Toy Story 3 [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (20th November 2010).
The Film

"Toy Story 3" is one of, if not, the best animated film that came out this year. That would not have been the case if Disney (prior to Edwin Catmull and John Lasseter being put in charge of all Disney Animation), the old guard under former Chairman Michael Eisner at Disney wanted to make a third film without the involvement of Pixar... if Pixar were to leave Disney after their contract expired. This was around 2004 when it seemed that Pixar may not re-sign their deal with Disney. Thankfully for fans of Pixar and the "Toy Story" films, Eisner didn't get his way and Pixar managed to make the film their way. The result is something truly special and a perfect ending to a story arc that spans the young life of a boy and his beloved toys. Prior to release "Toy Story 3" could have had the makings of a cash-grab project, where little in terms of characters and story are put into the final product, Pixar would have never allowed such a thing.

In "Toy Story 3" the whole gang is back, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jesse (Joan Cusack), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Mrs. Potato Head (Estelle Harris), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Slinky Dog (Blake Clark) and Hamm (John Ratzenberger) and this time their beloved Andy (John Morris) is a grown up, and heading for college. Andy no longer has time for toys, let alone playing with them. Andy has to decide what to throw out and what to move toi the attic for safekeeping. But when a mix-up leads Andy's toys to be thrown out to the curb, the gang decide it's best to move on. While Woody tries to convince them it was all a mistake. The toys find themselves donated to a local daycare, a place which on the outside looks wonderful, filled with kids that will play with the toys, but underneath it's a dark and vicious world ruled by a scorned and once forgotten teddy bear, Lotso (Ned Beatty). Woody must save his friends and find their way back to Andy's so they can be safely put away in his attic, along the way the pick up a few new friends.

The story is a natural progression from the previous films, and is certainly a better narrative than what Disney had planned before Pixar took back the reins, involving a recalled Buzz and the gang going to Taiwan. The narrative features themes that we can all relate to and its handled in a such a thoughtful manner. A boy growing up and moving on and what happens to his once loved toys, it's simple yet effective and Pixar cuts right to the core. The filmmakers put plenty of nice touches throughout the film, character's play off each other as if there hasn't been years between films, it feels natural and the scenes work well together with the story coming together in a satisfying way. There's action and adventure, with a few sad moments that really pull on the heart strings and leave viewers misty-eyed and an ending that feels not only right but will leave you with a giant smile on your face.

The new characters included here are not only well executed technically, are all as memorable as our lead cast. Starting off with Lotso, the once-forgotten teddy rules the daycare in a manipulative yet sympathetic manner, only showing his true colors when pushed to the extreme. He's an unconventional yet effective antagonist. Big Baby (Woody Smith) is utterly creepy, plus we got Bonnie's (Emily Hahn) toys whom Woody encounters also add their own unique charms to the film. These new supporting toys not only play an important part of this film but they are all welcomed additions and add to the already character rich world created by the Pixar team over three films and fifteen years.

Like every Pixar film, and aside from the story and characters, the other element you can always count on is the animation. Through each and every film the quality increases in untold amounts. Director Lee Unkrich could have used previous animation files created for the last film to render this film but it wold not have looked good enough, especially how much technology has progressed. The animation is slick, but never forgetting these are toys with a smooth surface (some feature much more detail and texture) but the animation is top notch, highly detailed and beautifully rendered. I struggle to find any fault here, "Toy Story 3" is easy on the eyes.

What more can I say, if you're already a fan then you get it, totally. If you're new to these films welcome to one of the best animated trilogies ever made. "Toy Story 3" may have been created using machines but is full of heart, thoughtful and incredibly satisfying and designed by a crew of the best storytellers working in animation today, kudos!

Video

Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.78:1 in high-definition 1080p 24/fps mastered using AVC MPEG-4 compression. The only a near perfect film can be even more so, is in its HD image and Disney has released this film with all the bells and whistles. This HD picture is perfect, not near perfect, but perfect. 100% it's a gorgeous, lush, detailed, brilliantly balanced and bursting with color picture that will blow any nit-picky cinephile. Sharpness and detail is wonderful, a testament to the animators who put in hours upon hours in creating the film's characters, digital sets and backgrounds, textures are fine and well rendered, there's no blocking or pixilation. Having been sourced from the original digital files this image is super clean and vibrant. It's not just reference quality, it's one of the absolute best transfers committed to this format since its inception. That might be saying a lot, but trust me, it's that good.

Audio

The blu-ray includes five audio tracks in English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround mixed at 48kHz/24-bit as well as an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround also mixed at 48kHz/24-bit, a French Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 EX tracks as well as an English Descriptive Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track for the visually impaired. For the purposes of this review I chose to view this film with its DTS-HD 7.1 track. Much like the image the audio is perfect. It's a terrific track with solid, clear and distortion free dialogue, beautifully subtle and natural ambient and environmental surrounds, but also gets aggressive and action packed during the more rousing moments of the film. The audio track is robust and balanced, with a nice layer of depth and range aided by the film's score that implants an emotionality to the pictures that Pixar have rendered. The audio mix is superb, simply put it's fantastic.
Optional subtitles are included in English, English for the hearing impaired, French and Spanish.

Extras

Disney releases "Toy Story 3" in a four-disc deluxe set that features two Blu-rays, a DVD and a digital copy of the film. Featured as supplements are a short film, a collection of featurettes, a picture-in-picture video commentary, an alternative commentary, an interactive game a series of publicity materials that include theatrical trailers, TV and web spots, a poster gallery and bonus trailers. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

DISC ONE: BLU-RAY

"Day and Night" is a short film (2010) that runs for 6 minutes 5 seconds, directed by Teddy Newton. Theatrically this short film screened prior to the feature, much like other Pixar films, this one is another imaginative and unique piece that not only stands on it's own but it wholly original. The concept is of two characters one Day and the other Night, differing personalities that don't get along but eventually find common ground.

"Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science of Adventure" is a featurette that runs for 4 minutes 25 seconds, this is cool informative clip for the kids with Buzz exploring the fundamentals of science in space, experiments in microgravity, Earth science from a spaceship ad the physics of a shuttle descent in this promo for NASA.

"Toys!" is the next featurette which runs for 6 minutes 37 seconds. This clip explores the various characters in this film as the Pixar crew talk about how many new characters there are, designing a plethora of toys and how to rebuild the characters in CG using the latest tools. The clip also looks at the way "Spanish" Buzz was conceived as well as the toys of Sunnyside daycare.

bonus trailers include:

- "Disney Blu-ray 3D" spot runs for 1 minute 25 seconds.
- "Tangled" runs for 1 minute 45 seconds.
- "Santa Paws" runs for 1 minute 22 seconds.
- "Bambi: Diamond Edition" runs for 1 minute 15 seconds.
- "Cars 2" runs for 35 seconds.
- "Mater's Tall Tales" runs for 1 minute 31 seconds.
- "The Incredibles" runs for 1 minute 17 seconds.
- "Disney Parks" spot runs for 58 seconds.
- "DisneyFile Digital Copy" spot runs for 1 minute 4 seconds.

The disc also features the "Maximize your Home Theater" tool, that allows you to place your TV settings at the optimal levels for HD viewing.

DISC TWO: BLU-RAY SUPPLEMENTS

This disc is broken down into four sections. The first of which is entitled "Family Play" and features the following supplements:

"The Gang's All Here" featurette runs for 10 minutes 46 seconds, in this clip we look at assembling the cast back together again for the third film, on how the characters have become icons over the years and how great it was to reunite once again for another adventure as well as the new cast members assembled as well as working with director Lee Unkrich.

"Goodbye Andy" featurette runs for 8 minutes 2 seconds, this clip focuses on creating the characters and differentiating between the humans and the toys. The technology has progressed so much over the years that creating more believable human CG characters is a possibility as well as the themes of the emotionally charged scenes towards the end of the film with Andy saying goodbye to his toys.

"Accidental Toymakers" featurette runs for 3 minutes 56 seconds, The characters created for these films are not only animated toys onscreen but this clip looks at how the characters translated into real toys. It's interesting to learn that originally almost every toy company passed on making the toys for cross-promotion for the first film, and looks at the success of these characters not only as screen icons but actual toys you can buy.

"A Toy's Eye View: Creating a Whole New Land" featurette runs for 5 minutes 19 seconds, takes a look at how the "Toy Story" characters and brand into the Disney theme parks, it's mostly a promo clip on the various attractions that are based on these films at the various Disney Parks and how they were conceived and built.

"Epilogue" featurette runs for 4 minutes 23 seconds, this is the sequence at the end of the film in full just without the film's credits rolling over it.

The next section of the disc is entitled "Film Fans", in this section you'll find the more technical supplements for the older viewer. Included here are:

The "Cine-Explore" picture-in-picture video commentary by director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson, this feature runs for 102 minutes 33 seconds and is an interactive collection of clips that take viewers inside the making of the film from the filmmaker's perspective and offer insight into the challenging and demanding aspects of creating an animated film. We get a look at the story elements, the planning and storyboarding, the reuniting of the cast, the animation stages. There's a bevy of animation concepts and art, lots of early stage work and a wonderful exploration of that material with the track participants. It's a truly fantastic supplement that covers almost every you need to know about making this film and how passionate the Pixar crew are at creating these films and sharing them with the world.

There's also "Beyond the Toybox: An Alternative Commentary Track" audio commentary by supervising animators Bobby Podesta and Mike Venturini, supervising technical director Guido Quaroni, production designer Bob Pauley and story supervisor Jason Katz follows. This track is a mostly technical offering as the animators take us through the design phase and animation process. The participants aren't as engaging as Unkrich and Anderson in the previous track, but none-the-less interesting.

The featurettes included in this section are among the best video-based extra on the disc, the first is "Roundin' Up a Western Opening" featurette that runs for 5 minutes 42 seconds and takes a closer look at the opening sequence of the film, from concept to completion, included are some storyboards that show the development process of the scene.

"Bonnie's Playtime: A Story Roundtable" featurette runs for 6 minutes 26 seconds, and is a discussion with director Lee Unkrich, head of story Jason Katz, and story artists Eric Benson, Matt Luhn, and Adrian Molina of the Bonnie character, her toys and their story arc.

"Beginnings: Setting a Story in Motion" featurette runs for 8 minutes 13 seconds, This clip takes a closer look at the story, from the development, story plotting, screenplay as well as a look at the writing process, themes and characters among other things.

"Life of a Shot" featurette runs for 6 minutes 57 seconds, this clip focuses on the opening sequence again as the Pixar crew take us through the creation of a shot within that scene. It's interesting but all to brief, a much more complex and deeper explanation of the the process would have been much more welcomed, however this is pretty good.

"Making of Day and Night" featurette runs for 2 minutes, is a look at the making of the short film that originally played prior to the feature film, the short is located on the first disc, it's a nice, yet short clip but would have been better placed n the first disc with the actual short itself.

"Paths to Pixar: Editorial" featurette runs for 4 minutes 38 seconds, takes a look at the editorial department and the challenges of editing animation.

Next is a collection of three funny "Studio Stories" featurettes, humorously presented slices-of-life and anecdotes from the Pixar offices that include:

- "Where's Gordon" runs for 2 minutes 16 seconds.
- "Cereal Bars" runs for 1 minute 36 seconds.
- "Clean Start" runs for 3 minutes 5 seconds.

The third section on this disc is entitled "Games & Activities" and includes a single interactive game, call me nit picky but if you're going to pluralize the words in the section heading then there should be more than one game or activity. The interactive game "Toy Story Trivia Dash" runs for 81 minutes 57 seconds, this is a neat game that offers trivia from the entire trilogy. It's a 2-player game and can be played using your remote or via BD-Live using your smart phone.

The final section on this disc is the "Publicity" section which features the promotional material created for the film:

"Grab Bag" featurette runs for 4 minutes, is a funny reel featuring Mr. Potato Head.

A collection of commercials are included for:

- "Ken's Dating Tips" commercial runs for 1 minute 30 seconds.
- "Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear" commercial #1" runs for 30 seconds.
- "Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear" commercial #2 (Japan)" runs for 30 seconds.

"Making of 'Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear' commercials" featurette runs for 1 minute 28 seconds, this brief clip looks at the making of these promotional commercials.

Three web spots are:

- "Internet Chat" web spot runs for 1 minute.
- "Security Cam" web spot runs for 1 minute 12 seconds.
- "Gadgets" web spot runs for 58 seconds.

"'Dancing with the Stars' at Pixar" featurette runs for 2 minutes 21 seconds, the dancers from the popular reality competition show stop by Pixar for a visit... who cares? This is the most uninteresting clip on the entire disc.

A series of seven "Toy Story 3" theatrical trailers, they include:

- "Silence" theatrical trailer runs for 40 seconds.
- "Antipiracy" theatrical trailer runs for 1 minute.
- Teaser trailer runs for 1 minute 44 seconds.
- Theatrical trailer #1 runs for 2 minutes 21 seconds.
- Theatrical trailer #2 runs for 2 minutes 30 seconds.
- Japanese theatrical trailer runs for 1 minute 2 seconds.
- Japanese theatrical trailer runs for 2 minutes 44 seconds.

"Character Intros" are a series of TV spots that run for 2 minutes.

There's also a poster gallery which features a series of 25 images.

DISC TWO: DVD

This disc includes an audio commentary by director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson, it's basically a cut-down version of the the "Cine-Explore" without all the cool interactive stuff...

Also included are the "Day and Night" is a short film, "Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science of Adventure" is a featurette, "Studio Stories" featurettes, "Paths to Pixar: Editorial" featurette, "Toys!" featurette, "A Toy's Eye View: Creating a Whole New Land" featurette and "The Gang's All Here" featurette, all included on the Blu-ray.

The disc also features bonus trailers for:

- "Disney Blu-ray" spot runs for 1 minute 3 seconds.
- "Tangled" runs for 1 minute 45 seconds.
- "Santa Paws" runs for 1 minute 22 seconds.
- "Bambi: Diamond Edition" runs for 1 minute 15 seconds.
- "Cars 2" runs for 35 seconds.
- "Mater's Tall Tales" runs for 1 minute 31 seconds.
- "The Incredibles" runs for 1 minute 17 seconds.
- "Disney Parks" spot runs for 58 seconds.
- "DisneyFile Digital Copy" spot runs for 1 minute 4 seconds.

DISC THREE: DIGITAL COPY

This is a digital copy of the film for portable media players.

Packaging

Packaged in a deluxe 4-disc Blu-ray keep case housed in cardboard slip-case.

Overall

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

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.