Wall•E, 3-Disc Special Edition, Blu-ray (2008)
Animated feature directed by Andrew Stanton
Studio: Pixar/Disney 058440
Video: 2.39:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9, 1080p HD
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, DD. 2.0; dubbed version in Spanish & French
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, closed captions (Disc 3 English & French only)
Extras: Disc 1: Commentary track by Andrew Stanton, Two animated shorts: “Burn•E ” & “Presto,” Deleted scenes, Sneak Peek at Wall•E’s Tour of the Universe, Animation Sound Design with Ben Burtt. Disc 2 is standard DVD with: “The Pixar Story” by Leslie Iwerks, Additional deleted scenes, Wall•E’s Treasures and Trinkets, BnL Shorts – amusing peak at the Buy n Large Corp., “Lots of Bots” Storybook of games, “Making Of” featurettes, BD Live features, more. Disc 3 is a Digital Copy for mobile video use.
Length: 98 minutes (feature only)
The Pixar folks just can’t seem to go wrong in any animated feature or short they produce. Their features start out with great ideas, developed into good stories, and put on the screen with state-of-the-art animation. They’re perfect family films but there’s always plenty to also retain the attention of the grownups. This time around they’ve come up with a lovable little robot who’s quickly giving R2D2 a lot of competition. Wall•E is the main character in a visionary sci-fi parable full of both humor and heart.
The little robot is stuck on an earth without human population, doing his job of collecting the waste covering the planet, compressing it into small blocks, and stacking it up. He has only his pet, a little cockroach, for company. Mankind took to cruising outer space 700 years ago when earth became unlivable due to waste and pollution. The robots were supposed to clean things up in five years so people could return to earth, but that didn’t quite work out, as Fred Willard as the President explains in a video on the spaceship. (Sigourney Weaver provides the voice of the ship’s computer.)
A sleek search robot named EVE comes to earth to check for any possible living plants, and learns that Wall•E has inadvertently found a living plant among the trinkets that he discovers in the trash and secrets away in his cubbyholes. Wall•E falls for EVE in a big way and when she races back to space to report her findings, he goes along for the ride and joins her in a struggle to let the captain of the huge spaceship know that a growing plant has been found on earth. This means that the human population can finally return. But their efforts run into many challenges. A group of ill-functioning misfit robots help the two out in their quest, with hilarious results. Aboard the spaceship we learn what never walking, moving around in levitating chairs and having all their needs met by robots has done to the human race in 700 years.
It was surprising to find that the surround soundtrack was not either of the new lossless hi-res codecs but just plain old Dolby Digital. The intriguing sound effects (Wall•E and EVE don’t say much except their names) would have come across even better with the enhanced resolution. The many extras are worthwhile, though I hadn’t time to sample all of them. Those in HD are included on the first of the three discs, and those in standard def on Disc 2, which seems to be a good arrangement. The Pixar Story is worth seeing if you haven’t seen it before, and the new short about Burn•E further develops the character of one of the special robot characters on the spaceship. Disney DVDs seem to force you to plough thru more previews than from any other studio – before getting to the film you intended to see.
– John Sunier