be able to say that if/when I have kids, their role models won't be coming from television shows. I would want them to have fun while watching a movie or TV. But it would be my job to explain stuff to the little whippersnapper, as a responsible parent. (...I hope, haha :P ) I mean, there are programs that are terrible, ones that represent POOR role models... but the majority of (children's) television is merely entertainment, even the "good" shows. But the real female role models take a bit more digging to uncover.
posted by Khazk at 2:17 PM on January 25, 2009


I dunno, maybe Walle is perfect example of what could happen if you spend 700 years cleaning up shit , watching romantic musicals and hanging out with cockroach. Anyone's perspective is bound to be a little off.

The idea that Walle was creepy or forcing himself on Eve seems odd, IMO, but understandable, from the side of the coin has been in multiple relationships. Sure, to all of us Walle might a bit pathetic, but it's his first relationship and he has no clue what to do except what he learned from tv. Had he been rubbing his filthy orange (i.e. brown) self all over her clean, white body, you might have a point. But he wasn't, the clueless nerd was simply trying to talk or communicate with her and in light of her seeming inability to care for herself, watch over her.

Is the point of view a male one? Sure, see in the light it was portrayed: that of scared, young person, without a clue, wishing to talk someone they're interested in and afraid of rejection because it would it kill them. Who can't identify with that?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:22 PM on January 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


I can identify with that familiar male archetype but only because I have seen in about a bazillion times. It would be nice if female archetypes (beyond the nubile girlfriend/old mother) were explored by either male or female writers. Also, since I am asking fo rthe moon, could we have more femail characters in videogames too, I'm tired of only being Princess Leia in Lego Star Wars or only Catwoman in Lego Batman when my son gets to choose from literally 30+ male characters.
posted by saucysault at 3:59 PM on January 25, 2009


Although I will say that I didn't find Eve to be particularly feminine.

His name was actually Yves, but that's supposed to be a secret. ;)
posted by lysdexic at 4:44 PM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can identify with that familiar male archetype but only because I have seen in about a bazillion times. It would be nice if female archetypes (beyond the nubile girlfriend/old mother) were explored by either male or female writers.

I'm not really sure EVA qualifies as the "nubile girlfriend," nor is she the "old mother"...maybe she's a young mother? I mean, you know, Wall-E put the, uhh, plant inside of her. And then she, um. You know. Nurtured it. In her...belly. ...Ummm...

I'm pretty much with everyone who says that EVA and Wall-E are meant to be metaphors for very young people in love. (Possibly to include unwed pregnancy!) I can even excuse Wall-E's stalker-esque devotion as something that stands altogether outside the metaphor: Literally, he's someone who has apparently never had any kind of social interaction at all, other than with a bug. For all he knows, EVA is the only other robot in the universe, so yeah, I think he's gonna be kind of clingy about her. This gets a little troublesome because very young people in the real world do sometimes stalk the people they love, or think they love, and it's not cute even a little bit, but I think that's the point where you have to seriously ask yourself whether kids are going to develop their idea of what a healthy romantic scenario looks like from watching Wall-E. I don't know for sure, but I imagine that mostly they won't.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:47 PM on January 25, 2009


Didn't she shoot at him repeatedly while he was stalking her? And it was his continued stalking despite her obvious disinterest that wore her defenses down so she could see what a nice guy(tm) he was. That is a novel theme for children to see about respecting a woman's boundries. I guess when a robot says no it doesn't mean no. And him forcing physical affection on a comatose Eve immediately reminded me of the beginning sequence of Kill Bill with the Bride in the Hospital.

Wow. I mean no insult, but I think you're really superimposing way too much onto the characters of the film. Let's step back and view the film from a less sexual predator perspective.

First, Eve firing her canon at Wall-e was not Eve telling Wall-e, "No, I'm not interested in a romantic relationship with you." Eve used her canon generally as a self-defense mechanism based on "shoot first, ask questions later." This is made clear by her shooting the canon at the cockroach. But to be even more clear, Eve fired upon Wall-e when she had no idea who or what he was. After seeing who Wall-e is, scanning him for plant life, she quickly loses interest in him (nor fires her canon at him again). Every time she sees him again, leading up to their scene by the burning cargo vessels, she completely ignores him. The best example of this is inside the store, where he falls down the escalator, then crashes into the sliding doors. She shrugs off the whole event. She's not fending off advances, nor does she have any defenses that are being worn down.

Eve befriended Wall-e after becoming frustrated with her directive. She enjoyed his company when she was taken back to Wall-e's home to get out of the sandstorm. Even up to this point, she treated Wall-e really as a friend, and nothing much more. That was how Eve decided for herself to act. She didn't realized she loved Wall-e until she saw the actions he took once she went into hibernation mode. They weren't the actions of a deviant, but of someone who cared greatly about her.

Second, Wall-e isn't picking Eve out of a crowd of robots. He isn't in a society of robots, where he picks out one robot, and follows them obsessively around in stalker mode. He's a robot who has been alone for 700 years. When Eve arrives, he does fall in love with her, but even if he hadn't, he undoubtedly would have followed her around. It was well established prior to Eve's arrival, and after, that Wall-e has a natural curiosity towards the world, from light bulbs to sporks to plants, and yes, to the first robot that shows up after 700 years. To call Wall-e's behavior stalkerish is disingenuous toward the character.

Third, Wall-e respected Eve's boundaries. The only time you might claim he "forced" himself upon her, was when he tried to hold her hand while sitting on the bench at the end of the date sequence. This action wasn't based on some deviant sexual behavior, it was based on his countless viewings of Hello Dolly, which showed that the way you expressed affection was to hold hands. Pretty darn innocent.

The lessons I see for children that come out of the movie is that curiosity is a good thing; that love is a very important thing and can take precedence over other matters; and that's ignoring all the other issues, related to physical upkeep and the environment (which were secondary issues). Lastly, Wall-e wasn't just made for children, it was made for everyone. ;)
posted by Atreides at 4:53 PM on January 25, 2009 [15 favorites]


Studio Ghibli has several movies with female leads (eg Nausicaa Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away). Nausicaa.net has a list.
posted by kbibb at 6:56 PM on January 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I though Wall-E was a great exercise in world building but the actual plot left me cold.

Me too. I really, really, REALLY wanted to like it - I love pixar and I love robots - but the robots just didn't work for me.

Far from seeing Wall-E and Eve as young people in love, or as disturbing representations of sexual stereotypes, I pretty much failed to see them as people at all. I liked the cockroach the best in the beginning of the film, and later, found the human characters far more likable than the robots. Maybe it's because I work with computers for a living, but I never saw them as anything but machines.

This was the opposite of most other Pixar films - in Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Ratatooile, the humans were the least believable of the characters and I happily connected with the toys / fish / rats instead.

On top of that, the anti-consumer message didn't really work for me, and the utter hopelessness of the human race (until the end credits) kind of put a damper on my enjoyment.

Blerg.
posted by mmoncur at 7:48 PM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I always equated the going on a date while in hibernation bit to reading to someone in a coma.
posted by minifigs at 1:06 AM on January 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I sure hope you don't take this as a bash against women... it's just... very few have stepped up and created a screenplay/show/novel/comic book with a viable, legitimate, honest, female "hero" that a) doesn't shove femininity down the reader/viewer's throat, b) doesn't abuse sexuality!

You don't suppose that the reason so few women have created screenplays about female heros is because of that glass ceiling we were talking about earlier, do you? Gee, I wonder. I'm not sure I even want to know what you mean by a) and b).
posted by harriet vane at 4:14 AM on January 26, 2009


Brandon Blatcher : I dunno, maybe Walle is perfect example of what could happen if you spend 700 years cleaning up shit , watching romantic musicals and hanging out with cockroach. Anyone's perspective is bound to be a little off.

Between this and what Atreides already said, I don't have a lot to add, other than to reinforce the point that I, at least, didn't read any kind of strange stalkerish behavior on Wall-E's part. He'd been mostly alone for hundreds of years, and he fixated on the first new creature to come along. He was treated as a potential threat only until Eve determined that he wasn't going going to interfere with her mission, and then he was a source of companionship when she grew despondent. Similarly I didn't view Wall-E's treatment of her when she was in hibernation mode odd (or creepy), because that's a similar state to all the other robots Wall-E was probably used to being surrounded with.

To be truthful though, I didn't think of any of this stuff until it came up again and again after I'd seen the film. When I was in the theater, I was transfixed by a sweet story. I didn't see global warming, or consumerism, or issues of gender inequality, or any of it. I just saw a bunch of robots doing awesome stuff, and a Zippo lighter with the best seal in the universe. (700 years and the lighter fluid didn't evaporate? Really?)
posted by quin at 9:06 AM on January 26, 2009


I second everyone saying, "Why aren't there any chick animated movies already!?" I think EVE is as close as we're gonna get to a female lead from Pixar, though. And that's because there's not a whole lot of other characters (read: GUYS) for WALL-E to be distracted by for half the movie.

emjaybee: Oh yeah, and Bee Story. That's all male bees, right? (Didn't see it, you know what one I mean though.) And Horton Hears A Who- the ONLY BOY out of a jillion females is the only one that gets attention?

BrandonBlatcher's last few lines there cracked me up. Good point.

minifigs: I've always thought that was the point of that scene. He's trying to get her to "wake up" by stimulating her, not that he gets off from Girlfriend In A Coma.

No one's brought this up yet, but I find the "gendering" of ROBOTS to be kind of stupid. They don't reproduce, they don't have genitals, there's no Tab A and Slot B. So why assume that WALL-E (who acts kinda girly if you think about it) and EVE (who reminds me of Aeryn Sun- yeah, I could see those two as Robot Aeryn and Crichton), are heterosexually gendered beings? They can't just have characteristics without claiming a gender?

Then again, the right-wing, mouth-foamers would all come out in protest screaming that two robots without genders are TEH GHEY. Never mind.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:26 AM on January 26, 2009


Because pixar gendered them. If Pixar didn't intend people to interpret it that way, they wouldn't have given them male and female names, for example.

I think a non-gendered version of Wall-E might have been a better movie, in fact.
posted by empath at 1:21 PM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


All movies should be about the generic interactions of non-gendered cubes.
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on January 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


BTW, f you want full on gendered robo-sex it turns out Saturns Children is quite good, despite the silliness of the whole robo-lovin' concept.

It also has the most embarassing cover of any book I have read in, well, many many years. And I read superhero comics.
posted by Artw at 1:27 PM on January 26, 2009


I'm sure John Carter will have some well rounded female characters.
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on January 26, 2009


Actually, the first line of the article refers to Stanton using the phrase in an acceptance speech after winning Best Picture from the L.A. Film Critic's Association. Apparently he thought of it first and the interviewer was quoting him. Also, that was really inept of him. It's clueless and totally tone deaf, but not ill-intended. I, too, think Wall-e should have been a contender for best picture, too (although I like Ratatouille better) but that doesn't mean you get to compare it to half the population being prevented from advancing due to sexism.

Why, so it is. I stand corrected.

I still think taking umbrage at the "glass ceiling" line isn't a fair reading of the interview (certainly everybody understands the context of the "animation ghetto" metaphor, so I remain unsure as to why a similar gender-based comparison is inappropriate to so many), but I also draw the line for my own appreciation of feminist critiques substantially before the Freudian: Smart people can sometimes become so accustomed to deconstructing the shit out of everything, there's no original meaning left when they're finished, just a pile of symbols and faint outrage.
posted by Amanojaku at 4:29 PM on January 26, 2009


You know, robots don't have "sexes".
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:15 PM on January 26, 2009


turgid honey, they just haven't been having sexes with you.
posted by saucysault at 8:16 PM on January 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


You know, robots don't have "sexes".

Tell it to the Japanese.
posted by Amanojaku at 8:47 PM on January 26, 2009


turgid honey, they just haven't been having sexes with you.

I think that's the real zeroth law.

"if suitor = (turgid dahlia) echo No"
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:01 PM on January 26, 2009


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