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

March 14, 2010 by  

15 years later, “Toy Story”, the ultimate classic from Pixar/Disney gets the HD treatment on Blu-ray.  Awesome picture quality and lossless audio and plenty of special features.  This is the definitive version to own!  Highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © WDSHE. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Toy Story: Special Edition

DURATION: 81 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

Story by John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Standton, Joe Ranft

Screenplay by Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow

Executive Produced by Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs

Produced by Bonnie Arnold, Ralph Guggenheim

Music by Randy Newman

Edited by Robert Gordon, Lee Unkrich

Art Direction by Ralph Eggleston

Featuring the Voices of:

Tom Hanks as Woody

Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear

Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head

Jim Varney as Slinky Dog

Wallace Shawn as Rex

John Ratzenberger as Hamm

Annie Potts as Bo Peep

John Morris as Andy

Erik Von Detten as Sid

Laurie Metcalf as Andy’s Mom

R. Lee Ermey as Sergeant

Sarahe Freeman as Hannah

Toy Story, the first full-length computer-animated feature film, is “a wonder to behold.” – People Magazine. Experience a hilarious fantasy about the lives toys lead when they’re left alone. Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), an old-fashioned cowboy doll, is Andy’s favorite. But when Andy gets Buzz
Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen) for his birthday, the flashy new space hero takes Andy’s room by storm! Their rivalry leaves them lost with a toy’s worst nightmare — Sid, the toy-torturing boy next door. Woody and Buzz must work together to escape, realizing along the way that they’ve got a friend
… in each other!

When it comes to animated classics, “Toy Story” is definitely one title that is among a great group of titles.  Also, it was the first film for the CGI animation company Pixar, who would become the tour-de-force of creating animated CGI hits such as “A Bug’s Life”, “Cars”, “Monsters, Inc.”, “Finding Nemo”, “The Incredibles”, “Up”, “Wall-E” to name a few.

And set for launch on June 18, 2010 is “Toy Story 3” and to celebrate the upcoming film, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will be releasing “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” on Blu-ray.

The first “Toy Story” was co-written and directed by animator and Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter who has worked with Disney since 1983 with “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” and co-written by Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Joe Ranft.

Released in 1995, “Toy Story” was a major success as the $30 million dollar film went on to make over $361 million worldwide.

The film revolves around an old-fashioned cowboy doll named Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) who belongs to a young boy named Andy.  When Andy is not in his bedroom, his toys come to life.  Woody as the leader of the toys is joined by Mr. Potato Head (voiced by Don Rickles), Slinky Dog (voiced by Jim Varney), Hamm the piggy bank (voiced by John Ratzenberger), Rex the insecure Tyrannosaurus (voiced by Wallace Shawn), the porcelain Bo Peep (voiced by Annie Potts), Sarge the leader of the Army Men (voiced by R. Lee Ermey) and others.

With Andy celebrating his birthday, everyone knows that there will be new toys and of course, they worry if Andy will pay more attention to the toy that is coming to the home.  And sure enough, Andy gets Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen) for his birthday, a popular sci-fi action figure.

Immediately, Buzz enters Andy’s bedroom thinking that he has arrived in an inhabited planet but learns that he is joined by other toys.  A rivalry quickly develops between Woody and Buzz Lightyear as Andy starts to shift his attention to his new toy but also Buzz begins to become a popular toy amongst the other toys.

Meanwhile, while this is going on, Andy’s toys are shocked by Sid hurting another toy.  Everyone is scared of Sid but no one dares cross him and sure enough, Sid ends up blowing his toy up with a firecracker, to the dismay of Andy’s toys who are watching.

Buzz wants to save the toy, nut of course, Woody being jealous of Buzz tries to disprove Buzz especially his features and tries to remind him that they are toys which Buzz has a difficult time believing.

But the atmosphere changes when Woody knocks Buzz out the window and Woody quickly becomes the disliked toy amongst the group.  Fortunately, when Andy and his family go out for pizza, Andy grabs Woody but also Buzz manages to join them.  When Andy’s family arrives to the gas station and gets out of the car, Woody and Buzz get into a fight leaving both toys falling out of the car.  When Andy’s family arrives, they leave and thus both Woody and Buzz are left alone in the middle of nowhere.

Will Woody and Buzz managed to find their way back home?


“Toy Story” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1).  For a film that was created back in 1995, “Toy Story” still looks beautiful on Blu-ray.  Sure, the detail is nowhere near what we see on the “Toy Story 3” teaser (included on the special features) but the film just looks fantastic on Blu-ray.  For example, seeing the detail that was made for Rex the Tyrannosaurus, to the threading of the chairs, the vibrant colors of the film, the detail of the road and again, even for a film that is 15-years-old, it still rivals a few of the CG animated film and TV shows that we see in the present.  The film looks absolutely beautiful.


“Toy Story” 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 again, for a 15-year-old film, “Toy Story” sounds magnificent on lossless.  From dialogue and Randy Newman’s music coming from the front and center channels, surround and rear surround channels for the effects and LFE during the booms.  Audiophiles will be pleased that the lossless audio is quite immersive.  So, expect scenes such as Sid blowing up his action figures, the rocket on Buzz’s back ignited, fallen toys and toys being scattered and much more.  I was very impressed by the lossless audio.

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


“Toy Story” includes the following special features:

  • The Story: An Exclusive Sneak Peek at Toy Story 3 – (2:02) In this short featurette, “Toy Story 3” director Lee Unkrich introduces viewers to new characters that will appear on the third film and the all star cast voicing the new characters.
  • Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs:
    o Episode One: Blast Off – (3:27) Buzz reports back about his adventure to the International Space Station.
  • Paths to Pixar: Artists – (4:49) 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 “John’s Car” – (1:27) A short story that recounts how Toy Story director John Lasseter refused to stop driving his beat-up car even after the film’s success.
    o “Baby AJ” – (1:38) A short story that tells the hilarious story of how important Halloween is to the Pixar team and how one Pixar employee dressed up as the over-sized baby from the short Tin Toy to win a prize.
    o “Scooter Races” – (2:16) A short story which takes the audience on a rousing scooter race around the studio with John Lasseter and other employees.
  • Buzz Takes Manhattan – (2:13) Spectacular footage from Buzz Lightyear’s premiere as a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.
  • Black Friday: The Toy Story You Never Saw – (7:34) The Toy Story filmmakers discuss the early cut of the film that very nearly shut down production entirely.
  • Filmmakers Reflect – (16:35) A special feature shot in 2005 with the filmmakers John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Joe Ranft talking about their experiences working on the film.
  • Making Toy Story – (20:17) Filmmaker looking back at their characters and ideas used for making the film, the making of the film from design, movements and more.
  • The Legacy of Toy Story – (11:42) Filmmaker, critics, stars talk about why “Toy Story” succeeded and their thoughts when they watched the film.
  • Designing Toy Story – (6:12) Animators, character designers, story artists, painters, etc. talk about designing for “Toy Story”.
  • Deleted Scenes – (9:50) Ten deleted scenes.
  • Design – Featuring Character Galleries (4:05), 3-D Visualization (5:41) and Color featurettes (7:54).
  • Story – (13:56) Various story and Film comparisons.
  • Production – (13:41) Discussion on production tour, layout tricks, animation tour, multi-language reel.
  • Music and Sound – Featuring the music video for “You Got a Friend in Me” (2:15), Designing sound (6:35) and Randy Newman videos.
  • Publicity – (10:46) Character interviews, trailers, TV spots and more.


Included in the “Toy Story” 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.

“Toy Story” is one of those films that is just a must-own in whichever format its released in and now that it will be available on Blu-ray, “Toy Story: Special Edition” is definitely worth it. I was impressed by how this 15-year-old film looks on Blu-ray and how much of the detail still pops out today.  As mentioned earlier, despite its age, it still looks better than a few CG animated TV shows and even some films that were released in the last five years.

Everything about this film still holds up today.  The CG animation, the voice acting is fantastic and overall story is well-written.

“Toy Story” is where the Pixar magic all began.  This film catapulted Pixar Animation Studios as the most well-known animation studio in the planet and since then, every film created has been successful domestically and worldwide.

I know for many owners of the previous DVD release, one must wonder why must they upgrade again.  It all comes down to picture and audio quality.  And like most Pixar Blu-ray releases, this special edition Blu-ray release is full of special features.   This Blu-ray release is a no-brainer, in fact, you want to own both “Toy Story” BD releases because they are both quite worth it and watching it on HD was much better of an experience than I expected.

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.

Granted, I know this will be a bummer for many, but the picture quality and the audio quality is so much better on the Blu-ray release plus you get new additional content.  So, the Blu-rays are definitely worth owning.

Overall, “Toy Story: Special Edition” is a fantastic film and because it is a pretty impressive upgrade, the Blu-ray release is the definitive version to own at this time.  Definitely recommended!

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