Waking Life (Rental) (2001)

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Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 96:38
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Richard Linklater

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Wiley Wiggins
Bill Wise
Steven Soderbergh
Julie Delpy
Ethan Hawke
Charles Gunning
Case ?
RPI Rental Music Glover Gill

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Waking Life is a film that examines the relationship between dreams and our conscious reality.

    This film is a collection of events and conversations with different people discussing their views on dreams and human consciousness. The film loosely follows a single individual, the dreamer, who meets a diverse range of people who discuss their views on dreams, reality and life. This individual appears to be trapped in a dream and each time he wakes up he finds himself in another dream. The different scenes in this film are often not connected in any way, as one character states in the film "There's no story. It's just people, gestures, moments. Bits of rapture. Fleeting emotions. In short the greatest stories ever told."

    This film was written and directed by Richard Linklater who was also responsible for SubUrbia and Slacker. The film displays an unusual visual style, with the whole feature animated using rotoscoping. This process is when live action footage is used as the basis for the animation design by drawing over the top of the footage. The result of this process in this film is an interesting style with the characters, foregrounds and backgrounds all slightly moving on their own plains. This image design works very well, but I found in some scenes that I was concentrating more on the different animation designs than the actual film dialogue.

    The lack of a clear story line and plot may be very distracting to many viewers, but if you have enjoyed previous Richard Linklater films or are interested in animation you should take a look at this film.

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is consistently sharp throughout and is always able to reveal the details present in the original animation. No low-level noise was detected at any time during the transfer. During the very small number of dark scenes, excellent levels of shadow detail were always be apparent.

    The colour palette displayed during the transfer utilizes a wide range of colours and these always appear vibrant and well saturated.

    No MPEG artefacts were detected in the transfer.

    A small number of aliasing artefacts may be seen, with examples being seen at 2:23, 4:13, 4:18, 47:25, 66:43 and 80:07. All of these artefacts are very minor and they are never distracting.

    A number of minor film artefacts may be seen for the duration of the opening Fox Searchlight Pictures logo sequence, during the first twenty five seconds of the film. No other film artefacts were noticed at any time during the transfer.

    A set of English subtitles is included for the transfer, presented in a white font. I extensively sampled this stream and found it to be easy to read and consistently accurate.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    A single English Dolby Digital 5.1 384 kbps track is provided on the disc.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times.

    As this is an animated feature, there are the expected obvious problems with audio sync during the soundtrack. No dropouts were detected at any stage during the audio.

    The original score by Glover Gill is performed by the Tosca Tango Orchestra and it is heard only minimally throughout the film, but when used it always suits the on-screen action.

    The surround channels are used only minimally during this heavily dialogue-driven film.

    The subwoofer is used only minimally to support occasional effects and it never draws attention to itself.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Disappointingly, no extras are provided on this rental release.


    The basic non-animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of either 1.78:1 or 1.33:1 depending upon the player setup.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 rental version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

   The lack of extras on this rental release is disappointing but hopefully the retail edition will include the complete set of extras found on the R1 version.


    Waking Life is an interesting film that will appeal to viewers who do not demand a structured story line.

    The excellent video transfer is of reference quality.

    The front focused audio transfer is suitable for this dialogue driven feature.

    No extras are included on this disc.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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Comments (Add)
retail version - wolfgirv