Tear Down The Wall!
Pink Floyd’s conceptual album The Wall may have received mixed reviews from critics – one even saying, “I’m not sure whether it’s brilliant or terrible, but I find it utterly compelling” – but it has remained a favorite for many fans, at least those who happily accepted Roger Waters over Sid Barret, but I digress – it’s a neat album. Then when the movie was released three years later…it also received mixed reviews, only this time, many hardcore Floyd fans weren’t digging it, especially due to preconceived notions about the album – which is understandable, like when a favorite book is adapted. The odd thing is, the album was originally written with the intent of being a film. Personally, I find The Wall to be a fairly under appreciated work.
I realize that I’m a little biased because I really dig the album, or maybe because I adore all kinds of weird animation, so I’ll really try to ignore these things…or at least for a little while.
For now let’s focus on the story, which is about a young man named Pink and his complete psychological break. Normally this sort of thing would be fairly uneventful, but when you throw in the fact that Pink’s a rock star who realizes the potential of his power over his followers. And of course there’s some Oedipal things going on with the early death of his father in the war and then his overbearing mother and cheating wife – it’s all very dynamic.
I say there’s no better fodder for a rock epic.
Pink’s story is told completely through Pink Floyd melodies, accompanied by strong audible and visual metaphors. Granted some of the imagery is fairly repetitive, practically beating you over the head with some things (yes, I get it, your daddy’s dead Roger!), but overall I think the repetition is fairly effective in driving the point home on Pink’s isolation and desire for control.
Okay, here comes the fun part – animation! You have to admit, the most memorable parts of this film are the animated sequences. This one, without a doubt is my favorite, in which Pink’s lavish lifestyle collides with a damaged psyche, building his isolation higher and higher:
I was kind of upset that “What Shall We Do Now?” wasn’t on the album after I saw this (I owned the album before seeing the film, by the way). Anywhoo, the animation is incredible, combining the beautiful with the grotesque with hardly any effort. I kind of wish the whole thing was animated to be honest – someone contact Gerald Scarfe and get him and Roger on this.
In retrospect, it seems for me The Wall is a complete guilty pleasure: good music, gorgeous animation, and strong metaphors. Even if it is a complete guilty pleasure, I think it’s still worth a gander in one way or another if you haven’t already taken a peek.