Sunday, June 29, 2008

WALL-E and California Smoke

I know its been a while since I posted. Lets just say that my abductors were very nice, but it wouldn't hurt for them to find a new Chinese restaurant.

If you have been anywhere near California in the last week, you know that we have had a bit of smoke in the air. (Smoke so thick it blocked the sun and changed weather patterns.) It took me several days to figure out why it was pissing me off. Normally I love the smell of a good forest fire. It reminds me of my childhood. But for some reason this smoke was just annoying me. And then it hit me. Traffic. Ok, maybe it takes more than one word to explain it. If you are stuck in traffic for a while you get angry. But if you get to see some nasty carnage of the accident that caused it, you completely forget about the traffic and just keep telling everyone for the next few days about how you saw one car upside down and the other burned to a crisp. Well the same thing happens with smoke. When you get stuck in smoke its nasty. But if you see walls of flame or at least a smoldering stump, everything is great. You get to talk about it for years.

I'm really not sure what to say about WALL-E. Should people watch it? Yes. Its a fantastic piece of filmaking. Did I like it? Pretty much. Pixar has once again created amazing characters and sent them on an amazing adventure. I didn't care for being preached at about environmental and economic issues. I guess a lot of stories have some meaning, and this one does get the call to arms out there. It just wasn't for me.

Pixar's real win on this one though wasn't the art. It was the sound. Back in the 70's a young man was able to give a robot that was not much more than a rolling garbage can a soul. R2-D2 became a hero to a generation. Was it special effects or mechanical wizardry that did this? No, it was the sad sound of a little droid alone in the desert that pulled our heart strings. Ben Burtt has done it again. WALL-E is the next R2-D2. A nearly mute knight out to save the world. The everyman with a boring job who somehow goes on an adventure.....and gets the girl. Pixar would have had a much harder time making it all work if they didn't have Ben Burtt there to give our hero the soul that it needed to warm out hearts.