Duncan's blog

August 4, 2008

Number 5 is alive!

Filed under: Film — duncan @ 7:10 pm
Tags: , , ,

Went to see Pixar’s Wall-E yesterday. Great film, but I felt inspired to comment on some of its references.

SPOILERS after the break

Firstly, there was a lovely little short film before it, Presto, about a magician trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat. He had two hats, as he put his hand into one, it came out the other. This seemed like an obvious Portal reference.

I like the way Pixar always have short films before the main feature. It seems like a throwback to the days of B movies. They can’t be cheap to produce, and I don’t see what real value they have to Pixar, other than serving as filler for DVD extras.

Secondly, Wall-E himself. Very similar to Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, except with added trash-compactor. Incidentally, I hadn’t realised that legendary ‘futurist’ Syd Mead (Blade Runner, Aliens, Tron, etc) did the designs for Johnny 5; check out this cool sketch.

The other ‘main character’, Eve, looks like something that Jonathan Ive of Apple would have designed; all sleek white curves. In fact, Ive actually did some design work on it. There are other Apple references in the film; after Wall-E recharges himself, the old Macintosh startup jingle plays. And in amongst all the interesting junk in his personal collection is an Ipod. None of this is coincidental; Steve Jobs was owner and CEO of Pixar, before selling it to Disney. He’s also the largest individual Disney shareholder.
Little Rocket Man
Also amongst the junk were a few garden gnomes, very similar to the Rien Poortvliet-designed gnomes, as seen in Amelie and the Little Rocket Man achievement in Half-Life 2: Episode Two.

There were also several references to 2001. Notably the auto-pilot computer, which was basically Hal 9000’s glowing red eye, stuck in the middle of a ship’s wheel. There was also an issue with secret objectives, similar to the main 2001 plot line. The Also sprach Zarathustra tune plays when the corpulently obese Captain attempts to walk for the first time ever. And there was a scene where Eve tries to rescue Wall-E from a jettisoned escape capsule, which reminded me of when Bowman goes to retrieve his colleague’s dead deceased corpse from space.

The only thing that struck me as slightly odd was the use of live-action film for the chair of BNL, played by Fred Willard. It seemed to work though, and I never really thought much of it until afterwards.

Other than that…. I thought it was a pretty great film. Maybe not quite up there with Toy Story and The Incredibles, but pretty close.


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