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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Science Fiction > Environmental > WALL-E (2008/Blu-ray 3-Disc Set/Disney-Pixar)

WALL-E (2008/Blu-ray 3-Disc Set/Disney-Pixar)

 

Picture: B+     Sound: A-     Extras: B     Animated Feature: B

 

 

As the worldwide leader in computer animation and now a permanent part of Disney, Pixar is in a rare position to take risks and innovate beyond the technological and when I heard WALL-E (2008) would have no dialogue for a long stretch as it opened, it was a promising idea that the story would be told strictly through images for a while.  From Felix The Cat to The Pink Panther, silent stars in animation (even when the films are sound) has been one of its traditions and this terrific new animated feature understands that.

 

The title character (eventually voiced by Ben Burtt) finds himself (yes, male gender is implied early) going through a daily task of compacting garbage and stacking it.  However, he is doing this in the middle of a desecrated business mall area that has no people and where little of the structures and signs that one worked with easy look like they have been bombarded with dirt.  It is a disaster area, for which he wonders aimlessly, but he still enjoys watching his favorite Musical on VHS tape and has to survive the occasional dirt storm.

 

One day, a spaceship arrives with a round, oval, flying explorer robot we eventually discover is named Eve (voiced by Elissa Knight) who eventually befriends WALL-E after almost zapping him into nonexistence, but she is not there to stay.  When she takes off, he follows her the hard way and the story takes on some wild new twists.

 

Though that is accurate synopsis, that oversimplifies what director Andrew Stanton and his massive team of creative talents deliver visually and in a rich way.  Like the best animation, that makes it easier to get lost into the complexly structured world and makes this another CG milestone for the artform, Disney and Pixar.  Charming, witty, truly funny and even romantic, WALL-E became another huge hit for the studio and there are many who still missed out one of the more original animated features in a while.  Now on Blu-ray, it can be enjoyed with the same fidelity as it was in the theater…  you just need the biggest screen possible, but Blu-ray can handle that too.

 

 

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is a little softer than I remembered for the early sequences where the digital has to simulate the dirt and decay of a near-future earth in ill health, but the color was the same and off of earth, the fidelity simply increases in the outer space/space station sequences.  The use of color is clever all around with both no less than Roger Deakins (A.S.C./B.S.C) and Dennis Muren (A.S.C.) serving as special visual consultants.  That hybrid of talents works better than those familiar with what might seem like different sensibilities adds to the otherworldliness of the somewhat familiar.

 

The DTS HD Master Audio (MA) lossless 5.1 mix is absolutely incredible in its sonics, clarity, range and depth, but that makes the 2 tracks missing here from what would or could be a 7.1 mix all the more noticeable.  This is one of the best DTS MA 5.1 mixes on Blu-ray to date and the sound is very state-of-the-art (even a tad ahead of Kung-Fu Panda) it ways that will make audiophiles recall the best audiophile SA-CD and DVD-Audio releases.  Thomas Newman’s score works very well and the theme “Down To Earth” performed by Peter Gabriel is one of the few really good film songs of the year.  This is a serious demo Blu-ray all serious home theater fans will want and the sound is some of the best work Skywalker Sound has turned out in years.

 

Extras are many on this 3-disc set and include a DVD-ROM especially for Digital Copy of the film.  The Blu-ray exclusive goodies includes BD Live capacities, a new animated short entitled BURN-E With Boards, Cine-Explore feature with the director, pop-up commentary Geek Track, The Axiom Arcade with video games featuring WALL-E and 3-D Set Fly-Through that gives you a new way to see all the locations seen in the feature.  The rest of the extras that also happen to be on DVD include The Pixar Story by Leslie Iwerks, the fun CG animated Pixar short Presto, a making of featurette, “Lots of Bots” Storybook, deleted scenes, Animation Sound Design featurette and a few other surprises we will not spoil.

 

And yes, it may even be a classic, but it more than continues to announce that Disney in full speed back in the creativity and innovation business after some rough times.  WALL-E is a must-see.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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