This is mostly directed at khayman's critique above, but I think his (misguided) opinions reflect some common mistakes about interpreting this work of art.

Waking Life is a very dangerous film to produce. It's also a very dangerous film to review. On one hand, Waking Life is a profoundly original, throught-provoking, well-produced, visually stunning movie. On the other hand, it is extremely easy, while watching it, to get lossed in all the philosophical masturbation going on.

It is crucially important that the viewer realize that there is more going on here than the speculatory ramblings of all the characters. The movie is not preaching, the characters in the movie are preaching, and the difference is one thing that makes this movie so good. One point it's trying to make about this is that philosophical bullshit sessions (PBS?) are very important to us in helping us determine who we are and what our relationship with others is.

It's also important to note that although these discourses can often be accurately described as sophomoric and only suitable for PHL 101 lecture topics, that also isn't the point. Some of the things the characters say are complete bullshit. Some things are unfounded, or illogical, or take references from dubious scientific studies wildly out of context. Some of them are explicit examples of foolish thinking, like the guy in prison or the ranting guy in the car. This does not make the movie bad, any more than the main character's blase "y'know, or somethin'" speech patterns makes the dialogue poor. Much of the content, such as the technological "neo-human" spiel and the moment-as-eternity ideas is so-called "real" philosophy, just not rigorously discussed or proved. These are open philosophical issues. And I think everyone should realize that rigorous philosophical discussion would NOT make a very entertaining movie.

The animation style is disturbing to some, but I found it very effective. For the record, rotoscoping is a very old technique for film effects (think lightsabers) but the "interpolated rotoscoping" in the movie is very new, I think developed specifically for this movie. It also screws with your head, sometimes nauseatingly. The whole purpose of the movie is to screw with your head, so why not let the visuals contribute?

It's an art movie, no doubt about it. It's a thinking movie, and it's a multi-layered movie. It's a movie that puts it's artistic ideals far, far ahead of its entertainment value. It's not a movie to easily write off as a naked emporer, or complain about because you weren't entertained. It's not a movie to take at face value. If you think this movie is about the philosophical bullshit, then you are not qualified to be criticizing said bullshit. Go watch it again, and show a little charity in your analysis.