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DVD Review: WALL∙E (3-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy)

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The robot WALL∙E (a.k.a. Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) lands on home video with an amazing 3-Disc special edition set. The 98-minute feature story, set in 2700, follows this lovable little machine who dutifully cleans up Earth’s mess after environmental catastrophe. So it might be hard to feel emotion for the human characters who now exist on a “cruise ship” called the Axiom. Luckily, WALL∙E evokes more emotion than most human characters as it (or he, depending on how deeply the film gets to you) gets the full home video treatment.

The numerous Pixar/Disney featurettes include various deleted scenes and audio commentary with director/writer Andrew Stanton plus several entertaining shorts on Earth’s current “manager” the Buy n Large (BnL) corporation including entertaining behind-the-scenes peeks at this gigantic corporation. Stanton also hosts the musical “Explore the Universe with WALL∙E” featuring “Symphony No. 3- Scherzo:Allegro Vivace” by Beethoven featuring by Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia.

Pixar mainstay John Ratzenberger and Kathy Najimy voice John and Mary, two important human characters who rethink their situation after encountering WALL∙E while sci-fi mainstay Sigourney Weaver voices the main computer on the Axiom, but this DVD rightfully showcases Ben Burtt’s groundbreaking animation sound design techniques used to make WALL∙E (and M-O) so memorable.

Other featurettes showcase Pixar’s unique technique of mixing live action with created animation. This concept carries over into the extremely detailed settings further strengthened by smooth edits and outstanding sound – vital parts of this film’s great success. Thomas Newman discusses the original music score in “Notes on a Score” and the 15-minute “The Imperfect Lens” showcases a rare session with cinematographer Roger Deakins.

The special BOT files includes WALL∙E’s main interest, EVE (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator), voiced by Elissa Knight, and other robot characters. "Robo-Everything" summarizes the design aspects of the memorable bots while featuring the California Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which bridges audiences to current robot designs and applications.

The memorable animation short "Presto," originally shown before WALL∙E in theaters, is also accompanied by a new short "BURN∙E," which weaves an amusing side story from the main story in the film. The full-length documentary on Pixar and its history, titled The Pixar Story makes an outstanding addition. This documentary was directed by Leslie Iwerks, granddaughter of one of Disney's animation pioneers, Ub Iwerks.

The storybook feature, full of related games and featurettes with WALL-E playing with various items can definitely entertain the kids. The environmentally friendly cardboard packaging helps consumers avoid all that waste seen in the film, (just don’t pull the flaps entirely out), but only holds the first disc by the outside contours (no middle pegs), so it’s probably best to put the discs in a case or something more stable to avoid scratching.

An outstanding, all ages film full of adventure and ideology. The classic musical songs from Hello Dolly! create memorable moments throughout the film, especially in the low dialogue first half when WALL∙E fulfills his duty while filmmakers give audiences an amazing visual feast of Earth’s current state. Be sure to watch the ending credit animations, which show some nice story continuity as Peter Gabriel’s song “Down to Earth” plays. Rated G. This special edition supports Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Surround Sound. Digital copy also included. Blu-ray and widescreen single disc versions also available.

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