remember that part early in the graduate where ben’s father’s friend give ben some friendly business advice?
“just one word: plastic.” seems like he could have said speed instead, but plastic and speed are related. plastic probably works better as a joke. in fact, that plastic line is one of the funniest in the movie (up there with the half-baked joke and the part where benjamin uses a cross as a weapon). it seems like many commentators equate plastic with the phony or artificial, exactly what benjamin is supposedly rebelling against. maybe, but let’s not forget that benjamin’s scuba gear is made mostly of plastics, and it’s enclosed in this plastic bubble, under the water, where benjamin feels the most at home. but i could be wrong about that. but what the movie is clear about is the relation of plastic to water (in both the scuba gear and the just one word joke in that the conversation takes place at the edge of a pool).
benjamin, when explaining why he doesnt want to mingle with any of his parents guests, indicates that he’s worried about the future. he then learns that the future is plastics. so what does this future of plastic look like? unfortunately, like this:
these are dead/decomposing albatross babies. their parents flew out over the ocean looking for food, spotted bright colors, swooped down to pick it up and then regurgitated it for their children. since the child birds were fed on a steady diet of plastic, they died. and now, since plastic doesn’t decompose for quite a while, as the baby bird’s bodies decompose, all that’s left is the food/plastic that killed them.
more pictures from the set can be found here.