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Toy Story 3: 4-Disc Combo Pack (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 28, 2010 by  



Magnificent!  “Toy Story 3” is everything you can ask for in a Blu-ray release… Perfection in every category…picture quality, audio quality and loaded with special features.  A five-star release!

Images courtesy of © Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Toy Story 3: Special Edition

DURATION: 92 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English 5.1 DTS Master Audio, French & Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, English 2.0 DVS, Subtitles: English SDH, French & Spanish Subtitles

COMPANY: Pixar/Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: G (General Audiences)

RELEASE DATE: November 3, 2010

Directed by Lee Unkrich

Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Standton, Lee Unkrich

Screenplay by Michael Arndt

Executive Produced by John Lasseter

Produced by Darla K. Anderson

Music by Randy Newman

Casting by Natalie Lyon, Kevin Reher

Featuring the Voices of:

Tom Hanks as Woody

Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear

Joan Cusack as Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl

Ned Beatty as Lotso

Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head

Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head

Blake Clark 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

Michael Keaton as Ken

Jodi Benson as Barbie

Emily Hahn as Bonnie

Laurie Metcalf as Andy’s Mom

Bud Luckey as Chuckles

Beatrice Miller as Molly

Javier Fernandez Pena as Spanish Buzz

Timothy Dalton as Mr. Pricklepants

Lori Alan as Bonnie’s Mom

Charlie Bright as Young Andy

Kristen Schaal as Trixie

Jeff Garlin as Buttercup

Bonnie Hunt as Dolly

Whoopi Goldberg as Stretch

Toy Story 3 marks Pixar veteran Lee Unkrich’s feature directorial debut and the return of Pixar’s favorite composer Randy Newman, with the addition of Academy Award®-winner Michael Arndt’s (Little Miss Sunshine) compelling original screenplay. Tom Hanks (Angels & Demons), Tim Allen (The Santa Clause), Joan Cusack (Confessions of a Shopaholic), John Ratzenberger (Up) and Don Rickles (Toy Story 2) reprise their roles as the voices of the iconic characters Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Hamm and Mr. Potato Head, respectively, and are joined by new characters voiced by Michael Keaton (Herbie Fully Loaded) as Barbie’s romantic foil Ken, Timothy Dalton (Hot Fuzz) as the thespian hedgehog Mr. Pricklepants, and Ned Beatty (Rudy) as the cuddly Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear, among many others, as the toys face a new adventure as Andy prepares to go off to college.


“Toy Story”, the film that would earn animation company Pixar Animation Studios the reputation of being the finest animation studio in the world and would literally bring Walt Disney Studios to enter new generation of animated films created entirely in CGI but also would earn the love and praise not only from the critics but the fans who wanted more and more.

Released in 1995 and budgeted at $30 million, the first film would go on to make $351 million worldwide (and still making money with the recent Blu-ray release).

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.

But it has been more than a decade since the release of a “Toy Story” film and 15 years since the first film, fans have been clamoring for a new “Toy Story” film and sure enough, Disney/Pixar released the third and final film of the trilogy, “Toy Story 3” in June 2010 and not only did it surpass the box office returns of the first two films combined, earning over 1 billion dollars, the second Disney film to earn over a billion after “Alice in Wonderland” (also released in 2010).

“Toy Story 3” literally shattered box office records and became the 5th highest grossing film of all time worldwide and the 9th highest grossing film in the US (and obviously the highest grossing film of 2010) and is an ultimate success for Disney/Pixar.

“Toy Story 3” begins with a young Andy playing with his toys in one of the adventures with Woody, Buzz, Jesse and friends.  And his mother shoots him on video and we see how Andy has grown up and used to play with his toys all the time.

But that was then.

Now, Andy is a 17-year-old preparing to leave college.  He has since outgrown his toys and keeps them in his toy trunk.  Woody and friends come up with one final plan for Andy to play with them before he goes to college but the plan doesn’t work.  Woody tries to keep everyone optimistic that perhaps when they travel with Woody to college and when he gets married, his own children will play with the toys.  If anything, Buzz mostly cares that everyone stays together no matter what.

But as he plans to leave for college and his sister will be moving to his bedroom, he needs to separate what is going with him to college, what is going to the attic, what toys will be donated to Sunnyside Daycare and what is going in the trash.  Of course, Woody tries to keep them optimistic that Andy would never throw them away but when he grabs all the toys and puts them in the trash bag and Woody is the only one to be put in the box for college, the toys start to worry that they will be separated.

But as Woody watches Andy, he learns that Andy plans to put them in the attic but as he goes to help his sister carry her toys that she will be sending to Sunnyside Daycare, he leaves the trash bag with his toys on the ground and his mother mistakes it for toys that Andy wants to trash.

Andy’s mother puts his toys to the curb to be trashed and Woody immediately goes to rescue them but with quick thinking, Buzz and friends manage to escape just fine and hop into the box that Andy’s sister was donating and are headed to Sunnyside Day care.  As Woody tries to explain to them that it was a mistake, it is too late and Buzz, Jesse and friends are on their way to the daycare and feel that they rather go to a place where they will be played with instead of being stuck in an attic.

And immediately, the group are excited about their new home as they see many toys all around.  Could this be a toyland where toys can live and be happy?  Meanwhile, Barbie finds herself attracted to Ken (and vice versa) and the group learns that the toy that is responsible for making the decisions at the day care is Lots-O-Huggin’ Bear (aka “Lotso”), who tells them of how great a place Sunnyside Daycare is.  As Woody finds his way to the Daycare and tries to have all his friends come home with him, unfortunately, they feel that their place is at the Daycare where they know they will be played with.

As Buzz and the group are excited about their new home, they anxiously await to be played with by the children.  But they soon learn that the room they are staying at is a daycare class for the very young children who don’t care about the toys and do whatever with them (including destroy them).  As for Woody,  seeing that no one wanted to leave with him, now he must find a way back home from the Daycare and it’s not going to be easy.  But fortunately he is found by a young girl from the daycare named Bonnie who takes him home.

At the daycare, Buzz and the group realized that Sunnyside Daycare is not what they expected and at this rate, they will be abused, tortured or destroyed.  So, the group decides that they want to be transferred to a new room with older kids and as Buzz goes to to talk to Lotso about transferring them, they are caught by the toys of Sunnyside and brought to Lotso.

As Lotso hears Buzz out, he agrees to accept Buzz as part of his team but not the others.  Buzz refuses to leave the others behind and seeing how dark and cold Lotso is, he tries to escape but in the end, he is captured and his memory is reset and now, Buzz is back to his original space ranger mode.

Woody learns from the other toys (who were rescued by Bonnie at the daycare) that Sunnyside is actually a toy prison that is run by Lotso who is ruthless and has no sympathy towards the other toys because his original owner had lost and replaced him.  And thus, he has run Sunnyside Daycare with an iron fist.  And now, Woody knows he must rescue his friends.

As for his friends, they try to escape from the Daycare but are caught by Lotto’s henchman including the newly reset Buzz Lightyear and are imprisoned.

Will Buzz be able to get back into Sunnyside Daycare and rescue his friends and return back to Andy’s home?

VIDEO:

When I watched “Toy Story 1” and “Toy Story 2”, I easily noticed how CGI had improved between 1995 and 1999, especially with how fabric started to show more detail and we started to see more of a surface to Mr. Potato Head and T-Rex.

But “Toy Story 3”, eleven years later, you would expect CGI to take a dramatic leap forward and needless to say, “Toy Story 3” is visually impressive.

Presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio), the first thing you notice with “Toy Story 3” are the vibrant colors and then overall detail.  Everything shows detail and as we learn from this Blu-ray release, the animators wanted to make sure that the characters themselves do not look like toys, that they wanted to make sure the characters and toys are distinguished and the animators succeeded in every way possible.

Mr. Potato Head, you literally see the surface like the actual toy, down to its seams.  Look at the hardwood floors in Andy’s room, so much detail on the floor that it looks realistic, even some outdoor scenes look photorealistic (especially the animation and CG shown during Lotso’s past, wow!).  And the fabric of the clothing, you can see the threading, the weaves and how much detail went into the clothing. One scene with the monkey, it looks like a stuffed monkey with its detail, the detail of it’s clothing and scary eyes, these models look fantastic!  Also, see the dirt and grime on the animals, that was awesome how they captured that in the film.

The hair even was well-done, the wear and tear that the toys go through at Sunnyside Daycare is evident through the nicks and scratches and also looking at Andy’s trunk and seeing the little chips on the trunk to the paint and we can see the brush strokes on the walls, “Toy Story 3” just looks magnificent on Blu-ray and I don’t see how any videophile can say anything negative about how this film looks on Blu-ray.

And facial expressions of the human characters such as Andy, his sister, his mother to Bonnie, these were well-animated and rendered.

I did notice some banding but times I did see it were short.  For example, when Woody is back at Sunnyside, he is holding the red phone receiver and the banding is evident in that one scene but again, the scenes you do see it are seconds long and does not distract you from how fantastic this film looks.

This is the best looking Disney/Pixar film to date!  Vibrant, detailed and everything about the picture quality is going to make videophiles swoon!  It’s that impressive and easily a reference quality Blu-ray release for picture quality!

As for the accompanying DVD, the DVD is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1).

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Toy Story 3 ” is presented in English 7.1 DTS Master Audio and English 5.1 DTS Master Audio.  Also, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital EX is included as well as English 2.0 DVS.

All I can say is that “Toy Story 3” sounds magnificent.  The first action scenes that startoff the film will show you how awesome this film sounds in lossless.  From Mrs. Potato Head’s voice coming from the surround channels, sounds coming from the rear surround channels, LFE being utilized for the evil Dr. Porkchop’s laser beam or when Mr. Potato Head has Slinky Dog turn on its force field and Jesse calling on T-Rex, this is just impressive to hear the sound coming from all channels.

Dialogue is crystal clear and music is just as clear!  And you then hear how the sound is utilized during the children’s rush to get the toys as they slam them all over the place, the garbage dump as everything is being compacted and you can hear flames pattering, the garbage truck coming from the distance, tiny footstep sounds throughout the room… really, there are so many sounds that are well-utilized throughout this film, it’s very impressive!  Sure, the film is not 100% action-based but action and non-action scenes, the film sounds fantastic on Blu-ray and I didn’t even notice a lot of these sounds at the theater when I watched this film this past summer.

So, you really experience a  great, immersive soundscape with “Toy Story 3” from all channels, especially via LFE. Not only is picture quality hitting the high marks for reference quality, the lossless audio is just as magnificent and audiophiles should be happy with this Blu-ray release as well!

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.  For the special features, some extras have other subtitles included.

As for the accompanying DVD, the DVD is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital EX and 2.0 DVS.  Subtitles are in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Toy Story 3” includes the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Day and Night Theatrical Short – (5:58) The Day and Night short animated film that was shown before “Toy Story 3” in theaters.
  • Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science of Adventure – (4:25) Buzz teaches Hamm and T-Rex about space and people working in space to benefit science on Earth.
  • Toys! – (6:38) The crew guess of how many toys are in this film.  And also an introduction of the new toy characters in “Toy Story 3”.

DISC 2:

  • The Gang’s All Here – (10:46)  The voice talent and crew of “Toy Story 3” reflect on the past and present and working on “Toy Story 3” and reuniting with everyone and also bringing in new voice talent/characters.
  • Goodbye Andy – (8:02) A featurette about John Morris reprising his role as Andy and information on the animation and storyboarding of those Andy scenes.
  • Accidental Toymakers – (3:56) A story of how most toy manufacturers never wanted to take on “Toy Story” in the past and how the toys became a mega hit for a small toy company (Thinkway Toys) and the plans for making the toys for “Toy Story 3”.
  • A Toy’s Eye View: Creating a Whole New Land – (5:14) A featurette on bringing the “Toy Story” characters to the Disney theme parks and creating a new “Toy Story” land for the Disney theme park in Paris.
  • Epilogue – (4:23) The final epilogue from the film.
  • Cinexplore – (1:42:30) While watching the film, you get a picture-in-picture screen featuring the storyboard sketches, concept art and CG models with commentary by director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson.
  • Beyond the Toybox – (1:42:30) An alternative commentary track the Supervising Animators, Supervising Technical Director, Production Designer and Stor Supervisor of “Toy Story 3”.  Featuring leads from story, tech, art and animation.
  • Roundin’ Up a Western Opening – (5:42) A featurette about how the western opening was developed and what the original conception was for the film and how it changed in the final cut.  Also, how to reintroduce the characters and making the introduction action-packed.
  • Bonnie’s Playtime: A Story’s Roundtable – (6:26) A roundtable with director Lee Unkrich and crew in a roundtable and creating the Bonnie scene and the challenges they faced and the goals they wanted to accomplish.
  • Beginnings: Setting a Story In Motion – (8:13) An animated featurette on creating a script from scratch by “Toy Story 3” screenwriter Michael Arndt and doing it the Pixar way.
  • Life of a Shot – (6:57) Producer Darla K. Anderson talks about modeling and how hundreds of people worked in this film and showcases various staff talking about colors, sets, painting, styling, animating, effects, shot lighting, music and more for “Toy Story 3”.
  • Making of Day & Night – (2:00) The creation of the “Day and Night” short animated film (which was screened right before “Toy Story 3” in theaters).
  • Paths of Pixar – Editorial – (4:38) Featuring the editing staff at Pixar and what their jobs were in “Toy Story 3”.  From the story, cutting, adding and the various work done in the editing department and the various jobs by the editor and the control in filmmaking that they have and communicating with the director.  Also, learning how the staff began in their job and more.
  • Studio Stories: Where’s Gordon – (2:16) A story by a man named Gordon talking about working at Pixar and discovering a secret room (in which one must crawl through a vent to get through) and how that room became a party room at Pixar.
  • Studio Stories: Cereal Bar – (1:36) Life at Pixar and having a cereal bar at work and why cereal is important at Pixar.
  • Studio Stories: Clean Start -(3:05)  The crazy things that staff did near the final stages of “Toy Story 3”.
  • Toy Story Trivia Dash – A trivia based game featuring questions from  “Toy Story 3” or “Toy Story 1-3”.  You only have a certain amount of time to answer and you use your number pad on your Blu-ray remote (or PC) to choose the correct answer.
  • Grab Bag – (4:00) Various publicity clips of the “Toy Story 3” characters in how would “Toy Story 3″ would be in 3D?”.
  • Ken’s Dating Tips – (1:30) Short publicity clips for “Toy Story 3” featuring Ken giving dating clips.
  • Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear Commercial 1 – (:30) A “Toy Story 3” viral ad l featuring Lotso in a ’80s style toy commercial.
  • Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear Commercial 2 – (:30) A Japanese ’80s style toy commercial (viral ad) featuring Lotso.
  • Making of the Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear Commercials – (1:28) The making of the 1983 Lotso commercials and challenges they had in making the commercial.
  • Internet Chat – (1:00) A “Toy Story 3” commercial featuring Buzz and friends using Internet chat.
  • Security Cam – (1:12) A “Toy Story 3” commercial ala security camera.
  • Gadgets – (:58) A “Toy Story 3” car commercial featuring the previous and new characters.
  • “Dancing with the Stars” at Pixar – (2:21)  A featurette on how the crew at “Toy Story 3” worked with “Dancing with the Stars” dancers Cheryl Burke and Tony Dovolani for the dancing scenes.
  • TS3 Silence Trailer – (:40) A commercial promoting silence when watching “Toy Story 3”.
  • TS3 Antipiracy Trailer – (1:04) An anti-piracy trailer.
  • TS3 Teaser Trailer – (1:44)  The “Toy Story 3” teaster trailer.
  • TS3 Trailer 2 – (2:21) “Toy Story 3” theatrical trailer #2
  • TS3 Trailer 3 – (2:30) “Toy story 3” theatrical trailer #3
  • TS3 Japan Teaser Trailer 1 – (1:02) Japanese teaser trailer (with English subtitles)
  • TS3 Japan Trailer 2 – (2:44) Japanese theatrical trailer (with English subtitles)
  • Character Intros – (2:00) Featuring several commercials promoting the new characters of “Toy Story 3”.
  • Poster Gallery – Using your remote, you can cycle through the various posters of “Toy Story 3”.

EXTRA:

Included in the “Toy Story 3: 4-Disc Combo Pack” is a DVD version of the film and a digital copy of the film.  The digital copy of the feature film works with iTunes and Windows Media Player.  Also, a slip over cover comes with this Blu-ray release.

I’m sure that “Toy Story 3” hit people a lot harder emotionally than some viewers.  Some look at it as the next level of wonderful CGI graphics for Disney/Pixar animated films, others look at the film as another successful film for the studio but I’m going to go even farther and say that this film caught my attention, not because I grew up with the previous two films but the fact is that like the character of Andy, during my late teens, it was time to say goodbye to all the toys that I once owned.

Memories of having friends overnight to play with these toys, memories of opening the old department store catalogs and hoping my grandparents would get me the latest toy that I picked out and then to open it in Christmas morning.  Suffice to say, when it came to my toys… I was very fortunate to have such a memorable time playing with them and having caring family to help support that habit.  But unlike Andy, I did not have the moment to say goodbye, it was more like, turn 16 and my parents made the conscious decision to throw out all my toys and force me to sell all my comic books and prepare for graduation and SAT tests and so forth.

Needless to say, it was not necessarily a traumatic moment but it was a defining moment…OK, who am I kidding, it was one of the saddest moments in my life.

So, “Toy Story 3” for me, was just a magnificent film that took me back to those old days of playing in my room and like Andy, having these wild adventures that I could conjure in my head and sooner or later, we grow older, become interested in different things and sooner or later, we say goodbye and prepare for our next stage in our lives as young adults.

I watched this film knowing that it was going to be successful and along with my wife, my son and my nephew, watched it in 3D the first day it came to theater.  But watching it on Blu-ray, without the usual audience distractions, my experience this time around was heightened.  Watching “Toy Story 3” in 1080p, I was amazed by how vibrant the film looked, how much detail was showcased.  From the little tears in Andy’s toy chest, the clothing of the characters, the dirt and grime on the toys, the wonderful lossless audio and then for me to watch the special features in three days because there are a good number of them included, I can’t help but feel that this is truly a perfect release.

Yes, I am sure the videophiles will say there was banding on the picture quality but those banding moments were few and were short.  Really, everything you love about the film, you get that and more in the “Toy Story 3: 4-Disc Combo Pack”. It’s important for people to know that if you don’t need the accompanying DVD or the digital copy, you can also purchase the Blu-ray two-disc version as well.

Personally, I can’t find one significant flaw with this Blu-ray release.  There is something for everyone in this release, may you be a fan of the film, a person wanting to learn about the animation business and learn from the awesome team at Pixar, there is just so much to love about this release that it’s definitely one of the top 10 Blu-ray releases of 2010 and that is pretty tough as this year alone had many significant releases, especially coming from Disney.  If anything, Walt Disney continues to raise the bar for its Blu-ray releases and I suppose since this is finale farewell for the “Toy Story” series (which I would imagine is not set in stone because “Toy Story” made an insane amount of money for Disney and “Toy Story 3” made over a billion dollars worldwide, I just can’t see this being a 100% final farewell), they had to go out with a bang for this Blu-ray release.

Overall, “Toy Story 3” is a film in which Pixar continues to their reign of innovation, their mark on quality of beautifully animated films and a well-written storyline that just pulls you in.  The Blu-ray release is not just for those who love “Toy Story 3” but for those who loved the “Toy Story” trilogy.  If you loved the first two films, then this is a no-brainer, this is a must-buy release.

“Toy Story 3: 4-Disc Combo Pack” is magnificent and is a true 5-star release!  Highly recommended!






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