Waking Life

Waking Life

4.5 13
Director: Richard Linklater

Cast: Richard Linklater, Wiley Wiggins, Lorelei Linklater, Trevor Jack Brooks

Life and animation come together in director Richard Linklater's groundbreaking Waking Life. Fox's work on this 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is excellent. Sporting vivid colors and solid black levels, this animated tour de force is nearly reference quality with only the slightest amount of edge enhancement in a few key scenes. The audio is


Life and animation come together in director Richard Linklater's groundbreaking Waking Life. Fox's work on this 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is excellent. Sporting vivid colors and solid black levels, this animated tour de force is nearly reference quality with only the slightest amount of edge enhancement in a few key scenes. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English as well as Dolby 2.0 Stereo in Spanish. The Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is very subtle and effective without being overwhelming. Directional effects are utilized in both the front and rear speakers for maximum effects. Overall both the audio and video portions of this disc are very well done. No subtitles are available on this disc. The extra features on this disc are more than plentiful, starting with three commentary tracks, one by various filmmakers, another by what seems to be a dozen animators, and a third in text written by Linklater. Taken as a whole, all three of these commentary tracks provide the viewer with crucial information on the production of the film, the animation, and how the story came to be. A 20-minute tutorial by Bob Sabiston offers the viewer a walk though on the animation software used in the film. "Snack and Drink" and "First Pass: Bob and Rick's Animation Test" are quick shorts on the animation techniques utilized in the film. Finally there is a very short four-minute featurette on the making of the film, an "Animation Scrap Heap," which is a collection of clips that represent alternate versions, tests, and deleted scenes, a 12-minute montage, biographies, and a theatrical trailer for the film and the Goldie Hawn/Susan Sarandon movie,The Banger Sisters.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
Visual flair and deep thoughts distinguish Richard Linklater's hypnotic animated film Waking Life. More of an elaborative concept than a story, the film follows a young man (Wiley Wiggins) as he drifts from conversation to conversation with a series of eccentrically brilliant characters, all the while never sure whether he's awake or dreaming. This surreal landscape populated by oddballs and passionate thinkers is very much a reprise of Linklater's breakthrough film, Slacker. But here the proceedings are shot on digital video and subsequently animated using a technique devised by Bob Sabiston, which adds dreamy brilliance to the images and affords each scene a distinctive vision. The eclectic parade of characters includes members of Linklater's family, various offbeat friends and intellectuals, and actors from his previous films (including Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, who reprise their roles from Before Sunrise). Each character's idiosyncratic charm keeps the film's dreamy discourse as lively as its animation, and the outcome is a strikingly original film that is by turns amusing, disconcerting, and mystically provocative. Waking Life is one of two films Linklater shot on digital video in 2001; the second, the chamber drama Tape, stars Hawke, Uma Thurman, and Robert Sean Leonard.
All Movie Guide
Both a homecoming of sorts and a quantum leap forward, Richard Linklater's Waking Life can be taken as a companion piece to his groundbreaking debut feature, Slacker. Centering on the dreamscape rambles of an unnamed protagonist (played by Wiley Wiggins, who also served as one of the film's animators), the movie takes on Slacker's free-form approach, ricocheting from one conversation to the next with just a hint of a narrative. But while Slacker looked very much like the shoestring-budget indie movie that it was, Waking Life is an altogether different experience. Using new animation technology designed by Bob Sabiston, the movie's art director, Waking Life is one of the most visually innovative American films ever made. Linklater used a method that involved filming his actors in digital video; the frames were then painted over by a crew of artists. The resulting look is vibrant and ethereal, like a dreamy moving painting. The talk is dizzyingly flighty as well -- brimming with youthful inquisitiveness, Waking Life is a movie drunk on talk and ideas. Essentially a compendium of Philosophy 101 lectures, the movie's text is all over the place; discussion topics include existentialism, evolution, and film theorist Andre Bazin. Nonetheless, an obsession with dreams and their power to sustain emerges. With its ever-shifting planes and impressionistic figures, the animation is a fitting visual counterpart to Linklater's intellectual meanderings. While the movie falls short of profundity -- the various philosophical musings never quite rise above the level of entertaining mental masturbation -- its exuberance and inventiveness can't be denied.
New York Times - Stephen Holden
So verbally dexterous and visually innovative that you can't absorb it unless you have all your wits about you. And even then, you may want to see it again to enjoy its subtle humor and warm humanity.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

The movie is like a cold shower of bracing, clarifying ideas. We feel cleansed of boredom, indifference, futility and the deadening tyranny of the mundane.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Audio commentary with director Richard Linklater and others; audio commentary with the 25+ animators; text commentary; greatest hits from the live action version; Bob Sabiston's animation software tutorial; deleted live action scenes; selections from Linklater's "audition tapes"; featurette; Sundance Channel special; short films by Sabiston; cast and crew bios; theatrical trailer.

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Wiley Wiggins Voice Only
Lorelei Linklater Voice Only
Trevor Jack Brooks Voice Only
Glover Gill Voice Only
Laura Hicks Voice Only
Ames Asbell Voice Only
Leigh Mahoney Voice Only
Sara Nelson Voice Only
Jeanine Attaway Voice Only
Erik Grostic Voice Only
Bill Wise Voice Only
Kim Krizan Voice Only
Robert C. Solomon Voice Only
Eamonn Healy Voice Only
Ethan Hawke Voice Only
Jan Shakespeare Voice Only
Julie Delpy Voice Only
Charles Gunning Voice Only
David Sosa Voice Only
Alex Jones Voice Only
Otto Hofmann Voice Only
Aklilu Gebrewold Voice Only
Carol Dawson Voice Only
Lisa Moore Voice Only
Steve Fitch Voice Only
Louis Mackey Voice Only
Alex Nixon Voice Only
Violet Nichols Voice Only
Steven Prince Voice Only
Ken Webster Voice Only
Mary McBay Voice Only
Kregg A. Foote Voice Only
Jason T. Hodge Voice Only
Guy Forsyth Voice Only
John Christensen Voice Only
Caveh Zahedi Voice Only
Adam Goldberg Voice Only
David Jewell Voice Only
Nicky Katt Voice Only
E. Jason Liebrecht Voice Only
Brent Green Voice Only
RC Whittaker Voice Only
David Martinez Voice Only
Hymie Samuelson Voice Only
Derry Power Voice Only
Tiana Hux Voice Only
Timothy (Speed) Levitch Voice Only
Steve Brudniak Voice Only
Marta Banda Voice Only
Steven Soderbergh Voice Only
Charles Murdock Voice Only
Louis Black Voice Only
Mona Lee Voice Only
Richard Linklater Voice Only
Edith Mannix Voice Only
Bess Cox Voice Only

Technical Credits
Richard Linklater Director,Cinematographer,Screenwriter
Sandra Adair Editor
Ethan Andrus Sound Mixer
Jason Archer Animator
Paul Beck Animator
Wayne Bell Sound Editor,Sound/Sound Designer
John Bruch Animator
Jean Caffeine Animator
Zoë Charlton Animator
Randy Cole Animator
Kate Dollenmayer Animator
Jennifer Drummond Animator
Rahab El Ewaly Animator
Pat Falconer Animator
Holly Louise Fisher Animator
Glover Gill Score Composer
Dan Gillotte Animator
Tom Hammond Sound/Sound Designer
Nathan Jensen Animator
Caroline Kaplan Executive Producer
Matthew Langland Animator
Michael Layne Animator
Travis C. Lindquist Animator
Lizzie Curry Martinez Casting
Chris Minley Animator
Katy O'Connor Animator
Tom Pallotta Cinematographer,Producer
John Paul Animator
Shannon Pearson Animator
Bryan Pennington Consultant/advisor
Eric Power Animator
Susan Sabiston Animator
Bob Sabiston Animator,Art Director
Katie Salen Animator
Bobby Sargent Stunts
Jeffrey Schwan Stunts
Jonathan Sehring Executive Producer
John Sloss Executive Producer
Jonah Smith Producer
Divya Srinivasan Animator
Patrick Thornton Animator
Tosca Tango Orchestra Score Composer
Penny Van Horn Animator
Mary Varn Animator
Anne Walker-McBay Producer
Rosie Q. Weaver Animator
Palmer West Producer
Wiley Wiggins Animator
Constance Wood Animator

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Dream Is Destiny [4:43]
2. Anchors Aweigh [4:18]
3. Life Lessons [7:33]
4. Alienation [4:26]
5. Death and Reality [6:22]
6. Free Will and Physics [7:47]
7. The Aging Paradox [1:50]
8. Noise & Silence [3:18]
9. What's the Story? [5:57]
10. Dreams [6:19]
11. The Holy Moment [5:48]
12. Society Is Fraud [2:30]
13. Dreamers [2:41]
14. Ants [6:59]
15. We Are the Authors [3:09]
16. Meet Yourself [7:26]
17. Performance [7:51]
18. Trapped in a Dream [2:50]
19. Wake Up! [2:17]
20. End Credits [5:10]


Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Waking Life 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film is a great way to spend a couple hours and then feel really great and inspired for the rest of the day. It¿s about the meaning of life. But not in a hokey way. It doesn¿t answer any questions or anything. It encourages you to open your mind to a range of possibilities. The movie centers around this main character who basically goes around having deep conversations with a bunch of people. For a while he is just listening, and you think he is dreaming some of it. Then he starts talking too. Soon you can¿t figure out if he is dreaming or not, or even if he is alive or not. It is very interesting. On top of that, the film is done in this interesting animation that creates a perfect dreamscape for these conversations to take place in. I would definitely recommend Waking Life to anyone who¿s into philosophy or dreams or figuring out how the world works. I¿ve watched it once, but am very happy to have the DVD b/c I want to watch it at least two more times to see if I can figure out what is going on. The quality of the picture is also great, and there¿s a lot of information about the animation process, in the commentary and also in some extra features.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Waking Life is a call to wake up and pay attention. You have to if you're going to make a bit of sense out of this film. This isn't one you can sleep on¿hence, WAKING in the title. Following in Linklater's ''no plot'' style, this brilliantly animated film takes you from one scene to the next, bombarding you with philosophies from the greats. Need more solid details? The main personality is an unnamed seeker played by Wiley Wiggins (Dazed and Confused, also Linklater), who finds himself trapped in a dream. Each time he thinks he's awakening; and each time his digital alarm clock tells the truth by swaying and swooning to an unreadable tune. Unable to wake himself up, he goes about his day, listening to others talk, meeting random folks and even watching TV. Each time he awakens he is washed in relief, only to find out that he is having yet another false awakening. It's a lucid experience that never ends. But it's not without its holy moments. It may not have sex scenes (unless you count a romantic moment with a stranger), or gory violence (unless you count the man who set himself on fire) and it may not be packed with action (unless you think sleeping, walking and listening are thrilling actions), but it does take you on a wild imagery ride and leave you with a feeling that there is more to life, not to mention more to dreams, than meets the eye. If you're not into philosophy and don't want to have to think to enjoy your entertainment, I still suggest seeing this film, if not for its imagery alone. The colors vibrate with movement. Dreamy symbolic images swirl in the background, giving it a trippy, other-worldly feel. Waking Life has a style all its own¿setting it apart from any other animated endeavor and sure to make it a cult classic. All in all, Waking Life is not for everyone. It is for those who seek to know themselves and the world around them. It is for those who strive to live life awake. It is for those who love art.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was so surprised at the intellectual content of this movie that I had to watch it again to absorb what was said. The animation is so bright and electric that you have to make an effort to focus on the dialogue. Some violence is in the movie which caught me off guard but it was necessary in order to cover everyone's philosophy. If you don't like to think while you're watching a movie, than this is not for you. But if you're looking for something totally different than you've ever seen before, that jolts your attention and expands your mind, this is for you!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Waking Life has to be one of the more profound films I have watched, and I like to think I've watched many films. It takes the viewer far away from the realm of conventional cinema and immerses them in a world of eccentricity and genius, surrounds them with characters that only grace the screen for a few moments to deliver a poignant, insightful thought, and then they vanish. There is a story here, but the story does not begin to solidify until almost two thirds of the way through the film- but it's importance compared to the rest of the content of the film is shadowed. A Brilliant film, I'd recommend it for anyone, especially those of you who are becomming jaded with the usual gang of idiots. ;)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Waking Life is a really good movie! It's artsy animation that's quasi-intelligent. Watching it I got to see the kind of professors I've always dreamed of - energetic, intense, actually interested in the material. Except for the first scene, the animation blends into the art - I mean the kind of art you'd see in a museum without the vulgarity of stillness - and, like the Disney movie Fantasia, creates perspective based on how we see/interpret. One note, though: there's one graphic scene in which the guy in the bar shoots the barkeep and the barkeep shoots back. (Waking Life's for adults, not kids.) It's just a really good movie, and I'm very critical about movies generally. This one, though - really good! (If only college could be like that.) :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I accidentally stumbled upon this movie on cable and I absolutely adored it, and knew I had to own it! If you are the type who likes books or movies that provoke your thoughts or change your way of thinking, this is perfect for you. After watching it I knew I would never look at human existence the same way again. Watching this movie requires you to do some thinking on your own as you watch. It will introduce you to new ideas and get your brain going. The philosophies discussed in this movie are really very profound and enlightening, all set to a beautiful soundtrack and an unusual style of animation that is both realistic and surreal at the same time. If you are a ''thinker,'' you will LOVE this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the movie was by far the best cartoon/animation movie I have ever seen on film. The night I rented the movie I watched it like three times in a row! The movie has great philosophies to be heard and recieted! Waking Life is a total must-see movie if you want to experience a great movie!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie will put you to sleep, because you just cant wait to ineract with your subconcious. This movie is one of the best i have ever seen. Not only can you relate, but you can experience new things and you can understand the depth of a dream. The animation was outstanding and yet their was so much variety to the animation. This movie will have you thinking, realizing, and experimenting. This is one of those rare films that should not go unoticed. This movie should definatly have more publicity. This movie should not be watched if your not in tune with yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago