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'Wall-E' draws design inspiration from Apple

June 25, 2008 | 12:40 pm
Wall-E

Disney can’t resist making those little self-referential jokes in its films, to throw a visual bone to its die-hard fans. In last year’s film, "Enchanted," the characters dine in an Italian restaurant named the Bella Notte, a fleeting reference to the 1955 animated film "Lady and the Tramp."

In "Wall-E," which opens Friday, Pixar Animation Studios indulges in its own bit of homage to its one-time corporate cousin, Apple. (The two companies shared a chief executive, Steve Jobs, until Walt Disney acquired Pixar.)

The character’s love interest (the sleek, rounded, pearly white robot named Eve) looks as if she could be found in an Apple store. Indeed, director Andrew Stanton told Fortune Magazine that he had consulted with Jonathan Ive, the Apple design guru responsible for the futuristic look of the iMac and iPod.

The lovable, animated trash compactor named Wall-E also is an apparent Apple aficionado. In one scene, he rummages through his collection of trash heap treasures and retrieves, what else, an iPod. He even wakes up to the familiar Mac start-up chime when his solar panels are completely charged.

Wags might call this stuff shameless product placement. We think it may be kissing the ring of Jobs, who, in selling Pixar to Disney, became the entertainment giant’s single largest shareholder.

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Image: Pixar Animation Studios

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