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Lovelorn robot back on the job

November 16, 2008|Noel Murray | Murray is a freelance writer.

Wall-E

Walt Disney, $29.99/$39.99; Blu-Ray, $35.99/$40.99

After the Earth is consumed by environmental ruin, one lonely robot remains behind to clean up, and when he inadvertently nurtures new life, mankind plots its return. Within that simple premise, the visionaries at Pixar -- and in particular "Finding Nemo" director Andrew Stanton -- generate some of the funniest silent comedy since the 1920s, alongside a poignant romance, a cautionary tale about human sloth and action sequences as good as anything in the multiplex this past summer.

In short: "Wall-E" is one of the best films of the decade. The double-disc DVD and Blu-Ray rewards collectors with a Stanton commentary and entertaining behind-the-scenes looks and bonus cartoons.

Encounters at the End of the World

Image, $27.98; Blu-Ray, $35.98

Werner Herzog's documentary about the men and women tough enough to work at the South Pole plays more conventionally than his usual work. But Herzog still finds plenty to ponder here about mankind's warring desires for adventure and comfort. The DVD features a commentary, bonus footage of Antarctic life and a second disc with an interview of Herzog by Jonathan Demme.

Tropic Thunder

DreamWorks, $29.98/$34.98; Blu-Ray, $39.99

Writer-director-star Ben Stiller scored a hit earlier this year with this Hollywood spoof, in which he, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. play actors duped into making a war movie in an actual hot zone. Mocking movie-star excess is hardly groundbreaking, but all three leads play off each other well. The DVD features a commentary track and featurettes.

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