WALL·E

Paul R. Potts

Last night while Grace hosted a small party at our apartment, I took the kids to see Wall·E, the new Pixar film.

The graphics are astounding, the sound design amazing, and the story touching if a bit vapid and ultimately predictable. It’s pretty clear to me that Pixar is making some of the best movies around these days. The only way it could have been a better movie is if it hadn’t ended quite so happily. The film has a serious dystopian theme, and features images of skyscraper-sized towers built entirely from compacted cubes of trash.

The story is basically a love story between a rusty Walkman and a shiny iPod, but it’s set against the backdrop of the ultimate consequences of consuming disposable consumer goods. Wait a minute, isn’t Steve Jobs the guy behind Pixar? I’m a bit confused.

Appropriately enough, when we bought the tickets, I was handed three bits of freshly-minted trash: cheap, disposable Wall-E watches for the kids (the batteries are not replaceable), with a likely toxic rubbery outer skin and a tiny, tiny display, almost illegible to my 40-year-old eyes, and tiny buttons buried under the rubbery skin that are almost impossible to accurately press (even for my son Isaac). I’m well on my way to my own skyscraper of toxic trash! It makes me wonder if Pixar’s marketing people even know what the film is about.

They also came with cards promoting a forthcoming Disney film called Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which in an odd coincidence is set to open on my birthday. (It sounds like I must have made this up. I only wish I had). The trailer made me very happy that my grandmother, who used to own and love Chihuahuas, is safely dead. I shudder to think what even exposure to the trailer would have done to her, but I can picture her stricken expression!

Ann Arbor, Michigan
July 2008

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