Archive for August, 2008

Chaplin Revisited

Posted in Animation with tags on August 29, 2008 by Irish Bison

Charlie Chaplin lives again in the form of a small robot named WALL-E. Pixar has truly out done itself. This animated movie has touched on some of the most beautiful moments of storytelling from ages gone by and brought them once again shining to the silver screen. I have heard a lot of parents say that their children have not understood this film… it is not understanding they lack, but appreciation for the better things of the past. Now I don’t want to relive the past, I like my modern comforts (mmmm…. air conditioning), but I think every kid should have to learn about some of the film greats of the past. With limited resources directors of the past were able to make us laugh, cry, hate and love all through simple attention to storytelling, screen composition, character juxtaposition and lighting. The effects we have gotten used to were unthinkable as past generations went to the movies. PIxar has put the two together and come up with a masterpiece. The movie is mostly pantomime in a pure Chaplin sense, and believe it or not, the delicate emotions of two machines bring us completely and thoroughly into their world. I will not spoil the whole in case some one who has not seen it chances on this article, but at a certain point in the film I was totally engrossed in the wonder of what was happening and I happened to look down at my 7 year old daughter. She was in tears. She, as well as I, had become a part of the world Pixar had created. This excellence of storytelling was exemplified even more when my 5 year old son crawled into my lap for the same reasons that my daughter was crying. This movie is story telling at its best. As an added bonus, the introductory short that has become s standard feature of PIXAR releases, pays equal homage to some of the great animated shorts of the past, making this such a complete experience I think I won’t need to see another animated film for years… did I say that. Well, the Princess and the Frog will be hitting theatres next year, so at least until then, WALL-E is hands down the best feature length animation to come out of DIsney/PIXAR… ever.

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Posted in Sounding Off on August 29, 2008 by Irish Bison

Well, once again, completely ashamed at the infrequency with which I write, too much time, so little to do… wait a minute, strike that, reverse it. I find it quite funny that President Bush has taken so many beatings for being so inept that he had to choose a Vice President who could run things behind the scenes yet now the mighty Obama has done the same thing in selecting Joe Biden but Obama is a genius for choosing a veep to run things behind the scenes. The horror.

Like an idiot today I chose to upgrade to Firefox 3.01… DON”T DO IT!!!!!!!! A genuinely non-intuitive UI with really bizarre features such as a customizable address bar that no longer stores simply history and for some reason defaults to showing all of your bookmarks. The only way to customize it is to become a computer engineer (involves adding or editing the scripting behind the scenes). The folks at Mozilla have succumbed to the dreadful Microsoft Disease… pump out crap because the people want it and damn the bugs! Don’t get me wrong, I own plenty of cool Microsoft Toys and many Apple toys as well (yes folks they all crash) but this desire to get something to market prior to fine tuning is insanely frustrating.

A very sad thing happened in the lives of some friends of ours this past week. Our friends gave birth to a new baby girl who was seemingly healthy however not two days later she passed away due to a congenital heart defect that went undetected. The amazing thing to me is the strength that they have had with this through their faith in God. Of course they mourn the loss of the girl, but they hold up as blessed the few moments they had with her and that she had with them. The mother actually wrote a beautiful piece about the sovereignty of God in the death of their baby, a title I have swiped from a similar piece written in 1988 by the Rev. Donald A. Dunkerley on the same subject. Very medicine making.  I think that the sensationalist nature of our world today causes us to miss the wonderful little rays of light that pour out of tragedy.