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Toy Story 2: Special Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 15, 2010 by  



Entertaining, hilarious and fun for the entire family!  “Toy Story 2: Special Edition” on Blu-ray is easily the definitive version to own.  Awesome picture quality, lossless audio and plenty of special features, this BD release is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © WDSHE. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Toy Story 2: Special Edition

DURATION: 92 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English DVS 2.0 Dolby, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital EX

COMPANY: Pixar/Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: G (General Audiences)

RELEASE DATE: March 23, 2010

Directed by John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, Lee Unkrich

Story by John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Standton, Ash Brannon

Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Rita Hsiao, Doug Chamberlin and Chris Webb

Executive Produced by Sarah McArthur

Produced by Karen Robert Jackson, Helene Plotkin

Music by Randy Newman

Cinematography by Sharon Calahan

Edited by Edie Bleiman, David Ian Salter, Lee Unkrich

Casting by Mary Hidalgo, Ruth Lambert

Production Design by William Cone, Jim Pearson

Featuring the Voices of:

Tom Hanks as Woody

Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear

Joan Cusack as Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl

Kelsey Grammer as Stinky Pete the Prospector

Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head

Jim Varney as Slinky Dog

Wallace Shawn as Rex the Green Dinosaur

John Ratzenberger as Hamm the Piggy Bank

Annie Potts as Bo Peep

John Morris as Andy

Wayne Knight as Al the Toy Collector

Laurie Metcalf as Andy’s Mom

R. Lee Ermey as the Army Sergeant

Joe Ranft as Wheezy the Penguin

A Golden Globe® Award winner for Best Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical, Toy Story 2 has become a favorite all across the world, garnering praise from fans and critics everywhere. It’s “an instant classic,” raved New York Magazine. While Andy is away at summer camp, Woody is toynapped by Al McWhiggin, a greedy collector who needs Andy’s favorite toy to complete his “Woody’s Roundup” collection. Together with Jessie (voiced by Joan Cusack), Bullseye, and the Prospector, Woody is on his way to a museum where he’ll spend the rest of his life behind glass. It’s up to Buzz, Mr. Potato Head, Hamm, Rex, and Slinky Dog to rescue their friend and remind him what being a toy is all about.

In November 1999, the sequel “Toy Story 2” was released in theaters and the $90 million dollar film like its predecessor did extremely well in the domestic and worldwide box office making over $485 million.

What is interesting was that the film was originally not intended for a theatrical sequel but a direct-to-video release.  When Disney execs were pleased with the results, Pixar Animation Studio staff literally were on overdrive as they had only 8 months to finish the film, when the usual animated film by the company takes four years.  Needless to say that while the making of the film was stressful and even some the film’s animator’s suffering repetitive stress injuries for working nearly 40-straight hours (rarely any sleep) shifts, the company made what was impossible…possible.

And now with a third film to be released in the Summer of 2010, 11-years-later, both “Toy Story” 1 and 2 films will be released on Blu-ray.

In “Toy Story 2”, with Andy planning to go to Summer Camp for the weekend, he’s all prepared to bring Woody along.  That is until he accidentally rips Woody’s arm while playing with his toys before he was set to leave and thus is forced to leave Woody at home.

While Andy is gone to summer camp, his mother will be having a yard sale and all of Andy’s toys start to fear that they may be the next ones to be sold.  The majority of Andy’s toys are safe with the exception of a penguin named Wheezy (voiced by Joe Ranft).  Immediately, Woody goes to save Wheezy on his own and with the help of Andy’s dog Buster are successful but in the process, Woody falls off and a collector ends up finding him and wanting to buy him.

But his mother knows that is Andy’s favorite toy and puts him back in her money drawer, telling the buyer that Woody is not for sale.  But the buyer makes a diversion and steals Woody.  Immediately, Buzz Lightyear goes to rescue and free Woody but is unable to.  But Buzz manages to get his license plate.

Buzz finds out that the license plate is for Al’s Toy Barn and we see that the person who stole Woody is Al McWhiggin, the owner of the toy store.  Immediately, Buzz recruits a search party which includes Mr. Potato Head, Rex the Dinosaur, Hamm the Piggy Bank and Slinky Dog and are off to Al’s Toy Barn to rescue him.

Meanwhile, during captivity, Woody is met with a group of toys he doesn’t know but seem to know a lot about him.  The group are part of “Woody’s Roundup”, a children’s show from the ’50s and consist of Jessie the yodeling cowgirl (voiced by Joan Cusack), Stinky Pete the Prospector (voiced by Kelsey Grammer) and Woody’s horse companion Bullseye.  The three show Woody footage from the show and immediately it all comes back to Woody.  Woody then sees all the toys that were created for “Woody’s Roundup” and the whole gang is excited because now they can be a complete set when they are sold.

But Woody doesn’t want to be sold.  He wants to return to Andy.  And unfortunately, this doesn’t go to well with the Roundup gang especially Jessie who is disappointed by Woody.

As Al McWhiggin plans to sell the “Woody’s Roundup” gang to a buyer in Japan, will Woody escape in time or be rescued by his friends. Or will he end up being sold and moved to Japan?

VIDEO:

“Toy Story 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1).   The first thing one will notice (especially after watching “Toy Story 1”) is how much detail is included in “Toy Story 2” (and after watching the special features, you’ll see how much have improved over a decade later with the sneak peak of “Toy Story 3”).

For the most part, “Toy Story 2” has improved animated-wide by including much more detail and textures as seen during the close-ups of Mr. Potato Head (you can see the texture as you would see from the actual toy), the plastic covering on the package of Stinky Pete, the detail of Rex the Dinosaur, more shading and the scenery of the outdoors, from vehicles to the store, the trees, the ground and everything you can think of, looks much better than its counterpart.

And of course, on Blu-ray, you see the detail and the amazing clarity.  Colors are absolutely vibrant,  you can see details and textures which come alive on HD and for an animated film that came out in 1999, even over a decade later, this animated film looks much, much better than a few of the animated TV shows and films that we today.

Also, the movements of the characters are just well-animated.  From the characters of “Woody’s Roundup” dancing, the toys and their walking movements.  The movements were very good on the first film but they improved on it for the sequel.  Very impressive.

Overall, wonderful picture quality for this sequel.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Toy Story 2 ” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Maser Audio and English 2.0 DTS-HD, English DVS 2.0 Dolby, Spanish and French Dolby Digital EX and I was amazed by the lossless audio quality for the first film on Blu-ray but for this sequel.  WOW!  Lossless audio is amazing.  Just the first few minutes of the beginning of “Toy Story 2” as we see the Buzz Lightyear video game sequence, we are treated with an immersive soundscape with the center, front and surround channels being utilized as well as LFE.   The film has a good amount of action sequences as Buzz Lightyear #1 takes on Buzz Lightyear #2 along with Emperor Zurg.  We hear the Cheetos snap when Woody steps on them and much more.

Sound is crystal clear and overall, another impressive lossless soundtrack.

As for subtitles, subtitles are presented in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Toy Story 2” includes the following special features:

  • Characters: An Exclusive Sneak Peek At Toy Story 3 – (4:00) A sneak peek at the new characters and the talent voicing the new characters for “Toy Story 3”.
  • Director Commentary
  • Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs:
    o Episode Two: International Space Station – (3:43) Buzz reports back about his adventure to the International Space Station.
  • Paths to Pixar: Technical Artists – (4:24) In this series of shorts, Pixar artists talk about their career path and share advice to aspiring filmmakers and animators.
  • Studio Stories: A series of amusing anecdotal shorts about life at Pixar.
    o “Toy Story 2 Sleep Deprivation Lab” – (1:25) This short featurette gives audiences an inside peek into the intense time pressures under which the Toy Story 2 editors found themselves.
    o “Studio Stories: Pinocchio” – (2:15) This short featurette shows an impromptu competition between the animators to decorate their workspace by throwing toys into the ceiling.
    o “Studio Stories: The Movie Vanishes” – (2:32) This short featurette tells how a mischievous technical error almost erased all of Toy Story 2 from the computer system.
  • Pixar’s Zoetrope – (1:58) A look at the creation of the live-action zoetrope that Pixar created to capture the principles of animation in a live sculpture.
  • Celebrating our Friend Joe Ranft – (12:46) A tribute to beloved Disney and Pixar story man Joe Ranft, regarded as one of the industry’s most gifted story artists.
  • Making Toy Story 2 – (8:10)  A featurette on the making of the film, talking with director John Lasseter, crew and talent.
  • John Lasseter Profile – (3:02)  Crew and talent talk about working with John Lasseter.
  • Cast of Characters – (3:28)  A featurette on how the talent bring the characters to life and the new talent who provide the voices for the characters of  “Toy Story 2”.
  • Toy Box –  This section features outtakes (5:27), Jessie’s Gag (1:00), Who’s the Coolest Toy (3:19), Riders in the Sky Music Medley (3:11) and autographed pictures (:45).
  • Deleted Scenes – (4:11) Featuring deleted animation intro (:47), Godzilla Rex (1:28) and Crossing the Road (1:56).
  • Design – A featurette on the design of each character (Galleries), the 3D-Visualization and the colorization of the characters.
  • Production –  Featuring Designing Woody’s Past (2:50), Making Woody’s Roundup (1:51), Production Tour (2:31), Early Animation Tests (3:04), Special Effects (1:38) and International Scene (1:47).
  • Music & Sound – Featuring Designing Sound (5:38), Making the Songs (3:25), Woody’s Roundup” Music Video (2:17) and “Jessie’s Song” Randy Newman Video (2:48).
  • Publicity – Featuring Character Interviews (2:05), Trailers (3:24), TV Spots (2:12), Posters (:50) and Baseball Woody (:18).

EXTRA:

Included in the “Toy Story 2” Special Edition is a DVD of “Toy Story. The DVD is featured in Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions and is in English 5.1 EX with English SDH subtitles.

Having gone crazy for the Blu-ray release of “Toy Story 1”, I can easily say that this Blu-ray release for the sequel is equally impressive and a title definitely worth owning and worth having in your Blu-ray collection.

Although, I enjoyed the storyline for the first film much more, I enjoyed the second film because of the additional characters and the animation showed great improvement nearly five years after the first was made.  But since the release of the film on VHS and on DVD (multiple times), I have owned each release because these films are both magnificent.

The voice talent and acting is top notch, the storyline is well-written and Pixar Animation Studios set the bar higher then and they continue to set the bar higher now when it comes to CG animated films.

And so far, every Pixar Animation Studio release on Blu-ray have been nothing short of magnificent.  From the Blu-ray releases of “A Bug’s Life” and “Monster’s Inc.” (and yes, we are still waiting for that Blu-ray release of “Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles”) and their releases from “Cars” all the way up to their 2009 film “Up”, when it comes to new releases that are Pixar related, so far we have been given awesome picture quality, awesome lossless audio and plenty of special features.  “Toy Story” 1 and 2 are among those films that just look and sound fantastic but also additional content to keep any animation fan happy.

I will say that if you own the “Ultimate Toy Box Set” that was released in 1999, you will want to hang on to that set because although the Blu-ray’s do have new additional content, a lot of content from the Ultimate Toy Box Set are NOT included on the Blu-ray release.

“Toy Story 2” is just an enjoyable family film that holds up well today, over a decade later and will still produce plenty of laughs and even in today’s world of awesome CG animation, you can’t help but see this vibrant film and just enjoy it on so many levels.  Just seeing the detail and texture and how much the film had improve within the last five years from the original film is incredible.  And the fact that the employees busted their heart and soul to get this film done in eight months vs. the usual four years is equally impressive.

With the release of both special edition “Toy Story” films on Blu-ray, these are the definitive versions of the film to own and for those like myself who have owned several versions of “Toy Story”, the upgrade to Blu-ray is definitely well worth it and highly recommended!






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Comments

  • Pat

    “I will say that if you own the “Ultimate Toy Box Set” that was released in 1999, you will want to hang on to that set because although the Blu-ray’s do have new additional content, a lot of content from the Ultimate Toy Box Set are NOT included on the Blu-ray release.”

    Thank you, thank you, thank you… this is the crux of what I wanted to know. I am a nutball collector of movies, and being able to read paragraphs like this saves me a lot of time sifting through features and popping discs in and out, deciding what to do with my collection. I'll be hanging on to the Toy Box.

    Excellent review.

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