13 July 2008

F&SF and WALL-E

While watching the marvelous end credit sequence of WALL-E last week, I thought I saw Shaun Tan's name amongst the art department, but I wasn't sure, because I was having too much fun following the concept of the credit sequence to pay close attention to the names. I thought I could rely on IMDB, but no, he's not listed there. Did I dream it? I fired up the ol' Google, though, and voilá -- this article from The Australian, wherein it is said: "...he was commissioned to do art work on the Hollywood children's films Horton Hears a Who and the forthcoming WALL-E. While he enjoyed both jobs and insists he has no complaints, most of his work ended up on the cutting-room floor."

The jaws of Google are vast, though, and they also caught an entry on TOR art director Irene Gallo's blog that is really the point of this whole entry. What they caught was Bob Eggleton's comment: "The ending credits are worth the price of admission and,really underscore the whole film! And yah for Shaun Tan's concept work in it. I HIGHLY recommend THE ART OF WALL-E by Tim Hauser. Has lots of concept art and paintings in it." (Methinks I shall be looking for this Art of WALL-E at the library...)

It's the blog entry that really captured my fancy, though, because in it Irene Gallo presents some images from old covers of F&SF by Mel Hunter and wonders about Hunter's influence on some of the film's designs. Great fun! And I'd never discovered Gallo's blog before, so am happy now to add it to the ever-growing blogroll.

[And what did I think of the film, you ask? It's charming, wonderfully made, particularly magnificent in the first 40 minutes or so, and I agree with Richard and everybody else who has said the last part is stupid, even for a kids' movie. The filmmakers followed the logic of their politics, not the logic of the world they had created -- what would make sense would be for all of the not-quite-right robots to return to Earth, which is a perfectly good and perhaps even paradisaical environment for them, and leave the humans to their spaceship, which is a paradisaical environment for them. The humans give up the utopia they have evolved into and trade it for an agricultural task far beyond their capacity. There is nothing inherently wrong with either world -- they just seem horrifying to us because we privilege our own way of living and our own prejudices about what is and isn't right and good above others, but the spaceship has solved the problem of human happiness (even if it has diminished human free will) and the Earth would be a marvelous playground for the robots, who can withstand its environment. The humans, who cannot withstand its environment without a lot of suffering, trade universal happiness for what is likely to be centuries of toil and misery. There can be no sequel to WALL-E, at least not one that is anything other than a fairy tale, because it would be more brutal than When the Wind Blows.]