(2008/Blu-ray 3-Disc Set/Disney-Pixar)
B+ Sound: A- Extras: B Animated Feature: B
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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