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.
This has got to be one of the best ideas I’ve heard in some time. And it happened in a church to boot.
I watched the “Dark Side of the Rainbow” thing in college, and was very impressed. I suppose it must be a coincidence, but the parallels are way too eerie. Like Glenda saying the words “wicked witch” while addressing the Munchkins, as David Gilmour sings “which is which” from “Us and Them.” They lined up almost perfectly. Weird.
I’m guessing the Coldplay/Wall-E combination would be a little less creepy. I’ll have to try it out.
By the way, I learned that there’s a word for finding patterns and connections in seemingly disconnected things: apophenia. Our brains are wired to see, hear, recognize patterns, to make connections. I find that really interesting, and believe that God made us that way for a reason.
OK, some people have WAY too much time on their hands!
I guess you could be right Becky. But are you going to tell me that you’ve never noticed the AMAZING coincidences that happen when you start playing the Wiggles “Wiggle Bay” DVD and then start playing the Wiggles “Songs From Wiggle Bay” CD? It’s downright spooky. Right when Greg begins singing “Rolling Down the Sandhills” in the DVD, the Rolling Down The Sandhills song comes on the cd. Not only that, but on the DVD they’re ACTUALLY ROLLING DOWN SANDHILLS!!! You can’t expect me to believe that the Wiggles are smart enough to coordinate that kind of mysterious mystery. It’s a conspiracy at the highest levels of Wiggledome.
Ok, more seriously, I am actually very interested in seeing the Pink Floyd thing someday. And I think you’re dead on about how what you noticed speaks to the visual story in Wall-E. It’s a statement about the genius of Pixar. Speaking of Pixar, I wasn’t that interested in seeing Wall-E at first. But it’s one of my favorites now. I feel the same about the new one. The trailer looks cute, but it hasn’t grabbed my attention fully. I’m sure I’ll change my mind after seeing it.
I’m glad for folks who have too much time on their hands. They point out the things that I breeze right by in my haste.
Just about every time I come out here, I learn something new.
Here’s a wikipedia article on “The Dark Side Of The Rainbow”
Apophenia? Would Psalm 19 be an example? Creation communicating God’s glory to us.
Fun post guys. Thanks.
Well, Aaron, one of the joys of being single and childless is that I have never had to watch The Wiggles over and over and over and over…..However, I agree with you about the awesomeness of Pixar. And I love finding unexpected and unplanned connections. I think the Rabbit Room is a place where apophenia happens every day. Maybe that could be a slogan to put on t-shirts, or bumper stickers, or something.
Dangit, I was reading all these serious thoughts and then almost spit out my coffee when I got to Aaron’s first post! I intend to try the Wall-E/Coldplay pair… you’re right… great excuse to watch it again.
I’m all about apophenia. It crops up at the oddest times (I guess that’s the point). A few years ago I did a simple line drawing effect on a water photo I had taken, and one of my friends almost immediately pointed out that there was now an “angry dog” in the water. It’s kind of funny how he was drawn to it, but now it’s all I see, even when I look at the original.
You have to zoom in, but if you go between the fin and the head on the uppermost fish, and then move straight left, you should encounter it:
I also love meeting (not being introduced to) completely new people for the first time, and then learning that we’ve actually only been one degree away from each other for years. It happens to me, I feel, more often than it should. I’m not sure if that’s apophenia, but I think there should be a word for it.
We used to have “Dark Side of Oz” parties in high school and have it playing in the background. It’s definitely worth seeing. I’ve thought about playing some of it for my music class when we do a music and society unit, to show how music can affect an image. While Dark Side of the Moon lines up perfectly, it also changes the entire tone of the movie.
‘None of the meaning of the film is lost by replacing the soundtrack.”
I tried to play different songs over the scene that La Vie en Rose plays over during Wall-e and it was really interesting to see how each different song gave a new meaning to the sequence of events. For example, I played one of the really intense movements from Pictures at an Exhibition and suddenly Eve’s flirtatious sweep at Wall-E went from being playful to aggressive. Does that Coldplay record change or even influence the meaning of Wall-E’s body language in any way or are you saying it just fits right in?
Another music teacher recommended playing Larryboy’s theme song over the training scene from Rocky.
Supposedly you can play Meddle (another Pink Floyd) over 2001: Space Odyssey and it works in some way, but it is a lesser phenomenon.
Apophenia is the perfect word for how my wife sees Mickey faces everywhere after we have been to Disneyworld. She finds them in a bowl of Cheerios, bubbles from the kitchen sink, the way the plates are accidentally arranged at dinner…it’s a little weird.
“Our brains are wired to see, hear, recognize patterns, to make connections. I find that really interesting, and believe that God made us that way for a reason.”
Sounds like a good word to describe Andrew’s quest to see all the resurrections in everyday life.
Aw man, Pete, now I have to go try this! Of course this means I actually need to buy some Coldplay, but I’d say I’m long overdue.
Apophenia is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I’m pretty sure it’s a key ingredient in the artistic process.
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