Toy Story 3, 4-Disc Set, Blu-ray (2010)

by | Nov 5, 2010 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Toy Story 3, 4-Disc Set, Blu-ray (2010)

Voice Actors: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Michael Keaton, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn
Director: Lee Unkrich
Studio: Pixar/Disney 102391 [11/2/10]
Video: 1.77:1 for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, DD 5.1 & 2.0
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Extras: Disc 1 = Feature, Theatrical short “Day & Night”, Buzz Lightyear Mission Log; Disc 2 = Toy Story trivia game, Cine-explore with director & producer, Beginnings: Setting a Story in Motion, Story roundtable with the director, Roundin’ Up a Western Opening, Alternative commentary track, Paths to Pixar: Editorial, 3 studio stories, more; Disc 3 (DVD) = Feature & short, Buzz Lightyear Mission Log, The Gang’s All Here – a look at returning voice talent, 3 studio stories, plus more; Disc 4 = Digital copy of feature
Length: 102 minutes
Rating: *****

Even the most successful of film series seem to run down compared to the original, or even to fail completely.  The Pixar Animation Studio just can’t seem to fail, and the third Toy Story has been universally acclaimed as the best of them all. The writing is superb in every way, providing a kick to both adults and children in a wonderfully integrated way that other animation series such as Shrek don’t quite get as well. Pixar transports the viewer into a world where it is perfectly acceptable that all the kid’s toys are alive and intelligent beings who are having plenty of adventures,

The initial Toy Story was the first-ever feature-length computer-animated film and bowled over everyone who saw it. Many computer graphic software programs have been advanced over the intervening years, and you can see in No. 3 how much better the real human beings look and how much more realistic the fur on the dog has become (he’s also gotten terribly obese).  Time has also progressed for Andy, the original kid with the toys. He is getting ready to leave for college, so the toys are wondering if this is the end of the line for them. They end up at the Sunnyside Day Care Center, where at first it seems they will lead a wonderful new life.  However, the toys there are controlled by a dictator huggy bear (voiced by Ned Beatty), assisted by a Ken toy (voiced by Michael Keaton).  The Ken & Barbie relationship is hilarious.

The fast-moving story mixes humor, drama, suspense, and action in such clever ways that even those with little interest in kids, toys or animation will probably be captivated. Plus there’s a morale of sorts in each Toy Story: The first was about sibling rivalry, the second was on the importance of loving others even though you might get hurt, and this one shows the loyalty of the toys in wanting to stay with Andy even though he is college bound. There isn’t a wasted scene or even shot – everything flows along beautifully. The threats to the toys get pretty extreme towards the end and may upset some very tiny children, but of course it all turns out fine in the end. Animation always looks so good on standard DVD that I’m often surprised it looks even better on Blu-ray. And of course the lossless DTS soundtrack is gangbusters. Don’t miss the further continuation of the story that occurs in the closing credits. The trend seems to be to pack Blu-ray sets with almost endless bonus features, and this one will keep fans going for many, many hours. But really, who needs FOUR discs?

 — John Sunier

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