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Wall-E (3-Disc DVD) | DVD Review

Wall*E is an exquisite example of storytelling prowess, with more charm than a box of puppies.

Equal parts Buster Keaton and 1984 with a dash of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Wall*E is an exquisite example of storytelling prowess, with more charm than a box of puppies.

Director Andrew Stanton’s follow up to the fantastic Finding Nemo, is the tale of a robot, the last of an army of like robots sent to earth to clean up our mess and make it hospitable again, who after years of isolation alone with his pet cockroach, has his hum-drum, repetitive though happy life completely disrupted when a sleek and beautiful (well… in Wall*E`s eyes at least) is sent to earth to search for signs of life.

There is so much going on in this film, leaving one door after another open for lengthy conversation and introspection. Whether it be environmental issues, social devolution or overly mechanized lifestyles. Normally all this would make a film feel too cumbersome and overwrought, but the story that drives it all is perfect in its simplicity and told with such charisma and magic that everything else just blends into it beautifully rendered backgrounds.

The animation is without question or hyperbole the best ever created to date. Jaw-dropping doesn’t quite cover it. You may have to have your jaw surgically replaced.

Stanton deserves a lot of credit for not just having the guts to make what is largely a silent film, but for pulling it off as well. However Ben Burtt (the sound effects genius who created all the sounds for Star Wars and is the reason so many little boys ran around pointing their fingers shouting Ptew-ptew) deserves to have his name right next to Stanton’s on the marquee for his inimitable and brilliant work in bringing this film to life.

Disc 1
Presto – The Pixar Animation Studios original theatrical short that accompanied the WALL•E theatrical release
Pixar’s tradition of attaching an animated short to the front of their theatrical releases is always such a great bonus. Like a little “Thank you, here’s a little something extra.” to the audience for coming out to the show –Presto is probably their best ever. A great bit about a magician and his rabbit that packs a lot of laughs into five minutes and seventeen seconds.

Burn*E, a –blink and you’ll miss him – character from the film, gets a little special treatment in the form of this short. We get a kind of “this is what was going on with this guy while Wall*E was doing his thing. Very funny in its own right, this short feels like that thought that the creators feel in love with but couldn’t incorporate into the film, so they used the DVD as an excuse to bring it to life.

Animation Sound Design: Building Worlds from The Sound Up
This short doc about Ben Burtt extraordinary work on this film is a real treat. Foley and organic sounds creation is a true science-art, and requires a tremendous amount of vision and imagination. Burtt goes into a fair amount of detail as to how the sounds for Wall*E were created, but the really great stuff is in the look back as Disney’s master of Foley Jimmy MacDonald and the incredible instruments that he used to bring so many wonderful projects to life.

Audio Commentary by WALL•E director Andrew Stanton.
The director’s commentary on this disc is exemplary. Andrew Stanton’s love for this project and his satisfaction with how it turned out is clear. There’s barely a moment that goes by where he isn’t excitedly recounting the thinking behind a design element or story choice, always generously sharing the credit with the films creative team, and also taking the opportunity to address questions and accusations about the film being preachy.

Deleted Scenes
Only two scenes here, which don’t really add much to the story and were probably cut for time or pacing issues.

Disc 2
WALL*E’s Treasures & Trinkets

A series of quick clips showing off more of Wall*E’s great physical humor and some of his dance moves (He does the robot).

Lots of Bots

This is supposed to be some sort of story book /interactive game. It’s just abysmal. Even the most hardcore WALL*E crazed child will give up on this in about 3 seconds.

Behind the Scenes – Six exclusive featurettes.
Split up into 6 chapters covering the film’s cinematography, score, characters, design and most interesting, how a single shot is put together. The behind the scenes videos on this disc is a continuation of the exhaustive explanation of how this film was put together and really spreads the credit around to each department, while somehow managing to never get boring.

Buy n Large Shorts
A series of “corporate video” style shorts that provide a little extra back-story about the film’s all encompassing conglomerate. Slightly amusing, though not all that interesting.

The Pixar Story, A Documentary by Leslie Iwerks
This special feature is the gem of this release. This documentary is not just the story of Pixar, but of computer animation as a whole, and in no small part the story of John Lassiter who literally went from sweeping the floors at Disneyland to becoming its chief creative officer. Beyond the fascinating story are the lessons on how they did it. Pixar’s success is no accident. It stems from a collaborative mindset, a desire to continually go further and most importantly a complete removal of ego. Forget film school, this doc should be shown in business school. Terrific.

Disc 3
“DisneyFile” Digital Copy
If your three year old ends up using the disc as a playtoy – then you have a backup. Good for roadtrips.

This is a must own title. The DVD transfer provides a great image and sound, but if you have the means then this is a film that Blu-ray was made for.

Movie rating – 5

Disc Rating – 5

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