Thursday, October 09, 2008

deconstructing wall-e

i have been having some interesting discussions at home lately about the importance of sub-text - how does one know how and when to read between the lines etc - and have been castigated for all my p0-mo deconstructing mumbo jumbo. i get into trouble for this quite often, like when i lived in a share house and we all went to see that bridget fonda version of nikita (or la femme nikita), a perfectly good french film rendered unwatchable as 'the assasin' by hollywood, and on the walk home i bemoaned long and loud the anti-feminist sub-text, which did not make me popular with my blokey action loving house mates. sigh.

anyway, there is no such danger in the deconstruction of wall-e, mostly because the sub-text is not entirely sub. its a kids movie for a start, so you want the message to be kind of loud and clear, which it is - ie, clean up your rubbish and get off your arse. a perfectly legitimate message for a kids movie, actually i wish more kids movies had messages of this kind rather than the be a princess or a brat kind.

there was a sub-text tho, aimed at adults, and those who know the back room dealings between pixar and disney, evidenced by the fact that when wall-e starts up he makes a sound like a mac. this had me and only one other adult in the cinema laugh out loud while the kids looked at us like we were retarded. of course, wall-e is the reliable, break-proof, sturdy robot, while the white shiny ones developed by the company BNL (buynlarge - get it?) are either defective, soulless or mutinous, while BNL has branded itself on everything. so the sub-text is about capitalism and the commodification and disposability of modern life, the emptiness at the heart of consumption, the insidiousness of branding. it is possible that the CEO of BNL, the only non-animated character, could be said to look like a certain microsoft philathropist, but im sure the resemblance is purely co-incidental. that sub text is writ large in the closing titles, which the kids i was with didnt get, but show the re-evolution of the human species as it returns to earth through the changes in artistic styles, starting back in the stone age and becoming animated again. really very clever (altho of course there is a potential sub-subtext here of 'will we just make the same mistakes all over again' but that would be mean spirited of me).

but the real message was about love and loyalty, and sticking by your friends, no matter what, even when they shut down on you, or have some other 'directive' (wall-e in joke).

it was a really great movie, not just a good animation, (the graphics are beyond anything ive ever seen, the light and detail are amazing) but a really good plot and character driven, emotion laden, movie with a message, and you should go see it.

and no, i am not a mac user by nature, tho i love my nano. the irony of wall-e being yellow and dirty and not cute like an Eva-Ipod was not lost on me mr jobs.

k xx


Rose Red said...

I really like this post!! Thanks for the very easy to read po-mo-deco-mu-ju! (well, sort of!)

Michelle said...

I loved this movie for it's darkness and all it's subtext. The 80 year old MIL, who loves any movies with a talking parrot (I think she was pissed we didn't let her see the talking chihuahua movie instead) said at the end "I just don't get it".

I don't understand what there was she couldn't get, myself, but intelligence isn't one of her strengths.

All up, I think this movie was very brave in how it got it's message across. There was absolutely no sugar-coating the prospective end of the world, and I think the makers deserve kudos for that.

Maybe generations Y and Z will save us from ourselves!

Bells said...

ok ok I'll go and see it! Sean and I are due for a movie outing.

CurlyPops said...

I didn't want to see this movie but my nephew insisted and I absolutely loved it. The animation was superb...better than anything I've ever seen before. The message should be loud and clear to adults and kids alike. I actually wanted to cry...