I just got back from seeing Wall-E, and I am absolutely awestruck with how amazing the sound design is. Ben Burtt's unique talent of being able to give characters personality through the use of sound is, to say the least, humbling.
I cannot say enough good things about that track. There were so many perfect moments in the film, my brain is swimming trying to recall them all. I hope everyone makes an effort to see it (in a theater). Sound simply doesn't get much better than this.
Thank you to Ben and the rest of the crew for putting so much time and effort into the film. It really does show.
Ben was one of my principal mentors, and he's a towering figure in film sound, one of the most (if not THE most) prodigious talents in the history of our field. His work on Wall-E is wonderful.
All that said, it's crucial to note that he worked on the film for two years before official post production even began. This fact in no way detracts from his or Andrew Stanton's achievement. On the other hand, nobody should delude themselves into thinking work of this quality happens in a typical twelve to eighteen week feature film sound post production schedule. Wall-E was meticulously designed FOR sound.
Andrew and Ben did that together, and it took more than two years of brainstorming, experimenting, crafting, and fine tuning both the image and the sound in order to make them work so well together.
Well, we can only hope more opportunities like this arise for sound in the future. I'm sure most people working in film sound could never even dream of having a schedule like that, but it is nice to realize that, when given that incredible opportunity, the results are easily recognized. It was a real gift to the sound community for them to give Ben the ability to express himself this fully. It's an experience that I hope everyone has a chance to hear in a nice theater.
Wall-E and Happy Feet = best sound design in a CGI animation film, in my opinion. When I saw Happy Feet I was blown away that I had finally heard someone use music effectively in the surround format. Wall-E was a sound effects masterpiece, with lots of memorable sounds, but that was no surprise.
Thread from Sound Article list July 2008
studio360.org interview with Ben Burtt
FimSoundDaily.COM AUDIO INTERVIEW: BEN BURTT
>> Visit Collection of video interviews with Sound Designer Ben Burtt
>> Visit Sound design of Star Wars at FilmSound.org