Victoria Jelinek

September 17, 2018, 12:36 pm
Filed under: Film reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wall-E-Movie-PosterHumanity has abandoned planet earth, leaving behind them a fleet of robots to clean up their mess. When the movie opens, however, the only one of these robots remaining is WALL-E who is fascinated by garbage, cleaning it up each day, as he’s programmed to, and taking various ‘treasures’ he finds back to his home. His enchantment switches to a new target when a super-robot EVE touches down, looking for signs of life on earth.

Released ten years ago, I watched this again recently with my young son after seeing a small robot that cleaned a pool at a hotel we stayed at – day in, day out, without stopping – that reminded me of WALL-E. It was in this re-watching, though, with our ever-growing global behavior of consumption and waste, that I truly appreciated the ambition, charm, and visual wit of Pixar’s film. The story can only be the result of inspiration and passion rather than marketing meetings and focus groups, ‘cause WALL-E brings a message about being nice to our planet and the evils of big corporations (ironic, yes, given Disney owns Pixar, but hey ho, this film was made). The setting, a future earth composed of great skyscrapers of trash reaching toward a permanently overcast sky, is prescient. As are the signs for a mega corporation, “Buy and Large,” dotting the nihilistic landscape. While our hero speaks maybe four words – and he has no mouth, no eyebrows, no thumbs – everything WALL-E feels is perfectly palpable and authentic. He is one of the most expressive characters developed in animation. It’s in the nervousness of his gesticulations, the tilt of one of his lamp-like eyes, and his emotive sounds (designed by Ben Burtt, the man who gave us R2-D2’s beeps and tremors) that he is empathetic and believable. Meanwhile, the humans have been reduced to fat toddlers living in Lazy-Boy-type electronic recliners in space, whose every need is met with a touch of the screen that is perpetually in front of them. Enter WALL-E, who reminds us all what is important in life.

If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you do, with or without children. WALL-E is, arguably, Pixar’s most brilliant film in a canon of excellent films produced by the studio. It’s a hopeful film that reminds us of what it is to feel joy.


The Pregnancy Diaries – 12

“Inside every hardened criminal beats the heart of a ten-year old boy.” Bart Simpson

I had yet another ultrasound this week, but this time the foetus actually looks like something I can recognise as human – well, human alien, to be honest, as the head is inordinately big for its little curled body, and its eyes seem large and transparent. A friend told me once that there’s a stage in many animals’ pregnancy (and by “animal,” he also meant human) in which the foetuses all look like alike…I believe this now, having looked at pictures of pregnant cows, dogs and cats. Fits with my recent dreams in which I’m giving birth to a cat. My good doctor kept trying to give me the ultrasound image to take home, but I’m so paranoid about bringing an ultrasound into the house because I did this with the other two pregnancies and then lost them, that I summarily refuse. I think my husband is taking them into the house secretly…at least I’ll have someone to blame if things go ‘Pete Tong.’

After seeing today’s images, I looked up online what is actually happening to the foetus at present and am most surprised to discover it has eyelashes and fingernails. This is certainly an argument against late term abortion…before now, it could have been a cat, dog, or cow, (and I’m a huge fan of animals, particularly cats) but the fingers and toes and eyelids and eyebrows and eyelashes and nails already formed – that’s refined and real. Soon the foetus will stretch, yawn and suck its thumb. Right now, my baby is covered with a layer of thick, downy hair called lanugo, which seems to be similar to one’s nose hairs.  His skin has a coat of slick, fatty substance surrounding it called vernix caseosa that protects it from the long immersion in amniotic fluid (so, does it get wrinkly at all, like one’s fingers do in water after too long? I’ll ask my good doctor about this, despite the likelihood that he’ll poke fun at me). The nervous system is starting to function now, and shortly my good doctor will be able to see whether I’m having a boy or a girl!

I just want a healthy child. I’ve always thought that I wanted a boy ‘cause they’re so much simpler and they love their mothers. Girls are so much more emotionally complex, I worry that I might find that exhausting and that she’ll hate me. That said, boys are noisier and don’t hold still for long, and there’s that awkward smelly, big-footed time when they’re adolescents that might freak me out…. anyway, it doesn’t matter, they each have their merits and demerits; I just want a healthy baby. It’s a long journey, and now the first trimester – the most dangerous time for a foetus and its mother – is over by a few weeks, so I’m breathing a little more easily…