|Toy Story 3 (2010)|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Wednesday, 03 November 2010|
The mid and late 1990s brought us two of the must beloved Pixar classics, "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2." Now, more than a decade later, almost without word of production, Pixar brings us a reunion of Woody, Buzz, Mr. Potatohead and Jessie along with a host of new toys in "Toy Story 3."
With all the great productions Pixar has released we never thought twice about resurrecting the Toy Story franchise. It is a commonly known fact that sequels just don't perform as well as the originals. This doesn't seem to be the case with "Toy Story," as its sequel has been argued to be better than the first. However, is it possible for Pixar to pull it off again? Could "Toy Story 3" be anywhere near as good as the first two? The answer is a resounding yes.
The third installment, and almost without question the finale of the franchise, delights. Its success was questionable at the outset. After all, 11 years is a long time between sequels. Would today's children relate to the third film like children did 11 and 15 years ago? Lucky for Pixar, the answer is yes.
The third film finds the toy gang trying everything in their power to regain the attention of Andy, who has since grown up and about to head off to college. For years they have been stuffed in a trunk at the foot of the bed and routinely called junk. I guess no one ever figured out that Woody and Jessie were extremely valuable collector's items after the end of the second film. In number three, the toys face the challenge of awaiting the attic, the garbage or college. When the toys find, except for Woody, have found themselves in the trash they sneak into the donation box. This brings them to a daycare center that is not what it seems.
After failing to persuade the toys to come back home, Woody departs to make his trek back to Andy's college box. Meanwhile the toys are welcomed to Sunnyside Daycare Center. Lotso, a dirty old teddy bear heads up the gang at Sunnyside. His associates include a Ken doll and giant baby doll. Andy's toys simply long to be played with and they believe that life will be glorious at the daycare center. Boy, are they wrong. Lotso plots against them. The toddlers are not age approved for them and tear them apart, literally. It seems as though they have made a bad decision.
"Toy Story 3" is a marvelous story that has a perfect balance of drama and laughs. Once again, children and adults can both sit and enjoy a film together, something that Pixar never ceases to do. My only criticism of them film is that some of the sequences can drag on a bit, particularly in the beginning as Woody tries to convince the toys to come back to Andy over and over again. However, they can be overlooked.
It goes without saying that the video presentation of "Toy Story 3" is perfect. That is all you really have to know. It seems that almost every digital animation is perfect when it comes to video. We really don't expect anything less. Colors are vibrant to say the least. Details and textures create a 3D image that is still 2D. Every digital set excellently rendered. There is no chroma bleed and no digital banding. All artifacting and noise issues are absent from the image. The mapping used to create the hair for Bonnie, Andy and Lotso is wonderful. I have never seen such detail and with no aliasing or shimmer. Shadow delineation and black levels complement each other perfectly. Even if by some chance you don't care for the story, the video quality wil enthrall you.
The audio track isn't quite as stellar as the video, but it is still impressive. Disney and Dolby joined forces to bring Dolby Surround 7.1 to theaters, much like Dolby’s Surround EX made for the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy. So, this means that “Toy Story 3” is the first film to feature 7.1 audio in theaters without the need for IMAX. What does all this for the Blu-ray release? Well, it means that “Toy Story 3” is the first Blu-ray to feature a true 7.1 DTS-HD audio track. In the past Blu-rays labeled 7.1 were simply matrixed from the original 5.1 mix. Disney Pixar brings "Toy Story 3" to Blu-ray with a DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio track. The Blu-ray also contains a DTS-HD MA ES track for those with 6.1 systems only. Pixar’s goal was to create a brand new “rain of sound” audio track. Unfortunately, this isn’t really the case here. The 7/8 surround back channels offers a slight increase in envelopment, but not so much as to make the 7/8 channels essential. Discreet panning through the four rear channels is limited, however, it is more fluid given the extra two back channels. Ultimately, immersion is lacking from the mix. Dialogue is perfectly rendered. The LFE channel is solid and packs a punch when need be. Spaciousness is excellent. Overall I was impressed with the audio track. However, I do believe that 7.1 is capable of so much more.
"Toy Story 3" comes in a 4-disc package. There are two Blu-ray discs, a DVD Copy and a Digital Copy. The first disc contains the feature film along with a few bonus materials. "Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science of Adventure" goes over some of the technological improvements. "Day & Night" is a short film. "Toys!" is a brief segment on the new characters and themes in the third film. The first disc also contains some sneak peeks, including "Cars 2" and a maximize your home theater calibration tool.
The second disc is an impressive one. For the first time, disc two also contains the feature film. The second disc's feature film comes coupled with a picture-in-picture commentary track and a separate audio commentary. The PiP track's participants are director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla Anderson. The audio commentary contains four participants including the production designer and story supervisor. Both are excellent commentaries. The PiP track is certainly the better of the two. Also on the second disc is a collection of featurettes that discuss the production process. These featurettes include roundtable discussions and simple scene-making info spots. Another section of featurettes includes information on the voice actors and the characters. Lastly, there is a collection of trailers and promos.
"Toy Story 3" is just as entertaining as the first two films. Arguments will likely take place for some time as to which of the three films is the best of the best. I will leave that to you to decide. Video and audio qualities of this Blu-ray release are impressive, as are the bonus materials. Highly recommended.