Wall-E (Three-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy) (2008)

Actors: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard, MacInTalk
Directors: Andrew Stanton
Format: AC-3, Box set, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
Language: English
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 3
DVD Release Date: November 18, 2008
Run Time: 98 minutes

Special features:

  • BURN-E ? Hilarious, All-New Animated Short
  • Presto ? Amazing Animated Theatrical Short Film
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Animation Sound Design: Building Worlds from the Sound Up
  • Audio Commentary with Director Andrew Stanton
  • The Pixar Story
  • WALL-E's Treasures and Trinkets
  • BnL Shorts
  • Lots of Bots Storybook
  • Making of Featurettes



Watching WALL-E, this year's Pixar offering, for the second time on DVD is even better than the first time around in cinemas.

With no concerns about which direction the plot would take around the meandering mid-section of the movie, one can focus on the sheer artistry of Pixar's latest offering.

The viewer can simply take in the fantastic animation and the sheer skill involved in making the film; how detailed backgrounds and original production designs result in a realistic immersive universe; how expressionistic otherwise expressionless robots can me made to look through sheer movie magic, etc.

The story (unintentionally according to the director's commentary) packs a satirical punch about how our rampant consumerism will one day lead to our very self-destruction. The plot involves a cute trash compactor robot named WALL-E being left behind on Earth to clean up the huge mess we have made of the planet whilst the remainder of humanity is floating around aimlessly in space waiting for the planet to be cleaned up so that they can re-colonize it again.

Our reviewer caused a furor on when he decried Pixar's hypocritical stance on the Green issue. After all, here is a major company wanting us to consume, consume, consume being preachy about consumerism. It probably doesn't help that the animation studio has such close ties to major corporations such as Disney and Apple, two companies that are not exactly above criticism, one for the homogenized way in which it monopolizes the imaginations of our young and the other for selling us overpriced gadgets (come on! how else to describe the i-Pod Nano?).

Whatever one's feelings on the movie's green politics (many critics have it in for the green movement simply because of their killjoy tendencies), the fact remains that taken solely on its artistic merits, WALL-E is a major accomplishment for the Pixar Corporation and a landmark in animation. Pixar just keeps on getting better and WALL-E is proof of that.

THE DISCS: If this had been only a one-disc DVD, then it would have already been a bargain, but a great second disc makes WALL-E a prime contender for DVD of the year ? regardless of genre.

Disc one contains the main feature in a fantastic transfer with a great 5.1 soundtrack. For some reason CG movies just seems so much more suited to a digital format such as DVD or Blu-Ray.

In addition to the movie there are two Pixar GG shorts included. First we have Presto, a Looney Tunes-inspired cartoon about a magician and his hungry rabbit and the high-jinks that ensue in his stage act when he neglects to feed the rabbit. Presto was shown in front of WALL-E with its original theatrical run.

Then there's BURN-E, a new animated short made especially for the DVD release. It is best that you watch BURN-E after having watched WALL-E as the short intertwines as a sort of a side story to the main movie, making BURN-E the Rosencrantz of the robot world. It is a hilariously funny and involves the comic travails of tiny repair bot fleetingly glimpsed in one scene of the movie.

BURN-E on its own is probably worth the purchase of the DVD on its own, but there is still more: some deleted scenes (actually uncompleted, never used, scenes is a more accurate description) and an interesting documentary on the movie's sound by Ben Burtt, who also did the groundbreaking sound designs on the first Star Wars movie all those years ago. There is also an informative audio commentary by director Andrew Stanton.

The menu on the second disc is divided into ?for film geeks? and a ?for families and small kids? sections.

Market research has probably shown by now that only hard-core film fans actually bother checking out the other discs in multiple disc ?special editions? like this, and the contents of this bonus disc is heavily skewed in their favor. (Come on, does your kids ever play any of the games and sing-alongs found on these discs?)

Centerpiece on this second disc is an 80 minutes long documentary on the history of Pixar by Leslie Iwerks. It is reasonably objective as far as this sort of thing go (do you really expect a Hollywood company to put a feature that presents them in a negative light on one of their DVDs?).

Fans of the studio - and who isn't a fan nowadays? - would want to check it out. What would have made the feature perfect though would have been just the slightest mention of what upcoming projects Pixar is working on right now. Stanton for instance is said to be working on an adaptation of Princess of Mars, one of Edgar Rice Burroughs? John Carter books, right now. (Burroughs created Tarzan ? as if you didn't already know that.) There is almost no mention of the flood of CG animated movies by rival studios that Pixar's success triggered. From the feature you wouldn't have guessed that DreamWorks brought out an ant-related project in the same year as A Bug's Life, for example.

The additional deleted scenes also give some insight into the project's origins. In early drafts of the script WALL-E would have led a robot rebellion against gelatinous blob-like creatures in the second half of the movie. Luckily this whole ?robot Spartacus in space? thing was dropped altogether.

The various other making of featurettes found on the second disc is also of interest. Even though you may be tired by now of featurettes on countless other DVDs sporting computer geeks showing stuff on their PC screens, these particular featurettes are still worth checking out. The ?for kids? stuff on the disc are truly for kids and if you have very small children it'd be worth your while to swap discs and show the little 'uns the WALL-E's Treasure and Trinkets short. They will be sure to find it a hoot.



NOTE: This DVD also includes a so-called digital copy which lets you watch the movie on a computer screen or (god forbid!) an i-Pod Nano. Why anyone would want to view a gorgeous-looking movie like WALL-E on such a tiny screen is a complete mystery though . . .


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