|Toy Story 3 (3D/2D) (2010)|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Monday, 31 October 2011|
Pixar is an amazing production house. It goes without question that every one of their productions has been a huge success. With Pixar animations it is hard for anyone to argue against their creations. They are beautiful, entertaining and just a joy to watch. Their films have entertained children and adults alike for nearly 20 years.
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 tomake his trek back to Andy's college box. Meanwhile the toys arewelcomed to Sunnyside Daycare Center. Lotso, a dirty old teddy bearheads up the gang at Sunnyside. His associates include a Ken doll andgiant baby doll. Andy's toys simply long to be played with and theybelieve that life will be glorious at the daycare center. Boy, are theywrong. Lotso plots against them. The toddlers are not age approvedfor them and tear them apart, literally. It seems as though they havemade a bad decision.
"Toy Story 3" is a marvelous story that has a perfect balance of dramaand laughs. Once again, children and adults can both sit and enjoy afilm together, something that Pixar never ceases to do. My onlycriticism 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 tocome back to Andy over and over again. However, they can be overlooked.
Perfection is the only word that comes to mind when trying to describethe 3D nature of “Toy Story 3.” Even that word does not seem powerfulenough to describe the awesomeness of this release. This is not reallyan animated action release. Much of this film is just storytelling, butnevertheless, the 3D effect packs a punch. Every scene is heightenedto a new standard. I certainly enjoyed watching this film more than thefirst time around. However, I still enjoyed this film the least of allthe Toy Story films. That aside, the 3D extension of the film isperfect when needed. While “Cars 2” in 3D is a non-stop action ride,“Toy Story 3’s” 3D effect is strongest in the tiniest of details. Everysequence is beautifully rendered. The lighting and 3D complement eachother perfectly. Colors also enhance the 3D nature. Unfair to thefirst two films, “Toy Story 3” was actually designed in 3D, havingplayed in IMAX 3D theaters. There is no one particular scene in thefilm that really stands out in terms of 3D depth and extension. All thesequences meld together to provide and ultimate 3D experience to thepoint that you might forget that you are sitting in your own hometheater. Of course, that all depends on the size of your screen andyour viewing distance. That being said, crosstalk is a non issue andthe banding and aliasing that existed minimally in the 2D release isjust as negligible in the 3D release. This 3D release will blow yoursocks off.
The audio track isn't quite as stellar as the video, but it is stillimpressive. Disney and Dolby joined forces to bring Dolby Surround 7.1to 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 tofeature 7.1 audio in theaters without the need for IMAX. What does allthis mean 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 thepast Blu-rays labeled 7.1 were simply matrixed from the original 5.1mix. Disney Pixar brings "Toy Story 3" to Blu-ray with a DTS-HD MA 7.1audio track. The Blu-ray also contains a DTS-HD MA ES track for thosewith 6.1 systems only. Pixar’s goal was to create a brand new “rain ofsound” 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 panningthrough the four rear channels is limited, however, it is more fluidgiven the extra two back channels. Ultimately, immersion is lackingfrom the mix. Dialogue is perfectly rendered. The LFE channel is solidand packs a punch when need be. Spaciousness is excellent. Overall Iwas impressed with the audio track. However, I do believe that 7.1 iscapable of so much more.
The 3D combo pack of "Toy Story 3" comes in as a 5-disc package. Thereare two Blu-ray discs, a DVD Copy and a Digital Copy in addition to theBlu-ray 3D disc. All bonus materials are presented on the two Blu-ray2D discs. The first disc contains the feature film along with a fewbonus materials. "Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science ofAdventure" goes over some of the technological improvements. "Day &Night" is a short film. "Toys!" is a brief segment on the newcharacters and themes in the third film. The first disc also containssome sneak peeks, including "Cars 2" and a maximize your home theatercalibration tool.
The second disc is an impressive one. For the first time, disc two alsocontains the feature film. The second disc's feature film comescoupled with a picture-in-picture commentary track and a separate audiocommentary. The PiP track's participants are director Lee Unkrich andproducer Darla Anderson. The audio commentary contains fourparticipants including the production designer and story supervisor. Both are excellent commentaries. The PiP track is certainly the betterof the two. Also on the second disc is a collection of featurettes thatdiscuss the production process. These featurettes include roundtablediscussions and simple scene-making info spots. Another section offeaturettes includes information on the voice actors and thecharacters. Lastly, there is a collection of trailers and promos.
"Toy Story 3" is just as entertaining as the first two films. Argumentswill likely take place for some time as to which of the three films isthe best of the best. I will leave that to you to decide. Video andaudio qualities of this Blu-ray release are impressive, as are the bonusmaterials. Highly recommended.