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STUDIO: Walt Disney Video
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
“Burn-E” Animated Short
“Presto” Animated Short
Sneak Peak: Wall-E’s Tour of the Universe
“Animation Sound Design: Building Worlds from the Sound Up”
Audio Commentary with Director Andrew Stanton
“The Pixar Story” Documentary
“WALL-E’s Treasures and Trinkets”
“Lots of Bots” Storybook
“Making Of” Featurettes
A robot stalks another robot in the name of environmentalism.
Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard and MacInTalk
Pixar enters into new territory with Wall-E. Mixing some live-action footage with the social commentary of 70s Sci-Fi, the House that Lasseter built offers up a new voice. It’s a voice that isn’t marked by runaway zoo animals, sarcastic donkeys or overweight pandas learning to rely upon themselves. The film dares to do what very few works of American Animation have attempted in the last few decades. Wall-E wants you to think about its world.
Wall-E is a tiny maintenance robot that toils away in the garbage piles of a former American metropolis. Finding random scraps, the little robot tries to piece together an existence in the dusty wasteland. The little guy watches Hello, Dolly on a loop, as he tries to learn about the humans that left Earth so long ago. Everything is the status quo, until a sleek robot lands upon the planet. Wall-E is smitten, as he follows the I-Pod with an attitude around the City Ruins.
Wall-E enters into its troublesome second act, after the sleek robot’s mission is discovered. The robot EVE has been sent to Earth to try and retrieve an environmental sample. Once she discovers a thriving plant specimen, a ship is sent to fetch her. Wall-E hitches a ride back to the floating human ark in space. Does the little guy give a shit about the last scions of humanity?
No! Wall-E wants to find EVE and dance with her. The fat baby captain discovers what EVE found and a standard battle of man vs. technology happens. But, Wall-E never becomes the savior of humanity that he should’ve been. Wall-E keeps his concern for the sleek EVE at the cost of his own health. Faster than you can say Johnny-5, we get the typical third act.
Wall-E has been riding this buzz train since its June debut. Several months after release, I could put some distance between the initial love of the film. It has some major second act problems that border on the repetitive commonplace tropes that really don’t belong in a progressive film. Talking with an animator friend of mine, we came to a common point. The film would’ve worked so much better without the humans.
The push to have some sort of resolution for humanity drags the film out of legendary territory into a pretty good also-ran. When you look at the quick live-action clips of Fred Willard providing a back story for humanity’s Earthbound collapse, there’s something missing. There needs to be a sense of sadness, a sense that we’ve lost something that can never be re-obtained. By providing the chance to rebuild Earth for a fat race that besmirched it, the Robots lose their power. This is the story of Wall-E and EVE. By forcing the humans in space element, the weight of the dystopian future doesn’t seem that heavy.
DVD has a pretty strong transfer with no audio dropout. The bulk of the special features are kept on the second disc. It’s a smart move on Pixar’s part, as they’ve come to pioneer higher bit-rates for standard and high-definition discs. The animated shorts for Burn-E and Presto are included in the set for those that love to watch the Pixar shorts. Plus, you get a ton of behind-the-scenes material and commentary from Andrew Stanton.
The digital copy is included on the third disc which is housed rather awkwardly in this bio-friendly case. The less said the better about this hippie manufactured case that you could snap in half with your bare hands. But, let me step away from that horrible packaging issue and focus on the biggie. The Pixar Story has been included in all of its glory. Leslie Iwerks uses her immense talent to produce a 90-minute look at the powerhouse studio from their time at ILM to the present day. I could spend another review going on and on about this documentary, but I’ll save that for another time. Hopefully, you’ve already bought a copy by now. If you haven’t, maybe Santa will bring you one.