Tuesday, November 18, 2008

WALL-E Blu-ray review

He's back! And in gorgeous high definition too! Since I've already reviewed the film, which you can find here, this review will focus mainly on the special features, as well as the quality.

There are a lot of features to this set, and by set I mean two discs. Two Blu-ray discs, at about 25 GB a piece, that's a lot of space to fill. So to help, I've written about each disc separately.
Disc 1
The main attraction here is obviously the film. And while, as you can read in my original review that WALL-E is fabulous in its own right, the high-definition picture made available by the Blu-ray technology is phenomenal. I honestly can't say I've seen anything more beautiful come from my TV screen. And it doesn't stop there; also the movie can be viewed in two other ways, 'Cine-Explore' which plays the movie with commentary by director Andrew Stanton while displaying artwork and drafts of the film via picture-in-picture display. The next mode is 'Geek Talk: Trash Talk & Trivia', this mode has Stanton, as well as three other Pixar elites giving a more fun, less insightful commentary. Not that it's bad, its actually pretty nice, think of it as casual commentary, where as 'Cine-Explore' is more suited towards people in the production field. Both of these commentaries of exclusive to the Blu-ray set.

But that's not all, also on the disc is Presto, the Pixar short that played before WALL-E in theaters, and BURN-E, a new short starring a minor bot in WALL-E. What was cool about BURN-E, at least for me as an animator, is that there's a Blu-ray exclusive picture-in-picture version that allows you to watch the short while the storyboard plays in the corner. There's also an interesting easter-egg of the films nerd humor and it's nerd staff, it was actually pretty insightful. All of this in glorious high-definition. But that's not all, there's also BD Live features! All you need is an internet connection, an easy to create Disney BD Live Network account, and maybe some friends to do the same. With the BD Live features you can have video/text chat with friends as the watch the film, send friends video mail, and play a trivia game with friends or random strangers. It won't knock your socks off, but it's not something a DVD will let you do. And lastly, there are a bunch a trailers to watch ... and this is just the first disc!

Disc 2
This disc is set up in two categories Robots and Humans, so I'll separate it for you here as well. Robots, as you would expect, focus on the robots of the film. Here you'll find a video reel of WALL-E and the other bots playing around with different objects and will probably give you a laugh here or there. There's also a "Lots of Bots" interactive storybook, which is pretty hit or miss in my mind, but is probably great for the kids. Another Blu-ray exclusive, four mini-games, all based on titles like Astroids, Burger Time, and Lunar Lander, featuring the bots in an 8-bit style. They're pretty fun, but nothing to go out your way an play for. There's also a robot gallery of everything you'll find on the Axiom, complete with a profile and 3D model.

Then there's humans, this is the meet of this disc. First off are four deleted scenes, complete with commentary by with Andrew Stanton before and after each one. Next are seven mini behind the scenes videos, each discussing a different aspect of the production process. There's also five BnL shorts, designed as video guides from the conglomerate themselves. Not done yet, there's Blu-ray exclusive 3D fly-throughs of all the sets in the movie; they really immerse you in this world of the movie, and you can really appreciate the hard work that goes into making it so intricate. You though that was it? Oh no, there's an hour and a half long, and very informative documentary, The Pixar Story, which is directed by Leslie Iwerks. And finally, there are a bunch of trailers, from all around the world.

Final Thoughts
Quick note, this review is of the 2-Disc Standard Edition Blu-ray. The three disc set includes a Digital Copy (which is the third disc), so all of the features are the same; it also comes in a cardboard case, and not the standard blue keep-case. As my first Blu-ray purchase, and first time buying a film I saw in theaters (I have issues, ask me about it another time), I have to say I am really pleased. Not only did I love the film when it was in theaters, but now I can love it even more because of the beauty of high-definition; not to mention two discs chock full of features!

Overall Score - 10/10

As if this review weren't long enough, I have to mention that this is the first title to be awarded the VFH Seal of Approval! Why does it get such an award? To sum up the review, this set brings more to this wonderful film than any standard DVD ever could. The high-definition picture and sound, not to mention all of the storage to house a plethora of features, only made possible with Blu-ray technology, makes this a must have addition for anyone's movie collection.

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