Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Wall-E at SDCC

First off, I should probably reference this article for you guys again in case you haven't read up on Wall-E's plot.

Secondly, check out Buy N Large, a tie-in site about the company who makes the wall-e robots.

I got the chance to see the presentation at the SDCC today on Wall-E. It featured Ben Burtt and Andrew Stanton. No pictures were allowed (sorry guys!)

Basically, the presentation started off with a revised pixar intro, where luxo enters and does everything like normal, but Luxo's lamp breaks when stomping on the I. Wall-e comes in midway through, replaces the lightbulb, and tries to roll of screen, but knocks over the r in the logo, so he stops and tries to hide (and when he hides he turns into just a plain box) and sticks his arms out to form the r, and it fades out...

Andrew Stanton then went headlong into the story of Wall-E. He states that the main idea brought out of the lunch featured in the original teaser was just a seed, which was "what if humans left earth and forgot to turn the last robot off?"

Stanton went on to say that the idea stuck with him and caused him to procrastinate when he was still working on Nemo.

He went on to give out the same basic plot details from the first link (nothing really new here).

Ben Burtt (the legendary sound designer) then went on to talk about how there is no dialogue in the film in a normal sense,showing a great featurette using pastels and digital paintings and sound to evoke the moods that would be felt while watching Wall-E.

Then, using a piano, went on to demonstrate the range of sounds that Wall-E and his wanted companion, EVE, could make. With these same range of sounds they displayed Wall E and Eve both in their own animation scene (unrendered, but very well animated).

To contrast Wall E, who is essentially a cube with binoculars and treads (which can fold up into his body so he's then essentially a cube), EVE is based on circles and ovals - EVE's head is a floating sphere and its body is an upside-down teardrop. Wall-E is rustic and worker class, EVE is sleek, white, and smooth. Stanton said that Wall-E's design was inspired by Luxo, but he didn't feel Luxo's design could hold an audience, so he wanted to play around with eyes, and during a baseball game, saw some binoculars and made it into Wall-e.

Next up was an around-10-minute clip of Wall-E, which was fully rendered. It opened with a downshot of Wall-E on top of a vehicle, sleeping. Some lights come on and the Apple Power On chime sounds as Wall-E wakes up (a funny Mac nerd reference) and starts off towards the heaps and heaps of junk. Wall-E and his vehicle are on top of a broken up freeway near a city, and there is atmosphere and gas everywhere.

Wall-e departs off of his vehicle and we see he is followed around by a cock roach. Wall-e enters the vehicle for a moment and, upon leaving, accidently squishes the roach. It jumps up and cries in surprise, then leans down to see whether or not he killed what is clearly his friend. After a pause, it springs back up, and Wall-e scolds the bug, pointing at it to keep out of his way.

Wall-e then starts his rounds, compacting most junk into squares. But he doesn't do this for everything - he searches the garbage trying to find any trace of anything unusual or interesting. He picks up a ping pong paddle with a string and plays with it (accidently hitting himself in the head repeatedly with it), finds a wedding ring case and throws away the diamond ring, finding the case much more interesting. Everything else, he compacts into a square and piles it neatly in a pile. When lifting through one bunch, he notices a small plant, and crouches down to take a look..

He uproots the plant and places it into a jar very carefully. But as he's doing this, he notices a small red dot that appears on the ground (like a laser pointer dot). The dot dances around and Wall-e follows in pursuit. We see, though, unawares to Wall-E, that the one dot is being trailed by a huge circle of similar dots to the one he's chasing. Then, a space ship comes down right on top of him, shooting its rockets down into the ground. The world is melting around him and Wall-E frantically digs down into the ground to get away from the heat.

We then see a closeup of the molten rocks left behind. After a pause, we see Wall-E poke his hands through the surface, and his head pops up. He looks around, and we see the spaceship unfolding, as it drops down EVE, who is asleep and unmoving. Wall-E rolls up to it, pokes it, and it wakes up, causing him to jump and hide. We then see EVE turn on, and that's the end...

Sorry I couldn't get any pictures. Hope you enjoyed reading that!

[Update] Forgot a few details:

They also introduced a character named Auto who is the auto pilot of the space liner.

Eve is a probe droid that is held together by magnetic fields. She also features a few special functions and and smaller weapons for self-protection purposes.

Then there's the ship captain, a tentacle eyeball-ed character that has a very deep voice, and sounds makes lots of bell and whistles. The captain has lots of prehensile finger digits that orbit around its eye.

Lastly, there was M-O, who is an obliterator droid that rolls around on a track ball. He constantly says "unsanitary" and waves around a vacuum roller.

Also notable is that Wall-E has a laser- between his eyes- that he uses to seperate trash.

It's interesting to see how the characters are being differentiated by their sounds.

Thanks to for reminding me of this.

Check out Aint-it-cool for an alternate description of this as well.

Also updated the pixar intro to better reflect what happened.

[Update 2]

I found some pictures of the concept art that was shown online. There's only three but here they are anyways.

[Another Update] Check out the Audio from the Q&A session at the panel.


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