Now on DVD, 'WALL-E' remains best film of 2008
I became a fan of "WALL-E" long before the movie even hit theaters. It happened at the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con. I was attending the Disney roundtables, and I sat right next to Andrew Stanton, who was prepared to talk about the footage that was presented for his new film.
I had seen the early trailers for "WALL-E" ahead of "Ratatouille" that summer, but I didn't take much notice.
It was Andrew Stanton who turned me around.
One of the early questions was posed by a snooty journalist: "Was it hard to make a movie about a robot that doesn't talk?"
Stanton looked across the table at this man, and he said, with the utmost seriousness, "Oh, he talks. He just doesn't speak English."
It wasn't just Stanton's answer to the question that impressed me. It was his passion for the project. He wasn't making a movie about a robot. He was making a movie about a creature with a real soul.
Many people -- Stanton included -- have joked about "WALL-E" being something along the lines of "R2-D2: The Movie." And to a degree, they're right. After all, R2-D2 is one of the most loveable and endearing characters of the "Star Wars" saga. And even though the entire six-part series belonged to Luke, Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi, it's R2-D2 that really captured our imagination.
I grew up with "Star Wars," and while "WALL-E" is not part of that universe, it holds that same wonder for me. The story is simple: A lonely robot falls in love. The adventure is epic, and the vision of the film is amazing. In a time of political films, Oscar-clip moments and long-winded non-epics, this loveable robot has become the centerpiece in what is easily the best film of 2008.
Now, he's ready to come home on DVD. Disney has released the movie in a 3-disc special edition, complete with a disc devoted to a Digital Copy of the film.
Everything about this movie is fascinating. The characters are more rich and deserving than anything else I've seen this year... even if they are made of metal. The film even manages to make a cockroach cute.
The animation is beyond brilliant. Especially in the first half, when there are no human characters to speak of, you literally lose sight of the fact that everything you see has been created in a computer. Even when the humans show up as WALL-E and EVE are whisked away on a spaceship, they seem to be cartoons in a real world.
I cannot utter a word about "WALL-E" without gushing over the film. It's as perfect as a love story can get. And even against the amazing quality in the Pixar pedigree, it still manages to rise to the top as one of their best films to date.
And the DVD is just as good as anything Pixar has given us. The feature disc includes a hilarious new short, "BURN-E," focusing on the frustrating life of another robot on the ship. There's also the original vintage-inspired short film "Presto," which ran ahead of "WALL-E" in theaters this summer. Other features include a commentary with Stanton, a few deleted scenes with introductions by Stanton, a sneak peek of "WALL-E's Tour of the Universe," a spotlight on the sound design of animation and the genius of Ben Burtt.
The second disc includes the feature-length documentary, "The Pixar Story," which chronicles the rise to greatness of this animation house. It's a faithful telling of the story, including the tumultuous ride -- and eventual happy ending -- the Pixar family had with the Walt Disney Company.
There are also additional deleted scenes, a slate of cute advertisements for the film features WALL-E's slapstick antics, several BnL shorts that focus on the background of this fake corporation, the story of the other robots in the film and several behind-the-scenes featurettes.
"WALL-E" is a treat, one of the best films in years. Do yourself -- and your kids a favor -- and pick this one up for a gift... or just because.
Kevin Carr is an independent writer, journalist and filmmaker who lives in Columbus, Ohio.