Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Vera Reviews Wall-E and Hello, Dolly!

Hi, Vera here. Chuck, Dave, and I downloaded Wall-E on iTunes this week. (Thank goodness for current bushes because my battery was low.) Everyone had been talking about what a great environmental message the movie has, but the three of us all agree that that's pure, unadulterated poppycock! I mean, yeah, the little robot with binoculars for eyes was sweet and everything, and none of the mess was his fault, but hello?!!? Every single plant on earth is dead except one tiny sprout--locked inside a dark refrigerator no less--for all those years? Have they not heard of photosynthesis?

And then, people come back, start up agriculture from scratch with nothing except a cockroach and that one tiny plant, and in the end, there's a Blue Jay??!! I don't think so. Though I must admit that since Blue Jays really did plant oak trees after glaciation, they were a good choice for that brief little cameo, though Chuck and Dave both think that, based on the obvious ignorance about birds and plants in the rest of the film, the producers probably didn't choose a Blue Jay based on their ecological importance but because of their bright colors and, if you don't mind my saying so, their jaunty little crest, since everyone knows that we crested birds are so artistically interesting.

But the movie got us all thinking about Hello, Dolly! which we hadn't watched in years--we never forget a song! So we rented the video and watched that one again. Now THAT'S a movie with a lot of birds, though they're used in a really creepy way:

And of course there's that scene in the Harmonia Gardens when one waiter rolls up an aquarium to a table and the customer picks out a lobster, then another waiter rolls in another aquarium and lets the guy pick out a fish, and then a third waiter wheels up a big covered pan, opens it, and out flies a bunch of Wood Ducks, the customer points, and the waiter shoots one. I am not making this up. Chuck said he was just shooting a blank, and you don't see the duck really fall, but how about what they rolled in to Cornelius Hackl's table, with that poor dead pheasant??! What barbarism!

But at least in the scenes at Vandergelder's Hay and Feed store, you can hear in the background a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, an Eastern Phoebe and, in a moment of gritty realism, a House Sparrow. I'd have loved to hear a Tufted Titmouse, but whoever did the sound must have realized that we didn't live in New York back in the 1890s. I love it when they get those little details right, though Chuck and Dave said it was just luck.

I read one review talking about the brilliant opening with the train going along the river between New York City and Yonkers being so evocative blah, blah, blah, but all I could see was the smoke belching out of the locomotive. Sadly foreshadowing the world in Wall-E.

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