Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Toy Story 3: 4-Disc Combo Pack Blu-ray Review

Disc 1 Size: 44.4 GB
Disc 2 Size: 36.1 GB
Film Rating: G
Release Date: November 2nd, 2010
Region: A
The Video
'Toy Story 3' debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. 'Toy Story 1 and 2' are both visually stunning on Blu-ray so it is no surprise that 'Toy Story 3' not only matches but surpasses the high-def quality of the first two films.

I love Pixar animation, it is simply the best. The attention to detail in their films really becomes present on the high-def transfer. Every texture of clothing, environments, etc. just comes to life with a clarity and level of detail that you have to see to believe.

Animation regardless of production values tends to look great in high-definition, but add the quality of Pixar to the production and you have yourself the ultimate visual demo material. This is one film that has to be seen in high-definition.

Colors are astounding, rich and vibrant and always leaping off the screen. Colors really are just amazing, I have seen so many animated releases on Blu-ray at this point that I don’t always find myself in awe like I used to, but I found myself extremely impressed from beginning to end by 'Toy Story 3' on Blu-ray.

I’ve seen the film theatrically a couple of times, but there were so many details found on the Blu-ray release that I didn’t even notice theatrically. This is a top notch Blu-ray presentation with not a technical flaw to be found. 'Toy Story 3' is absolutely one of the best looking films on Blu-ray; nobody will be disappointed in the least. Incredible. 10/10.

The Audio
An English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and English 5.1 Extended Surround DTS-HD Master Audio track are the lossless options included. Also included are an English 2.0 Descriptive Video Service track, French and Spanish 5.1 EX Dolby Digital audio tracks. Optional subtitles include English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

I viewed the film with the English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. I am happy to report that aside from the video presentation being astounding; the audio presentation is also a definite winner that will make for the perfect demo material.

Being an animated release, I especially had high expectations when it came to clarity. Dialogue being recorded in-studio is as crisp and clear as possible, making presence throughout your surround setup, nothing is limited.

The film’s audio effects are especially immersive, with nice direction and panning throughout the entire surround area. Everything is clear as can be and extremely fitting to the scene. What I especially loved about the mix is that surround use isn’t just present during the more intense scenes of the film, there was obviously some close attention paid to each scene.

'Toy Story 3' sounds fantastic. I can’t say I didn’t expect it, because I definitely did. The film’s surround use is impressive and this is certainly one of the better 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks to be released on the format. A fantastic audio experience can add so much value to the overall film experience, and this one certainly does just that. 10/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc) (44.4 GB):

Day & Night: Theatrical Short (6:03) (HD)
The short film which played prior to the film theatrically is included in high-definition.

Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science of Adventure (4:26) (HD)
This is episode 3 of Buzz Lightyear’s adventures onboard the International Space Station. Episode 1 and 2 can be found on the Blu-ray releases for Toy Story 1 and 2.

Toys! (6:40) (HD)
The production crew talks about the incredible amount of toys found in the film. The crew talks about recreating the original characters as seen in Toy Story 1 and 2, due to changes and updates in technology. The crew also talks about the new characters in the film and their different purposes in the film.

DisneyFile Digital Copy Guide (1:04) (HD)
Learn how to take your favorite movies on the go.

Sneak Peeks (HD)
High-def trailers are included for ‘Cars Toon: Mater’s Tall Tales,’ ‘The Incredibles,’ and ‘Disney Parks.’ Previews for other Disney films including ‘Bambi,’ ‘Tangled’ and more play prior to the menus, but are not found under sneak peeks.

Disc 2 (Blu-ray Disc) (36.1 GB):

The Gang’s All Here (10:24) (HD)
The cast and crew talk about returning to the film, we are also introduced to the voice cast of the new characters in Toy Story 3.

Goodbye Andy (8:02) (HD)
Director Lee Unkrich and production crew talk about making humans differ in look from the toys, a complaint they received from previous Toy Story films. John Morris talks about returning to the series to voice Andy one last time.

Accidental Toymakers (3:59) (HD)
The crew talks about creating the characters and the actual produced toys of certain characters.

A Toy’s Eye View: Creating a Whole New Land (5:29) (HD)
This feature is all about the Disney Park attractions found all around the world.

Epilogue (4:22) (HD)
See the epilogue which runs during the credits of the film, without the credits.

Cine-Explore (HD)
This is a picture-in-picture commentary which includes pre-production sketches and images throughout There picture-in-picture images included are fitting to the audio commentary included. We learn neat little facts throughout, many quite random but very cool, such as the fact that there is a character from Cars 2 included in the film. I love cine-explore and this is one of the best uses to date for a picture-in-picture track.

Beyond The Toybox: An Alternative Commentary Track
Featuring leads from story, tech, art and animation. This is a different audio commentary than the one featured in the cine-explore feature.

Roundin’ Up a Western Opening (5:48) (HD)
In this feature the crew talks about the western opening of the film, learn about the concept and progress which led to the final product.

Bonnie’s Playtime: A Story Roundtable (6:31) (HD)
The production crew talks about the difficulty that came in finalizing the ‘Bonnie’s Playtime’ scene.

Beginnings: Setting a Story in Motion (8:15) (HD)
Screenwriter Michael Arndt talks about writing a good beginning and inspiration from previous Pixar films. He explains the screenwriting process in a fun animated way.

Life of a Shot (7:00) (HD)
We learn about the many people behind production of all the little details found in the film, obviously a lot of work goes into every single thing on screen.

Making of ‘Day & Night’ (2:05) (HD)
You saw the short on disc one of this Blu-ray release, now join the production crew as they talk about making the short film.

Paths to Pixar - Editorial (4:40) (HD)
The editors at Pixar talk about the job of an editor, including their paths to Pixar. Director Lee Unkrich also talks about working his way from an editor to a director.

Studio Stories – Where’s Gordon? (2:19) (HD)
Pixar Animator Andrew Gordon talks about a secret room he found and decorated at the Pixar building, which became quite the popular room.

Studio Stories – Cereal Bar (1:38) (HD)
Pixar has a cereal bar, which includes almost every kind of cereal one could imagine. This story is narrated by Tia Kratter, Darla K. Anderson, Adam Burke, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter.

Studio Stories – Clean Start (3:08) (HD)
This is a very funny story involving haircuts and growing hair. This story is narrated by Bobby Podesta, David Park and Nicole Grindle.

Toy Story Trivia Dash (Powered by BD-Live)
Use the checkboxes to select trivia questions from Toy Story 3 or from all Toy Story movies. If you have a BD-Live capable Blu-ray player and are connected to the internet, you can use your phones to control the game.

Grab Bag (3:54) (HD)
This is a collection of promotional videos released for Toy Story 3.

Ken’s Dating Tips (1:36) (HD)
Ken is ready to give dating tips for today’s bachelor, remember that you need to love yourself before someone can love you.

Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear Commercial 1 (0:32) (SD)
This commercial is intended to look like a commercial from decades ago, which is why it is included in standard-definition.

Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear Commercial 2 (Japan) (0:27) (SD)
This is a very funny Japanese commercial which is also intended to look like it was released in 1983, the reason why it is included in standard-definition.

Making of the Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear Commercials (1:28) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes of the fake commercials produced for the bear as it transitions from the high-def recording to the standard-def look.

“Internet Chat” (1:02) (HD)
This is a funny promotional piece which involves IM chatting between Woody and Buzz.

“Security Cam” (1:14) (HD)
This is a fun promotional piece which I remember seeing on television which includes creepy footage from security cameras, ultimately revealing Toy Story 3.

“Gadgets” (0:56) (HD)
This is also a fun promotional piece which compares the new high-tech ‘toys/gadgets’ of today to the classic toys from Toy Story.

“Dancing With the Stars” At Pixar (2:23) (HD)
Tony Dovolani and Cheryl Burke of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ talk about choreographing the dance Jessie and Buzz Lightyear dance to in the film.

TS3 Silence Trailer (0:38) (HD)
This is the trailer which reminds viewers to turn off their phones in the theater.

TS3 Antipiracy Trailer (1:01) (HD)
This is an antipiracy trailer which reminds viewers that illegal downloads/copies do not compare to the original.

TS3 Teaser Trailer (1:48) (HD)
The original teaser trailer released is included; it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago that it was released, how time flies.

TS3 Trailer 2 (2:26) (HD)
The second theatrical trailer is included in high-definition.

TS3 Trailer 3 (2:36) (HD)
The third theatrical trailer is included in high-definition.

TS3 Japan Teaser Trailer 1 (1:01) (SD)
The Japan teaser trailer is included in high-definition, much more emotional than the U.S. teaser.

TS3 Japan Trailer 2 (2:43) (HD)
The second Japan trailer is included in high-definition, including footage from previous Pixar productions at the beginning rather than just title mentions.

Character Intros (2:09) (HD)
The character intros released for the new characters of the series are included in high-definition.

Poster Gallery (Images)
See the many posters created for the film in the poster gallery.

Disc 3 (DVD):

DVD copy of the film
Includes select features found on the Blu-ray discs.

Disc 4 (DVD):

Digital Copy of the film
Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media.

The extras on this release are fantastic. I loved all of the video features included, but I especially loved the cine-explore feature, which was far better than I anticipated. I loved the cine-explore audio commentary and can’t wait to revisit the film a third time on Blu-ray with the second audio commentary track included.

There are so many features to see, especially on disc two. This is an extremely packed new release, other studios should take note. The additional DVD and Digital Copy are terrific additions; this is one film which will certainly see high replay value among younger viewers as well. 10/10.

The Movie
I am a huge fan of Pixar films and it seems that Pixar only gets better with age. ‘Toy Story’ is classic, ‘Toy Story 2’ is the rare sequel which lives up to the original (if not better). It is rare to find a trilogy where there wasn’t at least one mediocre film. ‘Toy Story 3’ however lives up to the first two films, in fact it is my favorite film of the trilogy.

‘Toy Story 3’ appears to be the last adventure for Woody and the gang (although they could choose to explore new story opportunities with the ending, however I am doubtful). I had high expectations going into the film’s theatrical release, especially after films like Wall-E and UP, which I consider modern masterpieces.

‘Toy Story 3’ does not disappoint, it takes place years later from the first two films. Andy has now graduated from high school and is going away to college. The toys are still at home, however they know changes are ahead for all of them.

The toys believe they are in for a great experience after being donated to a local day care, a place which they will be played with on a daily basis, however not everything is as happy and great as they had hoped. Ultimately, the toys find themselves trapped and must plan their biggest escape yet.
Pixar has always been an amazing studio when it comes to storytelling, but I believe they have improved when it comes to bringing emotion into their films. Emotional impact has been there with all of their films to a degree, but the past few films have been particularly impressive. ‘Toy Story 3’ while very funny and adventurous, was also very touching and reflective.

I love ‘Toy Story’ and ‘Toy Story 2,’ but they didn’t compare in emotional impact like ‘Toy Story 3’ does. The film deals with change, moving on and sticking together. While I never found an emotional connection with my toys as a child, the story has a bigger meaning than toys.

I am especially a fan of the film’s ending, which is very likely the close to the series as well. The ending was beautifully done and manages to be bittersweet, as it should be. I didn’t expect to be so saddened saying goodbye to the characters, but the character development throughout the films has been so solid it would be hard not to feel at least somewhat upset.

‘Toy Story 3’ is the best animated film of the year and quite possibly the best film of the year in general. ‘Toy Story 3’ is a film made for everyone and Pixar has once again created a masterpiece. I cannot express my love for ‘Toy Story 3’ enough, the film is a must own in any collection. 10/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Toy Story 3’ is a must own film in any collection. The Blu-ray release is completely reference, with an incredible visual and audio experience. The bonus features included are also fantastic. ‘Toy Story 3’ is easily ‘A Must Own’ with one of the best Blu-ray releases to date.

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