Toy Story 3D Blu-ray Review
This region free 3D Blu-ray of Toy Story 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 you would expect from a studio has been setting the benchmark for video presentation since the days of Laserdisc, the overall picture quality is exemplary. Obviously the computer animation is rather simplistic by today’s standards but the transfer perfectly renders the original look of this groundbreaking and genuinely game changing film. The movie 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 amazing. 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 an animated film about toys 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.
Of course none of this should come as a surprise to anyone who has seen the previous 2D Blu-ray of Toy Story or any other Pixar releases for that matter - but what about the 3D? Well considering that Toy Story was never conceived as a 3D film, the results are simply incredible. Pixar spent four months locating all the original data files for both the original Toy Story films and then spent another six months creating the 3D versions. Unlike conversions such as Hoodwinked Too, where the final film is converted into 3D in post-production, Toy Story 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 been made in 3D originally. What is surprising is how effectively the scenes lend themselves to the 3D format, even though they weren’t conceived for it. This might well be a result of the nature of computer animation, where a 3D environment is created as part of the animation process but it also shows that since a lot of 2D filmmaking is about creating the illusion of depth, once you add it properly, it actually enhances the scene. The stereographer also used the 3D as a part of the creative process, deliberately increasing the 3D effect when the toys were outside the comfort of Andy’s bedroom, in order to enhance the danger. The result is a marvelous 3D experience that is free of any crosstalk or other artefacts and makes Toy Story an essential purchase for fans of 3D movies.
This 3D Blu-ray release of Toy Story uses the same DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack that was included the film's original 2D Blu-ray release. Quite simply, this is one of the best soundtracks you will ever hear, perfectly capturing both the action of the film and Randy Newman’s wonderful score. The sound design was by Gary Rydstrom, who originally started out at Skywalker Sound back when Pixar was owned by Lucasfilm, and the resulting mix is a masterclass in film sound that is perfectly delivered in lossless audio. Since this is an animated feature all 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 Randy Newman’s songs are equally as well integrated. 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 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 scene with Scud the dog. This is a fantastic soundtrack that perfectly compliments the 3D visuals and delivers a reference performance.
This 3D Blu-ray release of Toy Story 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 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 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 has survived the test of time despite the advancements in computer animation because ultimately it's a great story about friendship. The screenplay is clever, the dialogue is laser sharp, the voice work spot and the animation is imaginative, resulting in a film with real heart that will resonate with children of all ages. 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 and the results are superb, with the added dimensionality being correctly used to enhance the narrative. This 3D Blu-ray release of Toy Story 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 is a wonderful film that is delivered with superb picture and sound, if you're a fan of 3D then it's an essential purchase.
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