' ' Cinema Romantico: WALL-E: My Apparently Unavoidable Aversion to Animation

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

WALL-E: My Apparently Unavoidable Aversion to Animation

I normally do not watch animated films, as you may or may not know. I don't watch them in the theater and I don't watch them at home and if, for some reason, I do watch one it will pretty much always end with me falling asleep about 20 minutes in. It's why despite nearly unanimous praise for Pixar's "WALL-E" this past summer, I still had not viewed it. But the film was turning up on just about every film critic's year-end best-of list and there has even been talk about a darkhorse shot at an Oscar nod for Best Picture and, thus, as a hard-hitting film journalist in my own right I felt it was my duty to see it.

This past Saturday in Chicago was met with a raging blizzard and so rather than trudging through the wind and the snow to the theater I decided to stay in and wait for my netflixed "WALL-E" disc to arrive in the mail. Once it did, I bounded up the stairs, snagged that dazzling red envelope we all love the sight of so much, bounded back down my stairs, placed the disc in the DVD player, switched on the TV, settled onto my couch beneath a warm blanket, kicked up my feet, and with a smile on my face pressed play.

20 minutes later I was sound asleep.

This is not meant as an indictment of the quality of "WALL-E". No doubt this is a brilliant film deserving of all the four star reviews and accolades it has received. My complete inability to watch animated films is no way related to the makers of "WALL-E", or to the makers of any other animated films. I apologize to all of them. This is my cross to bear.

You might think this issue stems from the fact that I'm a hardened, cynical, scotch-drinking 31 year old who has no time for what he arrogantly perceives to be merely "kids" movies. Not true! Not true! This aversion I have to animation has been in place for years and years!

In my twenties I fell asleep during the "Prince of Egypt" and "Tarzan" and "A Bug's Life". During my teens I fell asleep during "Aladdin" and "The Lion King" and "Toy Story". Pre-teen I remember wanting to storm out of the Valley West Mall Theater during showings of "The Care Bears Movie" and "The Sword and the Stone" and just walk the 5 miles back to my home in Waukee because I was so bored. Heck, as a 6 year old I was more taken with the 1938 Errol Flynn version of "Robin Hood" than I was with the Disney version where the fox portrays the scourge of Sherwood. (I knew who Olivia De Havilland was before I knew Bambi's mother died!)

Animated films just don't work for me. They don't, and I don't know why this is. Perhaps there is some therapeutic explanation or perhaps I was outfitted with a chip in my brain at birth that strictly prohibits my enjoyment of animation.

They say you should let the baby listen to music when it's in the mother's womb, right? Well, maybe I'll let my baby listen to taped scenes from Humphrey Bogart movies. My kid may not know "Nemo" from "WALL-E", but Rick Blaine from Fred C. Dobbs? That's another story.


Wretched Genius said...

You should at least give The Incredibles and The Secret of Nihm a shot.

Nick Prigge said...

I've heard "The Incredibles" is great but, you know, it's my whole aversion that kept me away. I think I actually did see "Secret of Nihm" when I was a kid but I don't really remember it.

I should probably also state for the record that I have made it all the way through "Beauty and the Beast" and "Flushed Away" but that I didn't particularly enjoy them. Again, not because they weren't good but because that's just not my nature.

Jacob said...

Ok during your recount of your life in not watching animation I had to think back a bit, because I was there for most of it, and try to remember watching animation with you. I know that we at least watched some after school cartoons. I know that there were afternoons spent with GI Joe, He-Man and the Thunder Cats. Do these not count? Also I realize that it is live action, but come on "Ice Pirates" is pretty much animation, or at least a space cartoon to rival the "Wall-E's" of this world.

Also, 1938 version of Robin Hood before Disney is just sad. I still think the Fox played the role best. Certainly better than Costner.

Nick Prigge said...

Yes, I did watch those. That is true. I watched Saturday morning cartoons, too, I guess. It's just something about the cinema.

Of course, a friend of mine got the old He-Man DVD box set a few years ago and put on an episode and I lasted about two point five minutes. It was AWFUL. Ditto the Transformers DVD set. That was even WORSE. How did we watch those shows?