I still recall my reaction upon seeing Toy Story in theatres in 1995. I’m a giant child! You can ask my wife! She usually says she has 4 kids instead of the 3 little ladies we actually have. Consequently, since seeing this movie at a special drive-in night my 2-year-old is addicted to Buzz and more so Woody (whose face is now on our pumpkin this year).
Anyhow, back to the review. While the movie is a little darker and grown up it’s still a great watch for kids. I think the slightly more adult feel is to please those of us that grew up with the films. There is also a major payoff at the end, which is as pleasing as it is tear jerking. Yes, I cried… a little. Even digital characters get to me (sometimes).
I love these characters and would hate to see them disappear from the big screen. Then again I don’t want to see them ruined by shoddy stories or lesser films. Good job Pixar. Keep up the good work!
Since the advent of Blu-ray, no Pixar title has looked this good… Okay, that might be stretching it a bit, but Disney has done a bang up job on this release. As I have to say something about the video in this review and cannot leave it blank I will say this:
B-E-A-U-TI-FAL! Crisp, sharp, and detailed. If all movies looked this good I’d never get off the couch from in front of my TV. (AFTER ALL, YOUR NOT ON YOUR TV!!)
With each Pixar film comes a more enhanced and better designed audio track. There is no exception when it comes to Toy Story 3. The audio matches the video in terms of quality.
Right from the opening sequence of play time you are treated to a robust sound field. Once we end up in the daycare, well, things get even better. You’re surrounded by sounds as though you are literally standing in the midst of a daycare (been there, done that!).
The rich sound is only enhanced by the LFE, which comes in to play mostly during the climax. It will shock you!
First, I will discuss the Blu-ray exclusive extras. Then I’ll dig into those you’ll get on the DVD release.
Strangely, however, is that all the HD content is on disc two including the commentary. More on that below.
HD Exclusive Extras:
Cine-Explore Picture-in-Picture Commentary – Its official. I want to work for Pixar. Listening to Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson discuss the movie in detail makes me want to do this full-time more and more. This is a must watch feature despite the oddity of it being on the second disc.
Beyond the Toybox: An Alternative Commentary Track – Not as good as the commentary above, but still a great listen for anyone interested in animation. This commentary is provided by production designer Bob Pauley, supervising animator Bobby Podesta, supervising technical director Guido Quaroni, story supervisor Jason Katz, and supervising animator Mike Venturini.
- Goodbye Andy – Warning! Warning! If you have not seen the movie yet, avoid this one until after. Then again, how many of you watch the features before the movie? Just reviewers as far as I know! Anyway, this feature looks at how they improved the human animated characters in this movie and the decision that Andy makes at the end
- Accidental Toymakers – Remember that slap in the face to retailers Barbie delievered in Toy Story 2? You know, the “short sighted retailers” one. Well, it appears that no toy company wanted to make toys from the movie. So, Pixar made some… themselves.
- A Toy’s Eye View: Creating a Whole New Land – I want to go to Disneyland just to see the new Toy Story themed items at the Disney Parks.
- Epilogue – No credits here. Yup, want to see the closing credits montage from the end of Toy Story 3 without the credits. Watch it here baby. Oh ya!
- Roundin’ up a Western Opening – Director Lee Unkrich discusses the cool playtime intro from the movie and the alternate opening they had.
- Bonnie’s Playtime: A Story Roundtable – Pixar peeps discuss how many different variations they went through for Bonnie.
- Beginnings: Setting a Story in Motion – Screenwriter Michael Arndt gets his own creative and insightful look into the writing process for Toy Story 3. Eye Crave Network also interviewed Michael – give it a read.
- Life of a Shot – Darla K. Anderson (producer) discusses just how much work goes into a single scene and how many people are involved – colours, lighting, effects, etc.
- Making of ‘Day & Night’ – Self explanatory!
- Paths to Pixar: Editorial – The editors talk about putting the movie together.
Games & Activities:
I really don’t like when they break this into a sub-category that’s pluralized when there is only one item in it.
‘Toy Story’ Trivia Dash – Powered by BD-Live you can see how well you know your Toy Story movies.
- Grab Bag – Promo clips for TS3 and 3D parts.
- Ken’s Dating Tips – Listen to these. They work. hehe
- Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear Commercial – Despite being in HD this feature is made to look like it’s from before DVD existed. You remember that VHS stuff?
- Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear Commercial 2 [Japan] – Same thing, but in Japanese.
- Making of Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear Commercials – Self explanatory!
- Internet Chat – Buzz and Woody take a few shots at each other over the web.
- Security Cam – I won’t spoil this one for you. Just watch it… maybe with the kiddies out of the room, or not!
- Gadgets – A futuristic car commercial.
- ‘Dancing with the Stars’ at Pixar – From TV to animated movie choreography.
- Trailers – Lots o’trailers.
- Character Intros – A promo for all the new characters.
- Poster Gallery – We know that lots of posters were created for this movie so check ‘em all out.
The rest of the extras that are also on the DVD release.
- Day & Night Theatrical Short – Love this short. So simple, yet enjoyable.
- Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science of Adventure – Buzz, Hamm and Rex talk about space exploration.
- Toys! – The animation team discusses all the new toys in the film.
- The Gang’s All Here – Meet the original voice actors such as Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, as well as newcomers like Timothy Dalton and Michael Keaton.
- Studio Stories: Where’s Gordon? – A little tidbit about an office that’s hidden within Pixar’s new building.
- Studio Stories: Cereal Bar – Here’s another reason I’m kicking my butt for not getting into animation. I love cereal and they have a whole room devoted to it for employees.
- Studio Stories: Clean Start – Here’s a story… about an employee… who had to shave their head! (read that with the Brady Bunch theme in your head… I know, I’m lame) Everyone at Pixar shaved their head and used peer pressure to get director Lee Unkrich to do the same.
Had the commentary been on the first disc I think this would have scored much higher than a 9.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
There is a simple statement that can sum-up this release: Toy Story 3 is A must own Blu-ray! It offers a boatload of extras that will please any Pixar enthusiast. Plus you get a DVD copy for the van (I have a van) and Digital Copy of the film for your portable devices. I’ve loaded it onto my iPhone as much for the kids as for me!
The technical aspects are as solid as they can be.I don’t believe they could have improved upon the a/v aspects at all. Run out and pick up a copy today and ENJOY!!