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May 19 2009 | Communications, Jim's Blog,
by Jim

I've wanted to see Wall-E since before it came out but somehow it took this long to bubble to the top of my Netflix que.

I'm guessing everyone reading this has seen this film and if you haven't, you should.

Overall, it's something approaching a masterpiece. The surprisingly original score coupled with the almost complete lack of dialog, the futuristic storyline and the emotional animation... It's what we all have come to expect from Pixar, brilliant excellence.

I should leave it at that because it's worthy of being labeled a masterpiece and given a slew of awards and left alone... but I won't leave it at that because it demands more. I also won't because it evoked in me another reaction that I didn't expect.

It numbed me.

Everyday, like many of us, I see bad news. Ocean acidification, developments taking away beach access or damaging wave forms, pollution issues from plastic debris, oil spills, pharmaceuticals making their way into the ocean, etc. Every single day there is more bad news and much of it seemingly insurmountable. Many of the films I watch (one of the reasons it took me so long to get to this one) are documentaries, most of which are historical perspectives or environmentally-oriented.

When I watched this film I was initially pulled in one direction. I was stoked. I simply love the fact that environmental messages are getting to main street. I'm a fan of Disney's recent Earth film as it delivered tonnage. It informed, entertained and educated. I don't care that it was retread footage, I love reused footage AND it hit lots and lots of kids that grew up on Wii instead of playing outside.

But Wall-E tugged me. It numbed me. I watched it sitting next to my daughter and I realized that she, and her entire generation, had a different reality than the one I grew up with. Her baseline was different than mine, it had shifted. Her generation's "normal" is the horrific state we find our environment in.

When I was a kid we studied Mount Rushmore as a man-made wonder.

She is studying the Garbage Patch as a man-made wonder.

We had the Undersea world of Jacques Cousteau and they have Youtube films of the systemic failure of fisheries.

So as I sat back and became enveloped in this film... I also sat back and understood the new normal that our kids are growing up with. We had Gentle Ben... and they have Wall-E.

photo: Pixar
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