Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Toy Story Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 40.3 GB
Film Rating: G
Region: ABCThe Video
Toy Story comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. Let me start off by saying I expected only the best as this was both a Pixar and Disney release, studios which have proven themselves as far as quality on Blu-ray goes.

Like previous Pixar releases, Toy Story dazzles during every frame. The film is the first feature length film from Pixar and is approximately fifteen years old. While certain textures and shapes do look like yesterday’s technology, the quality of everything is crystal clear to the point that it looks like a new release.

The movie’s look is rather simple from Pixar animation today, which tries to look more film-like with film-like effects throughout. Perhaps that is why the film features such a natural three-dimensional pop throughout, you literally will feel like you could reach out and grab one of the toys in the film.

Textures of certain characters and environments are absolutely amazing, such as Mr. Potato Head which looks as if you were seeing an actual Potato Head in front of you. The movie easily compares to the best high-def transfers on the format and definitely is one of the strongest with natural three-dimensional depth.

Everything about the transfer is impressive and will leave any viewer in a trance. The beauty that is Toy Story on Blu-ray just cannot be explained in words, it’s something you must see for yourself. Fans of the film may want to take a seat before checking out the Blu-ray release, as it’s good enough to pass out for. 10/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Extended Surround Master Audio track is included as the lossless option. Other audio options include French 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio and an English 2.0 Descriptive audio track. Optional subtitles include English, French and Spanish.

The audio mix is a massive improvement from the included DVD release. The level of improvement is easy to hear, particularly with dialogue. Dialogue feels so crisp and clear and benefits from being recorded in a studio; it has such a nice clarity.

The film’s effects open up the surround speakers in a very active way and we definitely become immersed into the world of the toys. The attention to detail is simply great and something that is expected from a Pixar release.

Everything sounds so natural and beautiful that I did not find anything to complain about. Everything was as clear as I had hoped and definitely exceeded my expectations. I was expecting a good mix, but a semi-dated one. That is not the case, everything is beautiful.

Overall the mix is fantastic and fans will absolutely be immersed into Toy Story. If the stunning visuals were not already enough, we have a great audio track to help the experience even more. The audio sounds especially great for a film of its age. 10/10.

The Extras

Disc 1:

Toy Story 3: Sneak Peek “The Story” (2:07) (HD)
A quick sneak peek of Toy Story 3 is included on both Toy Story and Toy Story 2. This sneak peek talks about the story itself, while Toy Story 2’s sneak peek talks about the characters.

Audio Commentary
View the film with 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.

Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: Blast Off (3:29) (HD)
Buzz Lightyear talks about traveling to space with actual space launch footage.

Paths to Pixar – Artists (4:47) (HD)
The artists employed by Pixar talk about their love for animation and how they made their way to Pixar.

Studio Stories: John’s Car (1:28) (HD)
See an animated story with commentary by his friends at Pixar regarding John Lasseter’s car. This is a very funny story.

Studio Stories: Baby AJ (1:40) (HD)
This is another animated story about Halloween one year at Pixar Studios. One idea was to be Baby AJ from Tin Toy, which won him tickets to visit anywhere in the world.

Studio Stories: Scooter Races (2:19) (HD)
Pixar animators talk about moving into a much bigger building than their original studio, which allowed them to have scooter races throughout the building.

Buzz Takes Manhattan (2:12) (HD)
John Lasseter talks about the Buzz Lightyear balloon which was included in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Footage of the actual balloon being blown up and moving is included.

Black Friday: The Toy Story You Never Saw (7:36) (HD)
John Lasseter and crew talk about working on the film and the suggested changes from Disney, which ended up being nixed by Disney. They then began to work on the film they wanted and came up with the final product. This is a very entertaining feature that shows why Pixar is the acclaimed studio it is today. At the end, John Lasseter presents the reel that was nixed by Disney, for history’s sake.

Filmmakers Reflect (16:35) (SD)
A roundtable discussion with the animators behind the film, this was on the previous DVD release celebrating its 10th anniversary. It would have been nice had it been updated, but is still fairly recent and I’m sure they still feel the same way.

Making Toy Story (20:21) (SD)
This features very vintage footage and interviews regarding production of the film. Everyone looks significantly younger and thinner, but is still quite interesting.

The Legacy of Toy Story (11:44) (SD)
Animators and voice actors look back at the legacy the film quickly created for itself, they talk about why it became such a success. Peter Jackson and George Lucas even talk about the film.

Designing Toy Story (6:14) (SD)
The animators talk about the technology used for Toy Story and the vision behind the film.

Deleted Scenes (19:02) (SD)
Ten deleted scenes are included and are presented in standard-definition.

Galleries (14:03) (SD)
Woody (1:52)
Buzz (1:49)
Andy’s Toys (1:42)
Misc. Toys (1:32)
Mutant Toys (1:53)
Andy’s Family (1:07)
Sid’s Family (1:47)
Andy’s Room (0:42)
Gas Station (0:23)
Sid’s Room (0:42)
Pizza Planet (0:45)

3-D Visualization (5:41) (SD)
Woody (0:22)
Buzz (0:22)
Andy’s Toys (1:28)
Alien (0:22)
Andy’s Room (0:52)
Gas Station (1:09)
Sid’s Room (1:06)

Color (7:54) (SD)
Designing Color (3:34)
Concept Art (1:15)
Color Script (3:05)

Story (13:16) (SD) (Includes Intro)
“Grey Army Men” Pitch (4:41)
“Andy’s New Toy” Storyreel (4:40)
“The Chase” Storyreel / Film Comparison (3:21)

Production (13:41) (SD)
Production Tour (1:51)
Layout Tricks (3:25)
Animation Tour (1:23)
Multi-Language Reel (4:30)

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” Music Video (2:15) (SD)

Designing Sound (6:35) (SD)
The sound designers talk about working on Toy Story.

Randy Newman Demos (17:30) (Audio)
Plastic Spaceman 1 (3:18)
Plastic Spaceman 2 (3:16)
Strange Things (2:58)
The Fool (2:09)
I Will Go Sailing No More (3:32)
You’ve Got a Friend in me (2:17)

Publicity (10:14) (SD)
Character Interview (1:29)
Trailers (4:38)
TV Spots (2:08)
Posters (0:57)
Toys & Stuff (1:02)

Toy Story Treats (SD)
1. Hobbies (2:18)
2. Dreams (0:22)
3. Space Rangers (0:53)
4. Games (1:52)
5. Rex At Play (1:10)
6. Hamm Salesman (0:31)
7. Night Time (0:45)
8. Thrill Ride (0:40)
9. TV Time (1:33)
10. Professor Rex (0:41)
11. Fast Food (1:01)
12. Alien Encounter (0:56)
13. Go Fish (0:11)
14. Mrs. Nesbit (0:11)
15. Buzz Lightyear Commercial (0:52)

Download the latest trailers from Walt Disney Home Entertainment in both HD and SD viewing options.

Disc 2:

DVD Copy of the film
The DVD Copy of the film includes many of the new features included on the Blu-ray release, but is no comparison as far as the actual film quality goes. This is a nice inclusion for families who only have one Blu-ray player in their home or have kids who want to take this on the road.

The extras on this release are quite overwhelming to be honest. There do appear to be some bonus features missing from the Toy Box edition release, but I think Disney includes a few features exclusively on each release to make each release semi-special. Those who want all the content should not get rid of their DVD releases quite yet. Overall though I am very pleased by the amount of content and only dock it a bit due to things missing. 9/10.

The Movie
Toy Story is a classic and there is a reason behind all its success and all the success it brought to the studio behind it. The movie’s technology was like nothing before and added a story that was not only heartwarming but timeless.

Toy Story tells the story of toys, the title is pretty self-explanatory. It deals with the emotional connection of toys with their owners and has some great messages. The story is easy to love and the characters are some of the best.

Who doesn’t know Woody or Buzz Lightyear by now? The characters are now animated legends. The voices behind the characters are also great and something that I do think added to the film as a whole. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t at least like Toy Story, the movie is one that can be enjoyed no matter how young or old you are.

It was certainly nice to revisit the film in high-definition for the first time, to be honest it almost felt like a new experience. It has been a couple of years since I had last seen Toy Story, but I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the film.

The movie still holds up extremely well and easily compares to even recent Pixar productions for story quality. What’s not to love about Toy Story? The story is one that never gets boring and is truly funny as well as touching.

I do consider Toy Story to be an animated masterpiece. It was like nothing done before and features the charm that only Pixar can bring to viewers. They just have that magic touch and imagination that allows us to leap into an entirely different world and become immersed by the experience.

I love Toy Story and to be honest the experience is ever better on Blu-ray. I don’t think any viewer really needs a synopsis of the story itself as I’m sure it’s been seen by at least 95% of those reading this review. Toy Story is storytelling at its best, it’s a magical film. 10/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Toy Story is a classic with a stunning visual and audio experience on Blu-ray. The extras are fantastic and will take you hours to go through. Toy Story on Blu-ray is 'A Must Own’ high-def release.

Additional Screenshots:

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