H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def discs by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze







WALL•E Three-Disc Special Edition [Blu-ray]


(Andrew Stanton, 2008)




Also available in a 2-disc Blu-ray set:




Review by Gary Tooze


Studio: Walt Disney Studios

Video: Walt Disney Video Home Entertainment



Region 'A'

Time: 1:37:25

Chapters: 32

Feature film disc size: 22.21 Gig

Two dual-layered Blu-rays and one digital copy with activation code

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 18th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Resolution: 1080p


English: DTS HD Master 5.1

Feature: English (SDH) and none


Presto Animated Short (5:15)

Burn-E: All-new animated short (7:35 - HD!)

Burn-E with Boards - picture-in-picture (BD Exclusive)

Sneak Peeks

Disc 2

The Pixar Story by Leslie Iwerks (1:28:20 - in HD!- 13 Gig!)

Geek-o-Rama (4:48 - HD!)

Notes on a Score (10:40 - HD!)
Cine-Explor with director Andrew Stanton (BD Exclusive)
Axoim Arcade: retro suite of videogames with a twist (BD Exclusive)
Geek Track (BD Exclusive)
BD-Live Network (BD Exclusive)
Presto Animated Short (5:15)
Deleted Scenes
Sneak Peek: Wall-E's Tour of the Universe
Animated Sound Design - Building Worlds from the Sound Up (18:43 - in HD! - 2 Gig)
Additional Deleted Scenes
Wall-E's Treasures and Trinkets
BnL Shorts - Amusing peek into the inner workings of the Buy n Large Corporation
Lots of Bots Storybook
Making of Featurette

• An HD preview of next year's release of Pinocchio is included that is absolutely sock-dropping.

Digital Copy with activation code

Product Description: The highly acclaimed director of FINDING NEMO and the creative storytellers behind CARS and RATATOUILLE transport you to a galaxy not so far away for a new cosmic comedy adventure about a determined robot named WALL-E. After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for, the curious and lovable WALL-E discovers a new purpose in life when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. Join them and a hilarious cast of characters on a fantastic journey across the universe. Transport yourself to a fascinating new world with Disney-Pixar's latest adventure, now even more astonishing on DVD and loaded with bonus features, including the exclusive animated short film BURN-E. WALL•E is a film your family will want to enjoy over and over again.




The Film:

I think you'll agree that Pixar is not only the leading American animation studio in purely technical terms, but and this goes some way to explain that assertion it assumes the most mature audience. By "mature" I do not necessary mean "adult." I mean " grown-up" - you know: when a person of just about any age whose head is not stuck in the toilet nor requires that challenges be met across a line drawn in the sand. It also means that character in both senses of the word is as important as the story. This is why Dumbo and Pinocchio are the classics they are, and it is why Wall-E may someday join them.

Just as Ratatouille asked audiences to accept a rat in the kitchen, no less as a heroic figure, Wall-E demands attention without spoken dialogue for well over a half hour. It's a bold move all the more so in that there is no voiceover nursing us along - and this right from the beginning of the film. Not satisfied with such a genre-bending demand on the audience, many of whom would be children, Pixar ups the ante by draining the image of color (the exceptions are zowie) and the audio of speech (not as we know it) for the first Act anyhow. Instead, Andrew Stanton, who had directed Pixar's most colorful movie to date, Finding Nemo, presents a literal garbage heap of textures through which our hero,
WALL•E (that's Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth) sifts his way, relentlessly performing his assigned tasks on a planet that 700 years ago was evacuated, our having used up its resources while simultaneously polluting them.



WALL•E certainly seems entirely too insignificant for the task, especially when placed alongside the piles of compacted trash he carefully arranges as high as skyscrapers. But he does take time off at his retreat where he has collected various memorabilia, including a cockroach and, most fondly, a video of Hello, Dolly that he plays a lot, a lot. Apparently our diminutive mechanical entity has evolved. In his way, Wall-E is more a living creature than the humans now relaxing on some faraway floating island.

One day, in a fit of thunder, Eve arrives. Eve is cool, sleek, perfect, metal, and utterly devoted to her mission to seek out and collect a plant sample, ignoring Wall-E's attempts to get her to respond to his new-found feelings of love, to interact and to protect. As it happens Wall-E has already found what Eve is looking for and it's not sex. And once Eve's automatic systems take over she, the plant, and
WALL•E, who has secretly hitched a ride on her mother ship, is forwarded to one of the floating paradises for analysis and the inevitable political intrigues: It seems that there are those who would prefer humans not return to Earth.

Once on board the Axiom, color, dialogue and plot explodes faster than you can say "industrial waste." It will not be lost on any but the staunchest corporate retiree that too much peace and relaxation can make Jack a dull boy. Like many an animated movie,
WALL•E has a strong, but not preachy moralistic message. And, like other tools as well as humans, it is not the use or the mission, but what one does with the tool or oneself that counts. That's what character is all about.


Leonard Norwitz, DVDBeaver


Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The thing about digital animation is that it is essentially flawless - it should have none of the common deficiencies that we can find when transferring live-action film to high-definition digital - things like edge-enhancement or noise removal manipulation. Haze and blurriness are intentional effects to create the perception of motion. Out-of-focus experiences are simply created to make the true focal object more primary to our vision. By rendering digital animation to Blu-ray we should be able to obtain the highest accuracy of the original, flawless intent. So here we have WALL•E. The smoke-filled planet he resides eventually contrasting with the pristine clarity of space and beyond. I can't really critique the transfer at all - it is perfect. One could only state likes and dislikes with the animation style. Well, I like this more subdued presentation - few flashy colors and heavy on the multi-layered contrast. The contours and shadow depth are brilliant and this is one of the few digital animation images that I have seen that shows true depth that one occasionally sees from live-action on Blu-ray. It borders on breathtaking and the visuals have a pristine quality that impresses over and over. The feature takes up about 22 Gig on a dual-layered disc. You may click on the screen grabs to see the full 1080 resolution.


NOTE: This may be the first time that we can bypass the promos and previews (mercifully fewer this time) simply by hitting "Top Menu" on the remote.



















Audio & Music:  
DTS HD Master 5.1 compliments the image quality perfectly
. There are no other options or DUBs. You are initially given the option in 'Set-up' to "Maximize Your Home Theatre" with some tests built into the Blu-ray. These go from 'aspect ratio' to brightness, contrast, Gamma and audio (akin to the old SD "THX Optimizer"). The film has subtle audio effects that come through discreetly to the Surround system. If your visitors have the patience this is true demo. The mix has some remarkable undertones - not solely relying on the aggressiveness to brandish respect. There are optional subtitles offered in English (SDH) - nothing else.


I haven't gone through each and every extra feature addition yet but I have some observations on a few supplements. I loved the shorts, Presto the magician, Burn-E (of which you are also given the option to see with picture-in-picture storyboards) obviously in HD. I was most impressed with the 1.5 hour The Pixar Story (in HD!) discussing the roots and founders of the organization - it's projects and past successes - really a wonderful tribute to some creative and visionary minds. I glanced through some standard 'Making of...' style featurettes for the animation and music. The 20 minute
Animated Sound Design - Building Worlds from the Sound Up is also very worthwhile and shouldn't be missed - this is also in HD!  There are video games - a pop-up geek-track commentary and many BD-Live bells and whistles. I doubt anyone will be wanting more. In this 3-disc set you also get the digital copy for those who would want to watch on a portal device (are they crazy?).



Disc 2



Bottom line:
One of the best packages of the year on
Blu-ray. Unlike a lot of the fun animation features WALL•E has real depth and is something which gains appreciation upon repeat visitation. The Blu-ray image is immaculate
scaling the heights of this new format. I'm glad it has a special protective coating on the disc because I'll be spinning this again - for my kids and for me... and the neighbors kids... and their parents... and my nieces etc. etc. . It has a universal appeal and I'm whole-heartedly endorsing this Blu-ray as essential to any library.


NOTE: This is the 3-disc version which I am sure is the exact same as the 2-disc only with the digital copy.

Gary Tooze

November 11th, 2008





Also available in a 2-disc Blu-ray set:





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