Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 9, 2008

Unlike past vacations, I don't have much to report in the travelogue from last week's brief trip to West Palm Beach. I did finally get to see an Obama ad on TV, which featured him taking credit for welfare reform, tax cuts and other Republican-sounding things, and catch just a little of that epic 18-17 Rockies-Marlins game, and we did get to experience the joys of daily thuderstorms. During one of those, we took the kids to see Wall*E.

I'd definitely give the film a thumbs-up, especially the first half and the short at the
beginning, which had me in stitches. The lengthy silent-film-ish parts and the homage to 2001 made the film awfully artsy for a kids' cartoon, but on the whole it was very well done and entertaining, and the animation during the earth-bound sequences was breathtaking. I was surprised that the kids liked it - my two-year-old said her favorite part was the people falling off their chairs, which she found funny. I would not rate it among the best of the Pixar films, like the Toy Story films and The Incredibles, but it's a good one that will bear re-watching.

There's been some minor debate over the movie's anti-consumer environmental politics, but the movie wasn't dominated by heavy-handed propaganda like the NGO-shilling penguins of Happy Feet or even the enviro-silliness of Evan Almighty, and in any event the trash-will-overwhelm-us doomsday scenario was self-evidently absurd even within the context of the movie (they show the humans' new spaceship home as gleamingly spotless because they have the technology to jettison their garbage into space). I did think they hit one or two slightly sour notes when Fred Willard tried to sneak in Bush-bashing references to his dialogue (a completely out-of-context "stay the course!" interjection), which I didn't find annoying so much as sad in the way it will date the film - imagine watching that 40 years from now, as if you were watching Peter Pan and they threw in a random potshot at Dwight Eisenhower.

A marketing note: when we talked about going to a movie, my 2-year-old daughter piped up with "I want to see panda movie." She watches only Sesame Street and Teletubbies videos and Jetsons and Muppet Show DVDs - nothing with ads (my wife and I have no particular axe to grind with commercial TV, but aside from baseball the kids don't really watch it, mainly because the things we think are worth showing them are the things we grew up with on video or DVD). So, how did she know about Kung Fu Panda? Maybe she saw it on a breakfast cereal box or something, I do not know (my son thinks maybe she caught an ad for it on a Mets broadcast).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:18 AM | Pop Culture | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Don't worry Crank. In 40 years, EVERYONE will remember W as the worst President in the history of the nation.

Posted by: Berto at July 11, 2008 9:35 PM
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