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Blu-ray Review: WALL-E 3-Disc Special Edition

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WALL·E is a triumph of animation. If you would’ve told me even a year ago that Pixar would put out a cartoon that didn’t have any dialogue for the first act, and the kids will still love it, I would’ve said you’re crazy. But, that’s WALL·E. It’s a magical film that touches our deepest emotions. When children, who nowadays are blasted with terrible fart/poop joke cartoons, can turn on WALL·E and be transfixed by the simple Charlie Chaplin-like character, that’s true magic.

The Show

For the scant few who haven’t seen WALL·E, let me explain a little.

Humans have left Earth because it has become a dump, literally. Trash is everywhere. Humans have escaped on giant starliners (cruise ships in space) to wait out the clean-up. Robots have taken over and are diligently cleaning up the planet while the humans are away. But years pass, and only one little trash compacting robot is left.

WALL·E rides around compacting trash into little cubes and stacking them, as he was programmed to do. He is also curious. He keeps interesting things that he finds while doing his job, like Zippo lighters, rubber duckies, hubcaps, and even spare parts for himself. Oh, and he adores the musical Hello Dolly.

Without giving away too much of the plot, WALL·E soon finds himself on an adventure, traveling to one of the faraway starliners containing the humans. His actions could have an enormous impact on Earth and the human race. A little robot with the fate of the world in his hands, it’s quite a touching story.

The Quality

The film is presented in its original 2.39:1 widescreen ratio, and in 1080p high definition. Pixar’s films look great on DVD no matter what, but on Blu-ray WALL·E is a whole new adventure. Take for example the cityscape at the beginning of the movie. The buildings and neatly stacked piles of trash are seamlessly brilliant. They look real. You can even see the faintest fluttering paper in the background. The high definition makes every tiny detail appear crystal clear.

The Special Features

Disc One

There are two commentary tracks that can be listened to during the film. The first is called "Cine-Explore," which is director Andrew Stanton talking about the film. While a lot of the information is extremely interesting and informative it’s hard not to begin to feel bored, especially with just the one person talking.

The other commentary is called "Geek Track: Trash Talk & Trivia," in which silhouetted figures sitting at the bottom of the frame, Mystery Science Theater-style, comment and joke about the show. I get the feeling that this little extra was thrown in just for the adults, because some of the jokes are a little irreverent.

“BURN·E” is the brand new short that is included on both the Blu-ray and DVD versions. This is a cute and hilarious short about the poor robot that gets locked out of the ship when WALL·E and EVE fly through his door. Apparently WALL·E’s actions have directly influenced BURN·E’s work schedule. The short has no dialogue, but that doesn’t stop Pixar from creating another lovable character in a few minutes. Watch “BURN·E” after you’ve watched the full movie, as there are some inside jokes that you won’t get.

Just like every other Pixar release, this one contains the short that was shown in theaters before the movie, “Presto.” This is by far my favorite Pixar short. The high definition really shines through again when the magician is falling from the ceiling and the camera pans back to get the whole scene in. Every tiny detail of the audience and performance hall is brought to crystal clear clarity.

“BD-Live” is also on this disc. You need a compatible Blu-ray player. With this technology you can chat to people around the world as they watch the movie. You can also participate in activities that can earn you Disney Movie Rewards (I just cashed mine in for the Wall-e poster).

Disc Two

There are two sections to disc two. You can either choose “Robots” or “Humans.” “Robots” is more for the younger viewers as it contains the games. “Humans” is for the older fans.

“Robots” has a section called the “Axiom Arcade.” There are four games exclusive to the Blu-ray release. Each game focuses on a character from the movie. There’s "EVE's Bot Blaster," "WALL·E's Dodge & Dock," "M-O's Mop-Up Madness," and "BURN·E's Break Through." Each game is controlled with the remote. The most enjoyable out of the bunch is "M-O's Mop-Up Madness." It’s made to look like the old Nintendo graphics, like the ones that run during the credits of the movie. You have to maneuver M-O trying the clean up all of WALL·E’s dirty tracks all the while avoiding the steward bots. It’s highly addictive, just a warning.

“WALL·E’s Treasures and Trinkets” is the best part about this section. It’s a continuous flurry of short films featuring WALL·E playing with different objects like a Hula-Hoop. Most of the shorts are very funny. They only last a few seconds, but you’ll remember them forever.

The “Humans” section has a plethora of information about the film. There are 3-D fly-throughs of each set, which look great in high definition. Seeing the Axiom empty with all of its holographic ads gave me flashbacks of Total Recall (weird, I know).

“Deleted Scenes” is particularly interesting because each scene is prefaced by Andrew Stanton. He explains how he felt about the scene, and why it was cut. I found the alternate garbage bay scene very interesting. They had originally switched the roles of WALL·E and EVE.

“Behind the Scenes” is an exhaustive collection of short documentaries talking about certain aspects of the movie. "The Imperfect Lens: Creating the Look of WALL·E" dealt with how Pixar wanted to make the film look real. So they used movements to mimic camera focusing and jostling. This type of camera work is especially noticeable in the first act. There are numerous times where the camera turns and focuses like a live action camera would.

"Animation Sound Design: Building Worlds from the Sound Up" looks at how the sounds of Wall-e were born. I never knew so much went into sound design. Years were spent just getting the sounds of WALL·E and EVE right.

"Captain's Log: The Evolution of Humans" is by far the best behind the scenes feature. Here we learn that before the humans in WALL·E were actually human, they were first green blobs of goo. The plan when WALL·E was first conceived was to devolve humans so much that they were intelligible blobs. Obviously the filmmakers didn’t go with this idea, but those green globs look oddly like the ones found in the short before Ratatouille called “Lifted.” They never come out and say it, but I think they used the characters in that because they spent so much time on them they needed to use them somewhere.

Ending Thoughts

When I first saw this film it touched me. I’ve seen it about six times now, and each and every time I’m fascinated by the amount of emotion a little robot can show. WALL·E should be nominated for best actor as far as I’m concerned.

Pixar has the uncanny ability to take a story and make it something that sticks with us forever. They have bridged the adult/child gap with every film they’ve made, and here it’s no different. WALL·E is universally loved by kids and adults. It is a movie that deserves to belong in everyone’s home movie collection. Oh, and did I mention the high definition presentation of WALL·E is out of this world, literally?

This set contains anything and everything a fan could want, and it’ll keep you and your family entertained for years to come. At least until we have to leave Earth, but even then you’ll still be able to take it with you.

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