Toy Story 3 3D Blu-ray Review

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by Steve Withers Apr 2, 2012 at 9:42 AM

  • Movies review


    Toy Story 3 3D Blu-ray Review


    This region free 3D Blu-ray of Toy Story 3 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 both the previous Toy Story films, the overall picture quality is exemplary and the transfer perfectly renders the original look of this excellent final chapter in the adventures of Woody and his friends. The film was made over ten years after Toy Story 2 and the resulting computer animation is a quantum leap above even the earlier film’s impressive visuals. Some of detail appears almost photo-real and the animated humans appear far more believable than the previous films’ inhabitants of ‘uncanny valley’. As with all of Pixar’s releases, 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 accurate and never over saturated but the overall colour scheme often has an autumnal glow that perfectly suits the film’s rather melancholy tone. 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 like the 2D Blu-ray release, this 3D release of Toy Story 3 offers a reference standard of picture quality.

    Toy Story 3 was always conceived as a 3D feature and was in fact Pixar’s second 3D movie after the previous year’s Up. As a result, Toy Story 3 benefited from the experience gained on the previous film, as well as the simultaneous process of re-rendering the first two Toy Story films for 3D. The result is an amazing 3D experience that uses the added depth to enhance a shot, creating real depth and solidity to scenes. The level of detail is incredible and every shot seems to be bursting with layers of information, a genuine feast for the eyes. For example, the scenes at the junkyard are incredible, with the 3D beautifully rendering the mountains of rubbish, as well as the tiniest detail. Whilst the 3D in Toy Story 3 in superb and some of the best you will see, it's interesting that it isn’t quite as impressive as Toy Story 2. It would seem that when working on Toy Story 3, the animators felt they needed to avoid too many negative parallax shots because they might appear gimmicky. However when making Toy Story 2, which was only ever conceived in 2D, the animators let their imaginations run riot, never worrying about using exaggerated depth or throwing objects towards the viewer. This more conservative approach to 3D filmmaking has become quite common and it’s a shame because whilst there is always the danger that a shot can appear gratuitous, you should never be afraid of using the full impact of 3D to enhance the narrative. This is a minor quibble though and the 3D in Toy Story 3 is superb, adding a wonderful sense of solidity and depth to the image and perfectly immersing the viewer in the Toy Story world. As with the previous two Toy Story films, if you’re a fan of 3D then Toy Story 3 is an essential purchase.

    Toy Story 3 3D Picture


    This 3D Blu-ray release of Toy Story 3 uses the same DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1-channel soundtrack that was included on the film's original 2D Blu-ray release. Toy Story 3 was the first film to be released theatrically with a 7.1-channel surround soundtrack and whilst other films have been remixed into 7.1 for their Blu-ray release, the original theatrical mix has always been 5.1 until the release of Toy Story 3. At the cinema Toy Story 3’s 7.1 mix was presented using the Dolby Surround 7.1 theatrical format but on Blu-ray it has been faithfully reproduced using the DTS-HD Master Audio lossless codec. As is usually the case with 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 Randy Newman 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. The surrounds are very active and take advantage of the additional rear speakers to pan effects 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 with the overall sound design being spectacularly well presented in lossless audio 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 at the junkyard. This is an amazing soundtrack that totally envelopes the viewer, thus immersing them along with the 3D visuals and Toy Story 3's soundtrack is a reference presentation.

    Toy Story 3 3D Sound


    This 3D Blu-ray release of Toy Story 3 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 3 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 3 has also been released as a stand alone five disc set that includes the 3D version as well as the same 2D Blu-ray, Blu-ray disc of extras, DVD and Digital Copy that have already been reviewed here.

    Toy Story 3 3D Extras


    It should come as no surprise that, with Toy Story 3, Pixar managed the difficult task of delivering a satisfying third chapter in a trilogy of films. Over ten years after Toy Story 2, the studio returned to the characters that began it all and brought them full circle, delivering a film that is both exciting and emotinally satisfying. Perhaps because Pixar's confidence had grown in those ten years they also weren't afraid to go to some dark places and the whole tone is tinged with an air melancholy and loss. If this is the final Toy Story film then the gang get a great send off and if you aren't crying during the last ten minutes, you must be made of stone.

    This region free 3D Blu-ray release of Toy Story 3 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 since Toy Story 3 was conceived for 3D the results are spectacular, with a very effective and immersive use of the added dimension. This 3D Blu-ray release of Toy Story 3 uses a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1-channel soundtrack which replicates the film's theatrical mix and it's an absolutely stunning sound design that is delivered in lossless audio for a reference experience. As with the previous two films in the series, Toy Story 3 delivers a wonderful 3D experience and is an essential purchase for fans of the format.

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