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I’m sure everyone has heard some reference to the eerie coupling of music and film evidenced by joining Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon with The Wizard of Oz. If you haven’t, let me give you a brief introduction: get Dark Side of the Moon ready on your music player of choice and at the same time spin up The Wizard of Oz on the DVD player. Start playing the album at the third MGM lion’s roar and then sit back and watch how strangely the music seems to line up with the film.
I don’t think for a second that any of it is intentional, but you can’t deny that it is really very interesting. Well, I’ve got another one for you.
A while back I was at a church helping to install their new audio-visual system and something fascinating happened. As we were working on the video system, Wall-E was our test video, projected large over the stage. The sound was muted because the audio guys were busy testing their systems and they happened to have Coldplay’s Rush of Blood to the Head playing. It wasn’t long before a friend stopped me and told me to look at what was happening. The music and the film lined up in such a way that they seemed made for each other. It was amazing.
So that night I bought Wall-E for myself and tried it again…and it’s really pretty cool. For instance, start the music just when the lights go down on the Pixar logo, the camera zooms from somewhere deep in space to focus on the earth and just as the earth comes into view the lyrics begin:
“Look at the earth from outer space
Everyone must find a place”
That song ends as Wall-E comes home and just as he opens the door to his house, the lyrics for In My Place come in:
“In my place, in my place,
Were lines that I couldn’t change,
I was lost, oh yeah”
And so that song about waiting for someone plays as we learn about Wall-E’s loneliness. Anyone else feeling me here?
Sadly, it does break down somewhat after that but it’s kind of creepy how well the song The Scientist fits the imagery just as Eve appears for the first time and its even cooler if you play that song over the final sequence of the film (try starting it at 1:24:30).
Clearly no one planned any of this but it’s a lot of fun to watch and it reinforces my case that Wall-E is a brilliant piece of film art. It’s visual storytelling at its best. None of the meaning of the film is lost by replacing the soundtrack. Try it for yourself. If nothing else it’s an excuse to watch a great movie and listen to some fantastic music.
Pete Peterson is the author of the Revolutionary War adventure The Fiddler’s Gun and its sequel Fiddler’s Green. Among the many strange things he’s been in life are the following: U.S Marine air traffic controller, television editor, art teacher and boatwright at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, and progenitor of the mysterious Budge-Nuzzard. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jennifer, where he's the Executive Director of the Rabbit Room and Managing Editor of Rabbit Room Press.