Toy Story 3D [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (7th December 2011).
The Film

Revisiting films can be an interesting journey, the older the film and fonder the memories the more disappointing the film is upon re-watching as a adult. I've had films like "The Last Starfighter" (1984) and "Flight of the Navigator" (1986) totally ruined by having watched them recently, I should have kept the memory of them intact. Some films only get better with age, and it's almost impossible to believe that its been 15 years since the release of Pixar's fantastic debut CG feature "Toy Story" and its often films with copious amounts of CG that suffer the worst as time goes by, however Pixar's attention to detail and no-compromise attitude "Toy Story" still looks brilliant, holds up today and remains a classic animated film worth revisiting numerous times. It's a film that simply needs to be shared with as many people as possible.

The road to "Toy Story" is a long, occasionally frustrating but overly satisfying one for the creators. Pixar was just a fledgling animation house, wowing exhibitors and viewers with their CG short films including the Academy Awards. Earning some kudos, they picked up a deal with Disney and soon began on the journey to get "Toy Story" to the screen. It took several years but the technology was streamlined enough to develop a feature film. The R&D which was essentially Pixar's short film period paid off. "Toy Story" was a groundbreaking film that pushed the animation boundaries, opened imaginations to the possibilities of CG and mixed well-developed and memorable characters with terrific story telling.

"Toy Story" tells the story of toys led by the popular cowboy doll Woody (Tom Hanks), Andy's (John Morris) favorite toy. The toys are anticipating the arrival of a new toy to welcome to the folds as its Andy's birthday. However, Woody didn't expect that the new toy, intergalactic space explorer Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) to be as cool or as popular as he originally thought and soon fears being replaced by Andy. In a jealous rage Woody takes it out on Buzz only to have Buzz fall out of the window... the toys mount a rescue operation leaving the house to return Buzz to Andy's room before he realizes the toys are missing. Woody and the gang trek dangerous territory including Sid's (Erik von Detten) room, a psychopath kid that cannibalizes toys and encounter a series of adventures to return to Andy's room and through that time Woody and Buzz bond in friendship.

"Toy Story" was an innovative film that hit all the marks, character, story (with equal parts escapist adventure) and flawless animation. The Pixar crew did a smart thing in making "Toy Story" their first CG animated feature-length film. They chose toys as their primary subject, unlike human characters toys are made of plastic and feature smooth surfaces, the agelessness of this film is the fact that human characters make up a small fraction of this film. While the animation style has improved leaps and bounds since this film's release, because the focus is on smooth surfaced toys it still holds up as something that could have been animated today.

Handled with less care, "Toy Story" could have been a superficial product that tried to wow audiences with technology rather than a focus on story, which would have been shifted to the side in favor of the gimmick of being a fully CG animated film. However John Lasseter's key focus was on character and story just as much as it was on groundbreaking animation. The characters, some instantly recognizable like Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) and the bucket of army men and new toys such as the two lead characters Woody and Buzz appear charming. Woody and Buzz's relationship is akin to "The Odd Couple", playing off each other in humorous fashion as the two clash throughout carrying the film from Andy's room to the adventure that follows in having to save Buzz from the clutches of Sid the nasty neighbor, this leads to a friendship through adventure that lasts until the closing frame and well into the second film released four years later (and into the third coming out later this year).

"Toy Story" certainly doesn't feel like a product of its time, it's lasted the test of time until now, who knows how it will fare in another 15 years (I suppose that depends on how much more CG animation progresses in that time), but for now it's a terrific adventure for both young and old and remains as a truly innovative and brilliant piece of animated storytelling.

Video

Presented in a widescreen ratio of 1.78:1 mastered in high-definition 1080p 24/fps using AVC MPEG-4 compression. Prior to the theatrical release of "Toy Story 3" (2010) Disney had remastered and converted "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" (1999) to 3D presentations and released them for a limited time back in theaters. Those presentations have now been transfered to Blu-ray and released. These films were created from the original digital source material, usually that would be cause for celebration with the knowledge that the film's would be presented to superior quality. However we've got a 16 year-old film that's been converted to 3D. Usually up-conversion to this format can possess problems, after all they weren't made with 3D in mind. Animated films fare much better with this process as a "3D" essentially exists and the conversion essentially adds dimension to the worlds, while not 100% perfect it does offer a decent effect that's about 80% there. The resulting picture gives the computer generated environments a nice depth, while the characters and there movements feel like they have a bit more energy. Ghosting is a problem and we see it here, there are a few scenes that don't quite move through the enhanced space flawlessly but it's not too distracting. Usually with film like this I'd prefer to watch the original 2D presentation. The rest of the picture is as expected, clean, sharp and displaying a vast array of brilliant colors. I don't really see the need for releasing this film in 3D, after all the 3D effect here is a gimmick and a means to "cash in" on the technology. Disney have taken to the format with some gusto releasing a decent amount of titles to the market (a problem with 3D is the lack of titles... more importantly the lack or good titles to choose from), and in that respect I tip my hat to them for trying, but instead of spending money on classic titles to release how about investing decent money on a solid 3D movie? Something that isn't all smoke and mirrors?

Audio

Five audio tracks are included in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mixed at 48kHz/24-bit, French Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 surround and an English Descriptive Video Service Dolby Digital 2.0 surround. For the purposes of this review I have chosen to view the film with its English DTS-HD 5.1 track, much like the image this audio track is about as stunning as 5.1 mixes get. The robust sound design takes advantage of the full 5.1 space with a balanced mix that immerses the viewer. Dialogue, ambient and environmental sounds, directional effects and music all work in harmony to provide a terrific aural experience.
Optional subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired, French and Spanish.

Extras

If you've owned the previous DVD editions of this film then you'll be familiar with the extras on this edition, however a few new extras have been created for the previous 2-disc Blu-ray release (also included here). There are four discs in this set, the 3D Blu-ray, the 2D Blu-ray, DVD and a digital copy edition of the film. The DVD and digital copy are basically extra copies. The extras included are an audio commentary, a collection of 11 featurettes, a series of deleted scenes, a series of galleries that cover the complete production process and bonus trailers. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

DISC ONE: 3D BLU-RAY

Aside from the film presented in 3D there are no extras on this disc.

DISC TWO: BLU-RAY

First up is the feature-length audio commentary by director John Lasseter, co-writer Andrew Stanton, supervising animator Pete Docter, art director Ralph Eggleston, supervising technical director Bill Reeves and producers Ralph Guggenheim and Bonnie Arnold. This track is 14-years-old, originally created for the laserdisc and ported over to DVD and now onto Blu-ray. I've owned this film on all these formats, laserdisc, DVD (twice) and now Blu-ray and I've listed to this track now for the 5th time and it's still a terrifically lively and informative track. The participants offer up some excellent background on the development of the film from the story to the animation process and the challenges they faced during the production process. They comment on the story's arcs and comment on the characters, the voice actors and on working with Disney and the subsequent success of the film. Wonderfully rich with detail and occasionally entertaining if you haven't listened to this track and are curious about learning more about the history and development of this film then it's worth exploring. While this is an excellent track I would have loved a new track, perhaps taking advantage of the HD format with a video-in-video commentary.

A new feature is next, "Toy Story 3 Sneak Peek: The Story" featurette runs for 2 minutes 2 seconds and is as the title suggests a quick peek at the next "Toy Story" film due for release later this year. The film's director Lee Unkrich tells about the story and we get some short clips from the 3rd installment. It's all too brief, while cool to look at the new film I would gave like something more in-depth.

Another new feature is "Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: Blast Off" featurette which runs for 3 minutes 27 seconds and is a promo for NASA. Part PSA part entertaining clip, here our hero Buzz informs us on the workings of a space shuttle and how they take off, space enthusiasts will get a kick out of this clip, but again it's a fleeting look as it's over as soon as it starts with its short runtime.

"Path to Pixar - Artists" is a featurette runs for 4 minutes 49 seconds, here some Pixar crew take us through their involvement in the industry and share some stories. It's a novel clip that introduces us to the various crew roles.

There are 3 short featurettes entitled "Studio Stories" and they include:

- "Studio Stories: John's Car" is next and runs for as short 1 minute 21 seconds, this clip takes a look at John Lasseter's car.
- "Studio Stories: Baby AJ" runs for 1 minutes 38 seconds and takes a look at a costume that Pixar employee A.J. Riebli once made for a costume contest.
- "Studio Stories: Scooter Races" runs for 2 minutes 16 seconds, this clip shows us the scooter races between and Pixar crew member Thomas Porter and show the lighter side of working for Pixar.

"Buzz Takes Manhattan" is another featurette that runs for 2 minutes 13 seconds and takes a look at the Buzz Lightyear balloon made for the 2008 Thanksgiving Day Parade with John Lasseter. Lasseter enthusiastically talks about the opportunity to bring Buzz to the parade.

"Black Friday: The Toy Story You Never Saw" is probably one of my favorite featurettes on this disc and runs for 7 minutes 34 seconds. This clip takes a look at the disastrous beginnings of this film from the original story concepts that were heavily influenced by Disney's influence, it's a clip that candidly explores the early development of the film's story and how badly it all started out, honestly I was surprised that Disney allowed this clip to see the light of day, but then I realized that John Lasseter pretty much controls Disney now and is secretly smiling knowing that his decisions are what made this film the success it was rather than listening to the overly-managed script by committee version that could have been.

"Filmmakers Reflect" is the next featurette which runs for 16 minutes 56 seconds, this retrospective piece features Pixar heavyweights , Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft take a look back at "Toy Story" and reminisce about the production, their intent on making a CG animated feature film, how the film could have ended up versus what eventually became, among other topics. It's another fascinating clip that gives fans an inside look at the creator intentions for this animated classic.

"Making Toy Story" is the classic featurette that runs for 20 minutes 17 seconds and takes viewers behind-the-scenes and into the intense production process of this film. The clip features the usual amount of talking head interviews with clips from the film and behind-the-scenes footage. It's a little more in-depth than your usual EPK clip but only just. There's nothing here that we haven't already learned from previous clips or the audio commentary aside from seeing some footage from the 90's.

"The Legacy of Toy Story" featurette runs for 11 minutes 41 seconds, this clip takes a look at the impact that this film had on animation and on the box office, it looks at the legacy that it started as famous filmmakers, critics and Pixar crew share their thoughts on what makes "Toy Story" so special and groundbreaking. Film icons such as George Lucas, Peter Jackson, Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki, Leonard Maltin, John Canemaker and Roy Disney.

"Designing Toy Story" is a featurette that runs for 6 minutes 12 seconds, this clip takes a closer look at the design aesthetic and character design of the film, color design among other things including a technical look at CG animation. If you're interested in how animated films are designed and put together then this clip is for you, and also screams for a much more in-depth clip than just over 6 minutes.

A collection of 10 deleted scenes are featured on this disc, these are uncompleted scenes, some roughly animated some at the storyboard stage while two are fully animated and cut at the last minute. A couple of these scenes could be considered alternate versions of scenes that exist in the film. These are cool to see and offer an interesting look at how the film could have ended up had these scenes been used. They include:

- "Deleted Animation Intro" runs for 1 minute 45 seconds is as the title suggests an omitted intro.
- "Torture" runs for 48 seconds. A partly animated scenes where Sid tortures some toys.
- "Rain" runs for 1 minute 23 seconds. Another partly animated sequence.
- "Deleted Storyreel Intro" runs for 1 minute 21 seconds. This is another intro.
- "Alt. Opening: Buzz Show" runs for 2 minutes 43 seconds. A sequence featuring the Buzz Lightyear TV show.
- "Alt. Opening: Shootout" runs for 1 minute 48 seconds. A sequences that shows Andy and Woody playing.
- "Woody's Nightmare" runs for 1 minute 20 seconds. Woody has a bad dream.
- "Eastern Gate" runs for 3 minutes 3 seconds. An omitted sequence featuring Woody and Buzz at night.
- "Shakes the Rattle" runs for 1 minute 52 seconds. A tiger rattle toy warns the toys about Sid's house.
- "Sid's Comeuppance" runs for 2 minutes 47 seconds. An alternate version of a scene from the film.

Next up is a section that looks at "Design" and features galleries for the various characters in the film. They are broken down below:

11 galleries that explores the look and design of characters and locations for:

- "Woody" runs for 1 minute 52 seconds.
- "Buzz" runs for 1 minute 49 seconds.
- "Andy's Toys" runs for 1 minute 42 seconds.
- "Misc. Toys" runs for 1 minute 21 seconds.
- "Mutant Toys" runs for 1 minute 55 seconds.
- "Andy's Family" runs for 1 minute 7 seconds.
- "Sid's Family" runs for 1 minute 47 seconds.
- "Andy's Room" runs for 42 seconds.
- "Gas Station" runs for 23 seconds.
- "Sid's Room" runs for 42 seconds.
- "Pizza Planet" runs for 45 seconds.

7 3-D visualization that explore the 3-D renders for characters and locations, and are for:

- "Woody" runs for 22 seconds.
- "Buzz" runs for 22 seconds.
- "Andy's Toys" runs for 1 minute 28 seconds.
- "Alien" runs for 22 seconds.
- "Andy's Room" runs for 52 seconds.
- "Gas Station" runs for 1 minute 9 seconds.
- "Sid's Room" runs for 1 minute 6 seconds.

3 color galleries that explore the use of color design for the film, they are:

- "Designing Color" runs for 3 minutes 34 seconds.
- "Concept Art" runs for 1 minute 15 seconds.
- "Color Scripts" runs for 3 minutes 5 seconds.

4 "Story" clips that take a look at the development of the story from pitch to reel and comparison, these can be viewed individually or with a 'Play All' option that features an introduction and runs for a total of 13 minutes 56 seconds, the clips included are:

- "Green Army Men" pitch runs for 4 minutes 41 seconds.
- "Andy's New Toy" storyreel runs for 4 minutes 40 seconds.
- "The Chase" storyreel/film comparison runs for 3 minutes 21 seconds.

4 "Production" clips that take us into Pixar studios and into the production process:

- "Production Tour" runs for 1 minute 51 seconds.
- "Layout Tricks" runs for 3 minutes 25 seconds.
- "Animation Tour" runs for 1 minute 25 seconds.
- "Multi-Language Reel" runs for 4 minutes 30 seconds.

3 "Music & Sound" clips that include:

- "You've Got a Friend in Me" music video that runs for 2 minutes 15 seconds.
- "Designing Sound" runs for 6 minutes 35 seconds and takes a look at the sound design.
- "Randy Newman Demos" are broken down into 6 sub-categories that take a look at music cues created for the film:
- - "Plastic Spaceman" runs for 3 minutes 18 seconds.
- - "Plastic Spaceman 2" runs for 3 minutes 16 seconds.
- - "Strange Things" runs for 2 minutes 58 seconds.
- - "The Fool" runs for 2 minutes 9 seconds.
- - "I Will Go Sailing No More" runs for 3 minutes 32 seconds.
- - "You've Got a Friend in Me" runs for 2 minutes 17 seconds.

The "Publicity" section features a collection of items that include:

- "Character Interview" reel that runs for 1 minute 29 seconds.
- 2 theatrical trailers that run a total of 4 minutes 28 seconds.
- 4 TV spots that run a total of 2 minutes 8 seconds.
- "Posters" gallery that runs for 57 seconds.
- "Toys & Stuff" gallery runs for 1 minute 2 seconds.
- 15 "Toy Story Treats" clips for:
- - "Hobbies" runs for 2 minutes 18 seconds.
- - "Dreams" runs for 22 seconds.
- - "Space Rangers" runs for 53 seconds.
- - "Games runs for 1 minute 52 seconds.
- - "Rex at Play" runs for 1 minute 10 seconds.
- - "Hamm Salesman" runs for 31 seconds.
- - "Night Time" runs for 45 seconds.
- - "Thrill Ride" runs for 40 seconds.
- - "TV Time" runs for 1 minute 33 seconds.
- - "Professor Rex" runs for 41 seconds.
- - "Fast Food" runs for 1 minute 1 second.
- - "Alien Encounter" runs for 56 seconds.
- - "Go Fish" runs for 11 seconds.
- - "Mrs. Nesbit" runs for 11 seconds.
- - "Buzz Lightyear Commercial" runs for 52 seconds.

"Learn How to Take Your Favorite Movies on the Go" is a promo for digital copy that runs for 1 minute, strangely thought this release doesn't include a digital copy.

Finally the bonus trailers are for:

- "Disney Blu-ray" promo runs for 1 minute.
- "Toy Story 3" runs for 1 minute and 32 seconds.
- "Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition" runs for 1 minute and 8 seconds.
- "Disney Movie Rewards" runs for 21 seconds.
- "Toy Story 1 & 2 on Blu-ray" runs for 1 minute and 17 seconds.
- "The Princess and the Frog" runs for 1 minute and 51 seconds.
- "James and the Giant Peach: Special Edition" runs for 1 minute and 2 seconds.

DISC THREE: DVD

This DVD edition features the audio commentary, the "Toy Story 3 Sneak Peek: The Story" featurette, and the featurettes for "Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: Blast Off", "Path to Pixar - Artists", "Studio Stories: John's Car", "Studio Stories: Baby AJ", "Studio Stories: Scooter Races", "Buzz Takes Manhattan" and "Black Friday: The Toy Story You Never Saw".

There are also bonus trailers for:

- "Disney Blu-ray" promo runs for 1 minute.
- "Toy Story 3" runs for 1 minute and 32 seconds.
- "Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition" runs for 1 minute and 8 seconds.
- "Disney Movie Rewards" runs for 21 seconds.
- "Toy Story 1 & 2 on Blu-ray" runs for 1 minute and 17 seconds.
- "Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue" runs for 1 minute and 39 seconds.
- "Phineas and Ferb" runs for 32 seconds.

DISC THREE: DVD
The final disc is a digital copy of the film for your portable media devices.

Packaging

This 4-disc set is packaged in a Blu-ray case housed in a cardboard slip-case with a lenticular slip-case.

Overall

Three words: Just buy it.

... and if you don't have a 3D HDTV (or an HDTV) or a Blu-ray player then now's a good time to buy those things.

The Film: A+ Video: A Audio: A+ Extras: A Overall: A

 


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