Toy Story 2 3D Blu-ray Review
This region free 3D Blu-ray of Toy Story 2 is presented at 1080p/24 and framed at 1.78:1 which is slightly more open than its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. As with Toy Story, the overall picture quality is exemplary and the transfer perfectly renders the original look of this wonderful sequel. The film was made four years after the original and the technology had clearly moved on considerably in that time, resulting in an incredible visual experience. The film is transferred directly from the original digital files, so the image is free of any blemishes, dirt, scratches or other artefacts and the level of detail is incredible. The transfer uses the entire disc just for the film and as a result there are no compression artefacts, no aliasing and nor is there any banding, which can often be a problem with animated movies. The colours are bright and primary as you would expect for a film of this genre but the image always remains accurate and never over saturated. The blacks are both deep and cleanly rendered giving the entire image a wonderfully effective dynamic range and the motion is smooth and judder free. Just as with the original 2D Blu-ray release of Toy Story 2, this is a reference presentation overall.
However, if you thought Toy Story delivered a fantastic 3D experience, nothing can prepare you for how good Toy Story 2 is in the format. Quite simply, Toy Story 2 is one of the best 3D experiences we have had, with a multitude of shots that take full advantage of the added depth. This is all the more incredible when you consider that Toy Story 2 was never conceived for 3D and yet scene after scene looks amazing. Pixar spent four months locating all the original data files for both the original Toy Story films and they then spent another six months creating the 3D versions. Unlike conversions such as the first three Shrek movies, where the final films were converted into 3D in post-production, Toy Story 2 was actually re-rendered for 3D. This means that using the original computer data, a second virtual camera was added into each scene to create the left eye view, thus producing a genuine 3D movie. The results are as impressive and immersive as they would be had Toy Story 2 been made in 3D originally. In fact it is quite possible that because Toy Story 2 was originally made in 2D, the animators were far less concerned about exaggerating depth or throwing things at the viewer. As a result of this freedom, the resulting 3D is incredibly effective, with quite a lot of negative parallax effects that the animators might have avoided had the film been made in 3D, for fear of appearing gimmicky. A good example is the opening sequence with Buzz Lightyear, there are so many shots that use the added depth effectively and so many effects that appear to be designed to show off 3D but of course they weren’t as the film was never conceived for 3D. Thanks in part to the imaginations of the original animators and thanks to the sterling efforts of the stereographer and his team, Toy Story 2 is an amazing experience in 3D and an absolutely essential purchase for fans of the format. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that Toy Story 2 offers the best 3D out of any of the Toy Story movies and that includes Toy Story 3, which was actually conceived for 3D.
This 3D Blu-ray release of Toy Story 2 uses the same DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack that was included on the film's original 2D Blu-ray release. As with Toy Story, the sound design was by Gary Rydstrom and again he knocks it out of the park, creating a superb soundtrack that perfectly delivers the action and another great Randy Newman score. As with all animated features, the voice actors were recorded using ADR but these recordings have been integrated perfectly into the soundtrack and the resulting dialogue has a natural sense of spatial realism and clarity, whilst remaining firmly anchored to the centre speaker. The score is spread across the front sound stage, even moving to the sides at times but never overpowering the rest of the mix and the songs are equally as well integrated, especially the heart breaking ‘When She Loved Me’. The surrounds are very active with effects being panned around the room, going from side to side and front to back. Since the soundtrack for an animated feature is created from scratch, there are plenty of opportunities for very precise placement of sounds and localised effects, all of which combine to create an enveloping soundfield that is as immersive as the visuals. The audio fidelity is exemplary and the overall sound design is spectacularly well presented using a lossless codec and the resulting dynamic range propels the action with intensity whilst maintaing a natural presence, including atmospheric and sound effects which are perfectly mixed throughout and are also highly directional. The bass is deep and supportive when it needs to be, without overpowering the overall sound mix, with solid LFE engagement such as during the sequence in the elevator shaft. This is another fantastic soundtrack that perfectly compliments the incredible 3D visuals of this wonderful film and delivers a reference performance.
This 3D Blu-ray release of Toy Story 2 comes as part of a box set that includes just the three Toy Story movies in 3D and no other extras. If you already own Toy Story 2 on Blu-ray, this offers a cost effective way of adding the 3D versions to your collection without having to buy the 2D version again. However, for those that don't own it at all, Toy Story 2 has also been released as a stand alone four disc set that includes the 3D version as well as the same 2D Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy and extras that have already been reviewed here.
Toy Story 2 is that rarest of creatures, a sequel that is actually better than the original, with greater character development, a more exciting plot, even more jokes and a strong emotional core. Despite a troubled production history that resulted in the film being completed in less than a year, the animation remains remarkable and is full of detail and imagination. This region free 3D Blu-ray release is presented at 1080p/24 and framed at 1.78:1 which is slightly more open than its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The image quality is absolutely reference and despite not originally being conceived in 3D the Blu-ray offers a fantastically immersive experience. This is because Pixar located the original data files and re-rendered the entire film into 3D by adding a second virtual camera to the original computer animation. The result of over a year's work is a genuine 3D version of Toy Story 2 and the results are superb, with the film delivering some of the most immersive and effective 3D that we have ever seen. This 3D Blu-ray release of Toy Story 2 uses the same DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack that was included the film's original 2D Blu-ray release and it is an absolutely stunning sound design that is delivered in lossless audio for a reference experience. Toy Story 2 delivers in every respect including story, picture and sound and if you're a fan of 3D it's an essential purchase but if you're undecided about 3D, this might be the film to change your mind.
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