Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscars Tonight

I don't think I have the patience to sit through another Oscar ceremony. Maybe I'll change my mind at the last second, but something tells me that cleaning my toe nails is a better alternative.

My feelings about the best animated film category hasn't changed. Wall-E will probably win. But in my eyes, KFP deserves it.

The first 20 or so minutes of Wall-E was very enjoyable. I loved it. But after that, the movie started to nose dive. Not long thereafter, the thing crashed. I tried watching it 3 times, in an attempt to see what I missed. Same reaction each time.

Here's hoping that "Up" is a better film.

UPDATE: Two predictions came true tonight. 1- Wall-E won. And 2- I didn't watch one second of the Oscars. Instead, I spent the time on more important things. Like laundry. I was running out of underwear and my toe nails were not in need of maintenance.

5 comments:

Marcos Gp said...

Underwear always comes first... I'm sorry for the Panda...

Anonymous said...

CONGRATS TO THE WALL-E CREW! Well deserved.

JMay said...

I just watched WALL-E again last night, projected fifteen feet large on my wall. First of all, it really is a piece of art. The color palette of the opening section is based on rust -- which, in addition to making perfect sense -- is also a wonderful thematic touch: we associate rust with metal but it's also an organic process. Metal is alive. I also love that Eve is such a kick-ass female character, literally armed with rocket launchers. Few other romantic comedies have captured the fact that men are actually in terrified awe of the women they love.

The messages of Wall-E is already more relevant and prescient now than it was even in the 8 months since the movie's release. Wall-E is a working class robot, carrying his lunchbox and doing his job diligently and resourcefully. As the housing bubble pops and the easy money era ends, and we return to a society that values work over entitlement, Wall-E is a wonderful role model for children.

By contrast, in Kung Fu Panda, even though the Furious Five have been working diligently for years to hone their martial arts craft, the fat, lazy Po is somehow able to defeat the enemy because he has a dream and he is "fated" to do it. What's more, the revealed message of the film is that what makes something special is simply believing that it is special, nothing more. I guess at its heart, KFP is a tribute to marketing!

There's recently been a phenomenon in academia where professors are getting complaints from students that their grades aren't high enough: "I BELIEVE I worked hard enough for an A, therefore I deserve an A." Again, it's this sense of entitlement -- I am special and deserving just because. It sums up everything that has been wrong with the direction of our country.

Back to Wall-E -- another subtle, beautiful touch that I enjoyed was that even though Wall-E and Eve are robots, they both "sleep" at night (and, we are encouraged to assume, they dream). A hard day's work leads to a good night's sleep, which leads to the deepest and most inspiring dreams.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant Post, JMay. Why settle for the usual? And why critique animation with a different set of (usually lower) standards than any other film out there.

Wall-e is brilliant. And beautiful.

I suppose I can understand anyone who might enjoy Kung Fu Panda. I remember people liking Porky's 2 when it came out, too.

Steve Schwartz said...

JMay, are your serious? I mean, really? I don't mean to kick up dust on a blog post, like so many internet forums, but this is too much. Are you really projecting the housing market woes on this film's subtext? That's a little far fetched. But really, everything you mentioned happened in the first 40 minutes or so. The rest of the film, for the most part, falters. Pixar didn't know what to do with the humans, and it really shows with Wall E. The only parts I had any interest in were the one's between Wall E and Eve, which were established in those first 40 minutes. It was a good movie, but on a whole it should have been a great movie.
Kung Fu Panda was a great movie. Consistent through and through. It may not have had the oversaturated emotion that was in Wall E, and may have been going for gags more (alot less low brow than the average DWA picture) but the heart, and more importantly, the story were still there. What you see as a fat and lazy panda "fated" to win, I see as a dreamer who refuses to give up in the face of adversity when it comes his way and turns out to win in an unorthodox way. Either way, it caused a reaction in both of us, which is better than alot of films out there. And citing dreamworks on a marketing ploy over Wall E is just the pot calling the kettle black.
In the end, I loved both films, but I know where the faults lie in both. The Oscars, and most award shows, are just hollywood giving it's self a pat on the back and something for the folks at home to watch. People love a winner.

ps - i've never understood why people have been assigning genders to these robots. Human nature for ya.