WALL·E: Special Edition (2008)

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Released 14-Jan-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Menu Animation & Audio
Short Film-3 - Presto, Burn-E & Wall-E's Treasures & Trinkets
Deleted Scenes
Game
Storybook
Featurette-Making Of-Multiple
Audio Commentary-Director
Featurette-The Pixar Story Feature
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 93:26
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Andrew Stanton
Studio
Distributor
Pixar
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Ben Burtt
Elissa Knight
Jeff Garlin
Fred Willard
MacInTalk
John Ratzenberger
Kathy Najimy
Sigourney Weaver
Case ?
RPI ? Music Thomas Newman
Stephen Schaffer
Natalie Lyon


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Greek Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Romanian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Bulgarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Greek
Romanian
Bulgarian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    Can a computer animated robot convey the amount of emotion that is required to sustain what is essentially a romance for the length of a feature film? Up until this film was released I would have probably answered no. However, this film shows what sort of emotional resonance is possible in animation. The character of WALL-E himself conveys and evokes feelings of incredible emotion - joy, sadness, love and fear. The really amazing thing is that this emotion is conveyed without dialogue. He is without doubt one of the greatest characters yet in PIXAR's films which are generally full of great characters.

    While this is the element which makes this film stand out even amongst the PIXAR output, the film also includes incredible animation, wonderful music, great sound design and an excellent story. Some of the animation advances are quite incredible especially the ability to make computer animation look more like movie cinematography than ever before. They use effects to reproduce focus, camera placement and lighting from real films and the production team also took advice and assistance from Roger Deakins, 8-time Oscar nominated Director of Photography. This input is covered in he extras along with Andrew Stanton, director of this film discussing how he strived for a more photographic look. Ben Burtt's sound design is incredible and there is a great extra focused on this.

    The story is set in the future long after Planet Earth became uninhabitable for humans due to pollution. The human race has escaped Earth in space ships provided by the one remaining mega-corporation, Buy'N'Large. The best of these is the Axiom Back on Earth, a large number of small robots have been left to clean up the Earth with a plan to make it re-inhabitable in a short time. Unfortunately, this plan has not really worked and many hundreds of years later the humans are still in space and all the robots have stopped working, with one exception. The one left is WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth Class) who in his loneliness has developed emotions, finding a friendship with a cockroach, joy in exploring and collecting things and developing his love of old musicals especially Hello Dolly. He continues to go about his daily work but seems to be more interested in collecting things for his trailer. One day, however, he finds something quite remarkable, a small plant, growing inside a fridge. He takes this back to his trailer and looks after it. His quiet and lonely existence is disturbed when one day, a large rocket lands and deposits EVE (Extraterrestial Vegetation Evaluator). Her job is to scan the planet looking for signs of vegetation. If she finds any it will trigger the return to Earth of the human race. WALL-E is immediately entranced by her sleek lines and begins to try to form a tentative relationship with her. She, unfortunately, is heavily armed and takes a while to succumb to WALL-E's charm. When he shows her the plant, her programming immediately kicks in and she returns to the Axiom with the plant. WALL-E, however, has fallen in love with her and determines to follow her into space. Will she return his love? Will humanity return to earth? Will WALL-E get the girl?

    This is a great animated film, one of the best few in the PIXAR catalogue, which by definition makes it one of the best ever. Kids love the characters, my young son is obsessed with WALL-E and adults will enjoy the film as well from both a technical and plot perspective. It has been nominated for 6 Oscars, which is a great achievement. It would have to be favourite to win Best Animated Film. My only minor criticism of the film would be that when the humans become more of the focus in the second half, the film is not as good as when it focuses on WALL-E and EVE.

    Highly Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is excellent, about as good as it gets for SD.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was very clear and sharp with only the intended blurring of backgrounds breaking up the clarity. As I mentioned above the filmmakers went out to get a picture which looked more like real photographyrather than animation. There was no evidence of low level noise or grain of any description. The shadow detail was excellent.

    The colour was excellent throughout with no issues to mention.

    I did notice a couple of spots of moire during the film such as at 12:09 on the ramp to WALL-E's trailer and at 15:08 on the power gauge on WALL-E's front. These are very minor indeed.

    There are subtitles in English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Greek, Romanian & Bulgarian. The English ones are clear and easy to read. The commentary also had subs available.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good but unfortunately only at 384 Kb/s.

    This DVD contains five audio options (not including the commentary), an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 384 Kb/s, the same in Greek, Romanian & Bulgarian and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Audio Descriptive soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. The lack of a 448Kb/s soundtrack for a film with Oscar nominated sound design is a shame. Despite being very good I think the track overall lacked some dynamism due to the lower than optimal encoding rate.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync. For much of his film Dialogue is not a big concern but certainly only the buzzes, bings and whirrs of Ben Burtt's marvellous sound design are there in all their glory.

    The score of this film by Thomas Newman is marvellous significantly adding to the film.

    The surround speakers were very well used for the sound elements including WALL-E rolling by, ambient noise such as the windstorm and especially during big action sequences such as the rocket landing.

    The subwoofer was well used during the rocket landing and for adding bass to the score.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This is the best set of extras I have seen for a very long time.

Menu

    The menu design is quite good with motion and sound but I found it a little unexciting.

Disc 1

Presto (5:03)

    This is the short which screened with WALL-E at the cinema. It is extremely funny for adults and children alike. It tells the story of a pay dispute between a magician and his rabbit. One of Pixar's best shorts.

BURN-E (7:18)

    This is another animated short which extends the story of a very minor character from the feature, BURN-E who is a maintenance robot on the Axiom. He is sent outside to fix something at the same time as WALL-E arrives from Earth but unfortunately gets stuck outside. Another funny short which utilises some footage from the feature but then extends it. 2.35:1 16x9 enhanced with 5.1 sound.

Animation Sound Design - Building Worlds from the Sound Up (17:58)

    Excellent featurette about Ben Burtt's marvellous sound design and sue of sound in the film generally. Includes potted history of animated sound design and some tricks of the trade.

Deleted Scenes (9:13)

Commentary - Writer/Director Andrew Stanton

    A high quality commentary which includes lots of interesting information and is told warmly and with good pace and humour. He discusses story elements, whether he was intending to make a 'message' film and other interesting stuff. Give this one a go.

Disc 2

    Two menu options are available, one for humans (which takes you to more adult oriented features) and one for robots (which is more child oriented).

Humans

The Imperfect Lens : Creating the look of WALL-E (13:57)

    Fascinating featurette about the visual effects employed to get a more realistic photographic look that other animated features including focus, lighting, camera placement etc. Roger Deakins role is also explained.

Captain's Log : The Evolution of Humans (7:39)

    Another interesting featurette focusing on the human characters and their development including the fact that early in development they were actually aliens not humans at all.

Notes on a Score (10:16)

    A less interesting featurette about how the director and composer worked together. OK.

Life of a Shot (4:57)

    Deconstructing one shot in the film which reveals the huge number of people involved in each and every shot.

Robo-Everything (5:33)

    Design featurette on the other robots besides the main characters including MO and Auto.

WALL-E and EVE (6:46)

    Design featurette on the main characters including how they designed to to allow for emotion and yet without humanising them too much. Interesting.

BNL Shorts (8:35)

    Five amusing promo films for the BNL corporation featuring Fred Willard.

The Pixar Story by Leslie Iwerks (84:59)

    This is an excellent feature length documentary hidden in amongst all the other stuff. It chronicles the history of Pixar, the three men who started it and the history of computer animation. A great extra which could possibly have been separately released. It covers some of the same ground as a shorter version on the PIXAR Shorts collection release. Watch This!

Deleted Scenes (8:56 or 11:55 with optional intro by Andrew Stanton)

    Two more deleted scenes which are both interesting but incomplete from an animation perspective. One is a completely new scene and the other an older version of a scene in the film.

Robots

WALL-E's Treasure & Trinkets (4:44)

    A very funny collections of short pieces of WALL-E playing with various things including hula hoops, balls etc. Young WALL-E fans will howl with laughter.

Bot Files

    Information screen for 28 different robots each with a voiceover. Great Stuff.

Lots of Bots Storybook

    There are two versions included, a play along or read along version. Read Along is just an animated story, play along has quizzes and games during the story. Another good extra.

   

 

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This 2 disc local release is most closely comparable to the Region 1 3 disc edition. Comparing these two we get the following differences   

    The Region 4 version of this set misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this set misses out on;

    Not much in it from my perspective, so I will call it a draw especially since the local 2-disc release should be cheaper. There are also Blu-ray versions available locally and in the US, along with a local 1 disc version which I would assume is the same as Disc 1 of this version.

Summary

    A great animated film revealing PIXAR working right at the top of their game.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The set has the best set of extras I have seen for some time.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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