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Papercraft WALL-E Dances When You Get Mail

22 Sep

Could this be much cuter? A papercraft WALL-E who busts a move to let you know when you get mail!

Details are here. A tip o’ the hat to my friend Rich for tweeting about it today.

WALL-E & Watchmen Mashup Trailer

27 Mar

Courtesy of TM2Megatron on YouTube. In high res no less, woot!

The Gender Politics of WALL-E

23 Feb

Yes indeed, my son and I whooped with joy and relief last night when WALL-E was awarded the Academy Award for Best Animated Film (beating the Annie winner, Kung Fu Panda), and sighed a bit when it didn’t take home any others. I do believe the merits of this film will hold up over time, and are of interest not only to students of animation, but also to those who study sexual orientation and gender. The Oh! Industry blog has a great queer studies analysis I’ve linked to before, and now I’ve added my own two cents in last week’s Jentasmic! column at Studios Central. Here’s just one of the many reasons why this old crusty feminist loves WALL-E:

Shared parenting supports women’s full participation in society, and WALL-E is a great dad. Think back to the moment that EVE takes the plant into her body, and then shuts herself off from the world, focusing only on protection of the life within her. Sound familiar to any of you who’ve been pregnant, or whose partners have been? While WALL-E is heartbroken by her withdrawal, he protects her carefully, lovingly, with great dedication. Lightning strikes his umbrella? No problem, he’s got another. (And yes, it’s also borderline creepy when he takes her for the romantic canoe ride…but comedy returns when he tries to hold her hand watching the sunset.)

The current episode of the Those Darn Cats Podcast also has some discussion of WALL-E, and the Oscars in general….including some super-fun red-carpet commentary from Lisa. And for those of you who aren’t already subscribed to the podcast, we’ve got a handy-dandy past shows archive page, from which you can download shows on topics ranging from remembering Eartha Kitt (podcast), to feminist analysis of Minnie’s Country Home (podcast), to Disney Cruise Line (podcasts part one and two). You can also check us out on iTunes.

The Brave Little Mars Phoenix

31 Oct

Mr. Broke Hoedown (aka Collateral Damage) has a great post this week about the demise of the Mars Phoenix rover, which he likens to both The Brave Little Toaster and WALL-E.

None of my technical knowledge did anything to prevent me getting a bit teary when I read a few of those final tweets from outer space. I’m still hoping we hear from Phoenix a few more times, and at the same time I don’t know if my heart can stand a longer good-bye.

And hey, on a cheerier note, he’s also got an interesting post about a Japanese man who’s pushing for the right to marry a cartoon character. Or maybe that’s more depressing, I’m not sure.

WALL-E, Japanese Cell Phones, and Badtz-Maru Dancer

5 Sep

There’s something about this image that just screams “Blade Runner” to me…but maybe that’s because I was listening to 80’s Movie and Music Cafe chattering about that movie this morning….I think I need an evening on the couch reacquainting myself with that classic!

But I digress…this picture actually comes to us from Japan, via Pink Tentacle, which tells us about a new ad technology being tested on Japanese cell phones (which, as we all know, are frequently signs of what’s coming next, especially when those trendsetting schoolgirls get involved):

Japan’s first field test of “smart posters” using Near Field Communication (NFC) — a short-range high-frequency wireless communication technology that lets users view digital content simply by holding their compatible cellphones near the posters — is being conducted at a Chiba-area shopping mall, it was announced on September 2.

Major phone operator SoftBank Mobile, along with NTT Data, Hitachi and Dutch smart chip maker Gemalto, are testing the technology with WALL-E and Tinker Bell movie posters embedded with NFC tags.

Strangely enough, when I did a google image search for “softbank mobile tinker bell,” an unrelated image from my very own blog showed up. I guess I’m tired and spacey from too much fun last night (belly dancers! sword fights! all-girl Queen tribute band Gunpowder Gelatine!), but this picture makes me smile so much I just have to share it with you…it is a treasured memory from my 2002 trip to Sanrio Puroland.

Guess I need a research trip to Japan to check out those cell phone ads, look for Tinker Bell, and check out the current version of the Sanrio Puroland 3PM parade.

WALL-E: Queer Studies Analysis from “Oh! Industry”

7 Aug

The Oh! Industry blog has a fabulous analysis of WALL-E, from a Queer Studies perspective. A snippet:

Much has been made of Wall-e’s loneliness in reviews of the film, as well as in some of Pixar’s own trailers. He finds nightly refuge with a companion cockroach in a makeshift shelter adorned with strings of lights and other keepsakes he’s scavenged throughout the day. (While we were watching the movie, CBB observed how Wall-e’s life among the heaps could be read vis a vis the Philippines’ own Smoky Mountain garbage dump–yet another Oh! entry point to the experience). But there is something about Wall-e that never feels lonely, even in the opening scenes before Eve arrives to shake things up (very literally).

Like one in every 10 viewers, or maybe 1 out of every 100 these days, I felt hailed by the very first “Out There” that opened the movie; by Cornelius Hackl’s goofy voice; by the lyrics and dance steps I memorized when I watched my VHS tape of Hello, Dolly! over and over again in my room when I was a choir-drama-band geek at Ramona high-school. And it only took a moment–the moment Dolly’s signature ballad filled Wall-e’s special screen–for me to feel the senti tears of recognition flowing from my eyes.

Good lord, even as I was hailing the gender subversion of the film in Those Darn Cats last week, the queer undertones of the film hadn’t risen above the level of subconscious. But as I read the Oh! Industry post, it was all clear as day.

Of course, the fact that the film reads as queer doesn’t mean that this was the artist’s intention. Interpretation and intent are two entirely different things, and if they don’t match it doesn’t mean that anybody did something “wrong” (I know that as a songwriter, I’ve written lyrics about superheroes that were widely interpreted as being about suicide, which seemed a valid interpretation to me despite not being my intent). Nonetheless, Andrew Stanton’s comments on his selection of music for WALL-E, quoted in the latter part of the article are rather sweet.

MouseFest Shopping List, Part I

5 Aug

Just seen on WDW News Today: Finally, a super-kawaii Figment shirt, apparently in a women’s cut! And if I’m reading the tag right, it’s priced fairly reasonably. I guess I know where I’m spending my souvenir allowance at MouseFest!

I also recently saw a WALL-E souvenir on the Home by the Sea blog which is philosophically in keeping with the movie’s environmental theme: Pressed nickels, which of course are made from 100% recycled materials (heck, you’re recycling them yourself, and in some machines at least you’re even contributing some of the energy to press them). Sadly, so far I’ve only heard of them being at Disneyland…if anybody sees them pop up on Walt Disney World campus please drop me a note! (Hat tip: John Frost‘s shared RSS items.)

WALL-E Game Cube Mod

14 Jul

Super kawaii!! How did I miss this before? GizmoDiva posted in February about a group of German game modders who modified their Game Cubes to look like our adorable little friend. (Hat tip: Dark Roasted Blend.)

Is WALL-E the Final Cylon?

9 Jul

Well, Mr. Broke Hoedown certainly seems to think that a cute little lonely robot will feature prominently in the final episodes of Battlestar Gallactica. Lookie here:

At the end of the last Battlestar Gallactica episode for the year (what a depressing phrase) they showed a teaser for next season with the crew finally making it back to earth. Said earth looks distinctly like the earth WALL*E is attempting to clean up. Coincidence? I think not. While some might say that one destroyed earth looks much like another, I disagree. My dimunitive hero makes much more sense as #12 than any of the other ideas I’ve had. What better way to show the meshing of human and robot-kind than Mr. W? Plus it could explain how Starbuck’s viper got so clean and new. That cleanbot did it!

Do you see why I love this man? Go to his review and keep reading…he works in a Planet of the Apes reference, and then continues on to WALL-E’s copyright violations.

Lutefisk, The Paris Sewer Museum, and WALL-E

9 Jul
Lutefisk dinner

A lovely traditional meal, featuring a big chunk of lutefisk front and center. Image from Wikipedia.

How amused was I to hear discussion of lefse on Episode 430 of WDW Today? It would have been nice under any circumstances…but it was doubly amusing because this week’s Those Darn Cats podcast also mentions that same tasty Norwegian treat! We also touch upon Lutefisk, a delicacy you’re not likely to find on Disney property. For those unfamiliar with Lutefisk, here’s a Garrison Keillor quote I grabbed out of Wikipedia:

“Lutefisk is cod that has been dried in a lye solution. It looks like the desiccated cadavers of squirrels run over by trucks, but after it is soaked and reconstituted and the lye is washed out and it’s cooked, it looks more fish-related, though with lutefisk, the window of success is small. It can be tasty, but the statistics aren’t on your side. It is the hereditary delicacy of Swedes and Norwegians who serve it around the holidays, in memory of their ancestors, who ate it because they were poor. Most lutefisk is not edible by normal people. It is reminiscent of the afterbirth of a dog or the world’s largest chunk of phlegm.”

My dear husband, running from a giant sediment-cleaning ball at the Paris Sewer Museum

My dear husband, running from a giant sediment-cleaning ball at the Paris Sewer Museum

I hope I never forget the time my son and I were walking past Epcot Norway, and I turned to him saying, “Honey, this is where some of your ancestors came from.” I had to stop myself short…my son’s ancestors were not, in fact from Central Florida. They were from the real Norway, and visiting a pavilion at Epcot is absolutely no substitute for visiting the real place. I do imagine that if I ever make it to the real Norway, dodging the occasional encounter with lutefisk will be just one of the joys of visiting a country rich in heritage and culture, much like a visit to Paris just doesn’t feel complete without a visit to the sewer museum, or maybe the Catacombs next time. We live in a complicated, sometimes smelly, and always unpredictable world…pretty much the opposite of the idealized international experiences we enjoy at Epcot.

And don’t get me wrong: I do in fact enjoy those experiences. I love dashing into Epcot Japan’s Mitsukoshi Department Store to grab a couple phone charms. I enjoy wandering the Twinings tea shop in Epcot UK, and wonder how different that will feel after I’ve actually seen London. I can never resist ducking into the Mexico pavilion to look at the folk arts, or perhaps grab a ride on what my son and I used to call “The River of Boredom” before Donald and pals plussed the place.

But none of these are a substitute for getting out into that un-sanitized real world, full of sewers and lutefisk and traffic jams. And hey, isn’t that actually one of the messages of this summer’s Pixar blockbuster? I love the moment when WALL-E’s interrupted this woman’s quality time with her computer screen on her barcolounger, and she discovers for the first time that there’s actually a swimming pool in the middle of this big ol’ lounge area. Life works best for me when I approach computer-mediated and otherwise-artificial experiences consciously, carefully, enjoying them only for what they are, and doing my best to approach this big messy beautiful world open-heartedly.

Even if it means yes, occasionally having a bite of lutefisk.

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