The Product: Wall-E (Three-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy and BD Live). It features the movie, obviously, along with enough extra content to keep Wall-E stacking little featurette cubes for years.
The Price: $US40 retail, though it's $US25 at places like Amazon
The Verdict: Our own Adam Frucci already reviewed Wall-E, calling it "one of the best sci-fi movies in years, disguised as a cartoon." And if that's true for the film (which I believe it is), then I'd have to call the Blu-ray version of the film "one of the best art classes in years, disguised as a movie."
I especially enjoyed the featurette on animation sound design. It's about 20 minutes long, and if you have no experience in sound design, then it's an absolute must watch. You get to not only watch famed sound designer Ben Burtt work his magic (Star Wars, Indiana Jones), but see the top secret Disney gadgets dating back to 1937 used to make specific sounds for the film.
My favourite moment was when Burtt say discovers a new way to produce the sound of a storm, and then it cuts to him dragging a punching bag down what's surely a random carpeted hallway of Pixar.
It's one of the few artsy-technical extras that's neither dumbed down nor too insider for the audience to understand. Quite simply, you'll appreciate Wall-E and all sound design more because of it.
But that's such a small part of the extras. Over the course of the 40 minutes or so of well edited technical featurettes alone:
You'll learn that the humans of the film were originally aliens...with a violent streak...who were studied in real world 3D gelatin mode to understand their movement.
You get a glimpse of the manpower that goes in to building a scene, from the guy who animated a D-cup bra sitting on Wall-E's eyes, to the gal who stuck a singular lamp post in the background.
You get to see how the robots were designed, modularly, just like LEGO to increase variety with minimal effort.
If you think I've spoiled it for you, realise that these featurettes have a backdrop of worthwhile interviews and a slew of original concept animation. They're truly an unexpected pleasure to watch and you can also find those above on the DVD version of Wall-E.
And once you're done with the technical stuff, you'll still have a variety of commentaries, annotated deleted scenes, amazing 3D set fly-throughs (one of the great BD-exclusive features pictured here), a clever interactive storybook, a digital copy, the BURN-E short, various other extras and, of course, the film Wall-E itself. I'll honestly say that I've probably seen only half of the set's content and it's still seemed like an excellent media value.
Sure, Wall-E was probably my favourite film of 2008, so it's little surprise that the Blu-ray would be my favourite disc of the year. But it's rare that the public gets such a well edited, worthwhile set of extras to look through. Because, I mean, let's face it. The movie would have been enough.