Wall•E (2008)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Short Films, Featurettes, Documentaries, Storybook, Games, and more

Pixar Studios are one of the most amazing movie studios on the planet for one single reason. They are practically infallible! Other studios typically have a mixed track record of hits and flops and a LOT of movies somewhere floating in-between. With Pixar, there is no mediocrity, every one of their seven feature films has been an amazing technical achievement pushing the boundaries of computer generated imagery while also delivering some of the best and emotionally engaging storytelling that most directors would simply kill for. Interestingly, in the past I had occasionally the feeling that I would not like a movie when I saw one of their trailers. "Cars" comes to mind right away, as well as "Finding Nemo," yet once I got to see the first few minutes of these films I got so absorbed in the stories and the characters that I completely forgot time and only re-emerged when the movies were over. "Wall•E" fell squarely into that category. I saw the trailers and was not really that excited about the movie. To me, it appeared predictable and somehow uninteresting. However, the past should have taught me that if there's one thing you can count on, it is Pixar's unpredictability. As it turned out, "Wall•E" is clearly ranking among their best movies yet.

The story introduces us to Wall•E a small clean-up droid that has been left behind on earth when all of humankind had moved on to new worlds. He is a busy little droid, he who keeps doing his part in cleaning up the desolate, polluted and dead remains of our home planet. While he does so, he digs up relics from the glorious past of our civilization, only to ponder on occasion his own existence.

One day a spaceship arrives, and with it Eve, female probe that changes his life forever. He falls in love with the shiny white high tech girl and suddenly recognizes the loneliness of his existence. When Eve returns to her home planet, in particular, Wall•E feels the isolation and he begins looking for clues of the past. What happened to mankind? Where did they go? Inspired and energized by Eve's appearance, Wall•E decides that he is destined for more. He prepares to follow in Eve's footsteps and travel to other worlds.

Directed and co-written by Andrew Stanton the film has all Pixar trademarks. Stanton and co-writer Pete Docter have been working together on some of Pixar's best movies, including "Toy Story 2" and "Finding Nemo," and once again they play the full register of their abilities. "Wall•E" is packed with subtle nuances and heavy emotions, it is ripe with social commentary and it has a heartbeat that keeps you interested and absorbed for every single frame. With that in mind the technical achievements of the film almost seem like an afterthought. It has always been one of Pixar's strengths to use technology as a tool to tell good stories and not to allow it to dictate the story. Stanton understands that and while you stare at the screen in wonderment you won't even realize that you've just been captivated by the amazing imagery for a moment.

The film arrives in a 1080p high definition transfer on this Blu-Ray Disc, and as you would expect, it is coming straight from the film's digital masters. The result is an image that is so incredibly sharp and detailed that it is almost mind-boggling. The level of details immaculate and the disc quickly become one of our reference discs in terms of color reproduction, sharpness and detail. PArticularly when it comes to rendering the color shades and gradients, as well as subtle changes in hues, this Blu-Ray presentation puts everything else to shame. It is a showcase reel for the technical capabilities that drive the format. Evidently, this level of quality is only possible with digitally animated movies that have been held entirely in the digital domain and should not be expected for live action features.

The same goes for the audio presentation which comes as a DTS HD Master Lossless Audio track. Reproducing the original master of the film, there is not much to say about it, other than that it is flawless. The film features a dynamic mix that makes incredible use of the surround channels throughout to enhance the experience and often to make things appear larger than life. The DTS track perfectly reproduces this mix and throws you right in the center.

" Wall•E" comes as a 3-disc Blu-Ray release and it is brimming with bonus materials. Of course ,they are all presented in glorious high definition also – only the best is good enough for Pixar – and will give you hours of additional entertainment. The highly touted new shot film "Burn•E" is included, as well as th short film "Presto" which ran to open "Wall•E" in theaters.

Also, look for a commentary track by director Andrew Stanton. Entertaining and informative at the same time. While available as an audio-only commentary, it also makes use of Blu-Ray's picture-in-picture features, allowing you to bring up small additional video feed throughout the commentary that can be toggled on and off at your own discretion.

The disc with the special features is divided into two sections with two different themes – "Humans" and "Robots." Among them are a number of very interesting featurettes and vignettes that give you a very close look at the making of the movie, as well as additional background information on "Wall•E's Trinkets and Treasures." You can see that a lot of the background research materials that was gathered and experimented on during the making of the film is included here, giving viewers an in-depth look at the amount of work and thought that goes into such a project apart form what you end up seeing on the screen. A series of four Deleted Scenes in various stages of completion also belong in that category, of course, All these materials are nicely rounded out by a gallery of images with individual art files for each of the 28 robots that appear in the film.

A small game and a digital copy of the movie for playback on PCs or portable devices is also included.

"Wall•E" is a whopper. It offers so many bonus materials, and all of them in such pristine quality, that it is overwhelming, almost. Most of all however, this Blu-Ray release raises the bar in terms of image and audio quality, making it the perfect showcase disc when friends come over. With Blu-Ray player prices being dramatically slashed as I write this, keep this disc around during the holidays and impress the family. Maybe they will also join the high def bandwagon after witnessing the glory of Pixar's "Wall•E." It is virtually impossible not to be impressed with this release