|Toy Story (3D/2D) (1995)|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Monday, 31 October 2011|
"Toy Story" is one of the animated films that started it all in terms of visual expectations for children's films. For that matter, it paved the way for adult expectations as well. Forget all the hoopla over the Disney-Pixar quarrel and just take a look at what this film represents. It combines imagination-capturing animation and a story to boot.
The first of the Toy Story saga was released in 1995 to critical acclaim. Well some debated between classic-drawn animation and computer animation, there is no argument that "Toy Story" is a huge success. Pixar has gone on to produce successful animated feature after feature. They haven't produced one flop. That is likely due to the time and energy that a film such as this requires. It has to pass rigorous testing before development actually starts.
"Toy Story" showed a new side to "imagineers." The concept of the film is original and it was dutifully carried out. The film is about a bunch of toys belong to a boy named Andy. Like "Night at the Museum," this film shows what happens to toys when no human is watching. The toys come alive!
Woody, a pull-string cowboy, is the leader of the toy gang. His companions include a T-Rex, Mr. Potatohead, Little Bo Peep, a RC Car, a springy-stretchy dog, among several others. Amidst preparing for a big move, the toys forget that Andy's birthday is arriving. Birthdays and Christmases mean the arrival of new toys. It just so happens that on this birthday Andy receives a Buzz Lightyear, the next evolution of toy.
Buzz has trouble identifying the fact that he is just a toy and not areal space ranger. However, that doesn't stop Buzz from being extremelypopular with the other toys. When Andy stops playing with Woody infavor of Buzz, Woody feels rejected. He turns his jealously intohatred, a hatred of Buzz. Through a series of accidents, Buzz and Woodyfind themselves roaming free in the real world. They try to make thereway back to Andy. However, at every turn another obstacle presentsitself.
"Toy Story" is a simple story that is filled with important lessons forkids. Besides the moral of the story, the voice cast is terrific. TimAllen and Tom Hanks lead the gang. They are assisted by Jim Varney,Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger and Annie Potts. And if that wasn'tenough, Randy Newman lends his music talents to the film, including thehit original song, "You've Got A Friend In Me." Randy was nominated fortwo Academy Awards.
There is no denying the fact that "Toy Story" is inspiring andbeautifully created. My only criticism is that there are a couplepoints in the film in which it feels to move a bit slowly. However,that is easily overlooked.
“Toy Story” was already released on Blu-ray with a stellar 2D videotransfer. I am pleased to report that Disney has not tampered with thatrelease. Instead that give us a brand new digitally-3D created “ToyStory.” You might think that it is going to be a disaster, given theage of the film. But hey, look how wonderful it turned out for “BeautyAnd The Beast” and “The Lion King.” “Toy Story” is no exception. Sure,some of the age of the film shows through a bit more than the 2Drelease, but hey, the film is older so why should it be made to lookbrand spanking new? The 3D nature of this release is not as gung-ho asthe newer Disney 3D releases, but this is likely due to the originalproduction design of the film. The simplistic nature of many of thebackgrounds doesn’t lend itself to eye-popping imagery. However, thereare numerous action sequences that accurately show the superior qualityof 3D. I could sit here and just ramble on through all the marvelousscenes in the film. However, you really have to watch it to get thereal feel. However, let’s just say that flying toys occasionally landin your lap. However, that being said, the depth and 3D extension ofthe imagery is not as impressive as the sequels are other Disney 3Dfilms. That doesn’t mean it is bad, it is just tamer than otherreleases. Still, I would boast that the 3D release bests the original2D Blu-ray presentation. The 3D imagery makes the film exciting onceagain.
Just as with the video, the audio transfer is no slouch. The DTS-HD 5.1audio track is superbly presented. The prioritization of all the stemsis spot on. The surround channels are constantly active, providing animmersive experience like no other. The LFE channel is hearty andactive, and yet is still reserved. This is likely due to Pixar'saggressive LFE nature in more recent animated features. Directionalityand panning is spot on. Dialogue is intelligible and balancedthroughout. However, some of the lines have some treble issues. Scoreanother one for Pixar in the audio department.
The bonus materials are all located on the Blu-ray 2D disc. "Toy Story"seems to have had several DVD releases, upping each other on the bonusmaterials content. This Blu-ray edition is no exception. It is aSpecial Edition that contains the original DVD materials as well as somenew featurettes. New to the Blu-ray is a Sneak Peek at the upcoming"Toy Story 3." This is entirely too brief. Also new to the Blu-ray is"Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: Blast Off." This is a brief space programintroduction by the characters of the film. "Buzz Takes Manhattan" isalso new and briefly covers the Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon. Thefinal new Blu-ray feature is a collection of Studio Stories. Thiscollection houses three shorts, totaling only five minutes or so.
The other features on the Blu-ray are ported over from the standardDVD. "Making 'Toy Story'" is a standard promo piece. "FilmmakersReflect" is a roundtable discussion. There is a collection of deletedscenes and design galleries. "Black Friday: The 'Toy Story' You NeverSaw" is a scrapped version of the film. "The Legacy of 'Toy Story'" is ashared thoughts piece. "Designing 'Toy Story'" is a brief introductionto the start of the film's design. The original director's audiocommentary is also included. Finally, "Music and Sound," which is thebest piece on the disc is a one half of an hour featurette on the sounddesign and music of Randy Newman.
The 3D Combo pack also includes a DVD Copy and a Digital Copy.
"Toy Story" is darn near perfect in all aspects. It is highly recommended that you upgrade your standard DVD with this Blu-ray.