‘Toy Story 3’ tumbles on to American Region free Blu-ray with an absolutely stunning 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. I doubt if a film print was involved here as it all looks so wonderfully clean with no hint of grain. The colours just leap off the screen and the amount of detail on show is quite breathtaking. Furry characters used to be the downfall of CGI animation, but the texture of Lotso’s coat is so convincing that you want to reach out and touch it. When Ken reveals his wardrobe, the precision of each outfit is amazing. Each character, and there are scenes where many are on screen at the same time, has its own look. I felt that I could almost step into some shots, such was depth. Contrast is excellent throughout and there are some deep blacks in the night shots. The image is pin sharp without looking clinical. The word is ‘Wow!’
This is the one to use to show just how good High Definition can be and, no doubt, many dealers will be doing just that in their Demo rooms across the country. It’s probably even better looking than ‘Up’.
The audio on ‘Toy Story 3’ comes in a DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix that is a real aural treat.
Obviously the dialogue is clear as a bell, but it’s the sound steering that makes full use of the surround format to entertain. It’s not full on noisy surround, but gentle and subtle detail with a delicate ambience that envelops you in the movie. That suddenly changes at the Sunnydale Daycare Centre when the screaming brats of the Caterpillar room are all around you – adding to the horror of the piece. There are various noises from each individual toy that places them precisely in the wide front sound stage. At one point, Woody grabs hold of a kite and takes to the skies. This sequence caused an involuntary ducking action due to the impressive use of the surrounds. I also found myself looking up to see where he was. For most of the movie, the LFE is kept in check, but in the danger packed ending the chain is taken off and it is let loose. The deep, room shaking rumble enhances the threat to our pals but never drowns out the dialogue.
This is a superb, spacious mix. I can’t rate it highly enough.
The version reviewed was the American 2 disc Blu-ray which has the main feature and some extras on disc 1, while disc 2 is filled up with extras (lots of them).
- Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science of Adventure (HD, 5 mins)
This is an interesting little piece that reminded me of the Disney educational shorts. Here Buzz, Hamm, and Rex look at the way technology and space travel have developed.
Maybe Disney are considering resurrecting the educational films using modern characters.
- 'Day & Night' Theatrical Short (HD, 6 mins)
A very clever little film, this short juxtaposes the way things look during the day and night using flat 2D monochrome characters with colour 3D scenes within them. It almost defies verbal explanation so best seen with your own eyes.
- Toys! (HD, 7 mins)
Here the animators explain the difficulties imposed by having to create so many new characters for the movie. Animators-they’re such drama queens.
- The Gang's All Here (HD, 11 mins)
This short shows the voice talent busy recording their script pages in the studio.
It’s a bit of puff really but we see Tom Hanks, Timothy Dalton, Bonnie Hunt, and Michael Keaton among others hard at work.
- Studio Stories: Where's Gordon? (HD, 2 mins)
A wee story about a ‘hidey hole’ created at Pixar's new premises by Andrew Gordon.
- Studio Stories: Cereal Bar (HD, 1 min.)
Dear Pixar, I’d like to work for you because you have a room full of cereal for your staff to eat. Never mind the animation, I want my corn flakes.
- Studio Stories: Clean Start (HD 3 mins)
We all know that Animators are a weird bunch but this tells us of how everyone at Pixar shaved their heads, and how they persuaded Director Lee Unkrich to shave off his long flowing mane too. Yup, that Pixar’s a fun place for sure.
- Cine-Explore Picture-in-Picture Commentary (HD)
I thought there was something odd going on as I couldn’t find the PIP track on Disc 1. That was because the PiP Cine-Explore feature is actually located on Disc 2. Director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson discuss the movie in minute detail. They give us a great insight into the animation and the way the story developed. It’s clear that they love their work from their enthusiasm and the look in their eyes. If you’re interested in animation production at all, this is gold dust.
- Beyond the Toybox: An Alternative Commentary Track
Disc 2 also contains an audio commentary featuring production designer Bob Pauley, supervising animator Bobby Podesta, story supervisor Jason Katz, supervising animator Mike Venturini, and supervising technical director Guido Quaroni. This discussion is much more technically oriented than the PIP track and they focus on the way certain shots were created as well as the preponderance of clever stuff scattered throughout the movie.
- Goodbye Andy (HD, 8 mins)
Make sure you only watch this after you’ve seen the main feature as it gives the game away. The animators tell us how they were able to create better looking humans for this movie based upon some fascinating research. They also discuss the decision Andy has to make at the end with his toys in some detail – so be warned.
- Accidental Toymakers (HD, 4 mins)
We hear how none of the major toy companies wanted to make the toys from the movie, which seemed odd but it’s best to hear it from the horse’s mouth.
- A Toy's Eye View: Creating a Whole New Land (HD, 5 mins)
This is all about shoehorning the 'Toy Story' theme into the Disney Fun Parks. We hear about the creation of 'Toy Story' Midway Mania, a ride at the California Park, as well as a 'Toy Story' land in Disneyland Paris.
- Epilogue (HD, 4 mins)
Here we get the chance to view the epilogue that is played during the end credits without the distracting end roller getting in the way.
- Roundin' up a Western Opening (HD, 6 mins)
Director Lee Unkrich discusses the dramatic opening for the film as well as its creation. We also hear about an alternate western showdown opening visualised in storyboard format.
- Bonnie's Playtime: A Story Roundtable (HD, 6 mins)
Those nice folks at Pixar get round a table to talk about how Bonnie's playtime was created and the many changes made in its development.
- Beginnings: Setting a Story in Motion (HD, 8 mins)
A quick training course for scriptwriters on how to create a good screenplay with Michael Arndt, the screenwriter for 'Toy Story 3'. He explains how difficult it was to start with a blank sheet of paper and have to take into account the previous two movies. Interesting with some real gems of wisdom.
- Life of a Shot (HD, 7 mins)
Producer Darla Anderson discusses the minutiae of creating a detailed world comprising many individual objects. Areas such as lighting, colours, and effects are all examined, and we find out how many people were involved in producing just one scene.
- Making of 'Day & Night' (HD, 2 mins)
Not only do we get the making of ‘Toy Story’ among the extras, we also hear about the making of the short film ‘Day & Night’ from Director Teddy Newton who tells us it was the hardest short to produce because of the 2D characters with a 3D world inside them.
You really need to see it to understand.
- Paths to Pixar: Editorial (HD, 4 mins)
Here the movie’s Editors explain how they cut it together from its component parts.
- 'Toy Story' Trivia Dash
This is a trivia game for two players where you answer multiple choice questions about either all ‘Toy Story’ movies or just ‘Toy Story 3’ using the numeric keys on your remote. I found it more of a test of how long you could stand the accompanying music.
- Grab Bag (HD, 4 mins)
A collection of promo clips that were produced for 'Toy Story 3' majoring on its 3D benefits.
- Ken's Dating Tips (HD, 1 min.)
An amusing little clip where Ken ( of 'Barbie and' fame) gives you his top tips to help you improve your dating skills.
- Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear Commercial (HD, 30 sec.)
A deliberately VHS-quality commercial for the Lotso toy.
- Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear Commercial 2 (Japan) (HD, 30 sec.)
As above but for the Japanese market.
- Making of Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear Commercials (HD, 1 min.)
I was rapidly losing the will to live at this point and wondered if we really needed this clip about the making of the deliberately VHS-quality commercials.
- Internet Chat (HD, 1 min.)
They must be joking - an internet chat between Woody and Buzz taking the mick out of each other.
- Security Cam (HD, 1 min.)
A little promo for 'Toy Story 3' in the style of a horror movie. Pretty good!
- Gadgets (HD, 1 min.)
We see toys from the film in a kind of comparison, but with an advert for a car of the future.
- 'Dancing with the Stars' at Pixar (HD, 2 mins)
This focuses on the input from the folks at 'Dancing with the Stars' who assisted the Pixar team in creating the dance scenes in the movie.
- Trailers (HD, 13 mins total)
Here we have a pile of different trailers for ‘Toy Story 3’ from around the world.
- Character Intros (HD, 2 mins)
This little promo introduces the new characters who appear in the movie.
- Poster Gallery (HD)
As it says on the tin, a range of different posters for the film.
Congratulations Disney/Pixar, you’ve worn out this reviewer.
The long awaited ‘Toy Story 3’ arrives on American Region free Blu-ray with a superb 1080p AVC.MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The picture quality takes your breath away with vibrant colour, great contrast and an image that’s simply bursting with detail. This is what High Definition is all about.
The audio is no less impressive with a subtly involving DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix that allows you to place sounds accurately within the wide front sound stage, while ambience is all around you. The subwoofer gets a real workout in the action packed ending.
Truck loads of bonus material accompany the main feature that will keep film buffs engrossed for hours.
Our pals Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the gang are all back as they face an unsure future when Andy, their owner, heads off to college. Clever scripting, brilliant animation and the voice talents of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen as well as Ned Beatty, Michael Keaton and Timothy Dalton make this a movie not to be missed by both adults and kids.
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