Toy Story 3
I feel as if I have now seen Toy Story 3 the way it was meant to be seen… in 2D. The fact these films are released in theaters in 3D with a massive marketing blitz and then delivered to Blu-ray and DVD with absolutely no mention of 3D is proof positive no film needs or benefits from 3D. Is anyone going to argue Toy Story 3 is less of a film in 2D? Based on the marketing of the theatrical release one would expect the studio to feel that way, but good luck getting them to trash the cash cow that is the DVD and Blu-ray release of one of 2010’s biggest films. Best of all, this film doesn’t need gimmicks to prove it’s great, because it’s just that… great.
I’m not going to go too in-depth on the film itself because I think the “A+” I gave it in my theatrical review says enough. This is the best of the Toy Story films. It has the best story arc, it takes everything that people loved about the first one, adds a few new (and extremely memorable) characters and gives the franchise the send off it earned. Top grade stuff and this Blu-ray edition couldn’t look any better, but did you expect anything less than the best?
I’m reviewing the four-disc edition, which comes with two Blu-ray discs, a DVD copy and a digital copy of the film. The DVD copy is simply the film alone with a few features with the two Blu-ray discs carrying the full smorgasbord of goodies.
The first disc is light on features, saving room for the film and making sure the image quality is as perfect as it can be. Also included on this disc is the “Day and Night” short that was shown before the film in theaters and an “educational” science feature with Buzz, Hamm and Rex. Disc two has the lion’s share of supplements.
On top of having a full selection of bonus features, this second disc comes with two audio commentaries on the feature film. The first is accompanied by Disney’s Cine-Explore feature which includes a commentary from director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson that plays along with pop-up storyboards and concept art. Their commentary is quite good and on top of offering as many behind-the-scenes nuggets as you can handle, they also point out several little easter eggs throughout the film. The second commentary is more of a technical commentary with supervising animator Bobby Podesta, supervising technical director Guido Quaroni, production designer Bob Pauley, supervising animator Mike Venturini and story supervisor Jason Katz. Many of these names you’ll get to know a little better with the rest of the disc’s features.
The bonus features are broken up into four categories: “Family Play,” “Film Fans,” Games and Activities” and “Publicity”. The final two are rather self-explanatory, while the first two hold the bulk of the material. The “Family Play” section includes features referencing the Pixar and Toy Story family and how camaraderie among the cast and crew benefit the film and the franchise. It’s a good section with a look at the cast, how Toy Story characters became real life toys and the impact the franchise has had on Disney’s theme parks. Collectively the group of features runs just over 30 minutes.
The “Film Fans” section is where the really good stuff is and it holds my two favorite features of the set. The first is called “Beginnings: Setting a Story in Motion,” which has Toy Story 3 screenwriter Michael Arndt offering something of a screenwriting 101 session. He goes through all the information on what route to follow should screenwriters find themselves blocked. It’s a fascinating listen and I’m sure one that will benefit some up-and-coming screenwriter some day.
My other favorite is “Life of a Shot” which gives viewers a better idea of all the people and work necessary to bring an animated film to life. It’s truly staggering as they do a walk-through of the film’s opening scene and a variety of people step into view telling you what role they played in the grand scheme of things, what element they lit and what camera moves they inspired. On top of everything else, this section also offers a trio of animated studio stories including stories of the cereal bar, Andrew Gordon’s secret room and a bit of head shaving.
Overall, it’s an impressive gathering of features, but as always seems to be the case with Pixar home video releases, it isn’t overwhelming. Outside of the two commentary tracks, you can make your way through the bonus features in about 70 minutes. That’s not too bad considering the wealth of knowledge you gain.
This is a no-brainer if you ask me. Toy Story 3 is one of my favorite films of 2010 so far and this is an excellent release to accompany it. I’m not sure I would recommend spending the extra dough for the 4-disc version, but the 2-disc Blu-ray is something you should strongly consider.