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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - November, 2010

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"Toy Story 3" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Adrian Wittenberg

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Synopsis

When Andy, (voiced by John Morris) decides to take his favorite toy, Sheriff Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) with him to college and store the rest of his toys in the attic, Andy’s mom mistakenly throws the rest of the toys out for the garbage.  Sheriff Woody comes to the rescue and helps his toy friends barely escape a life of refuse.  The group then decides to make new lives for themselves by making their way to the Sunnyside Day Care.  Sunnyside seems like it will be a great place for the toys, but the group soon finds out that it’s a place of ruin led by the oppressive cold hearted teddy bear named Lotso Bear (voiced by Ned Beatty) and his gang of thug toys.  Only by working together, can the group of toys hope to escape the Sunnyside Day Care and possibly find a better life for themselves.

Specifications

  • Disney Pixar
  • 2010, Animated, Color, Rated G, 1 Hr 43 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
  • DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 7.1 Dolby Digital 5.1 EX French, Spanish
  • Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen
  • Directed by Lee Unkrich
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Cartoon Violence
  • Sex: None
  • Language: Family

Commentary

I had originally seen this film in 3D when it was in the theaters and I thought that the story was so captivating that the 3D effects were more of a distraction then a benefit.  Pixar has a good track record for producing top notch animation with engaging, heartfelt storylines.  While Toy Story 1 and 2 had light-hearted stories, this third chapter seems to have a much darker overtone to it.  Lotso and Big Baby in particular are probably two of the creepiest characters that Pixar has ever generated.  There are parts of the story that revolve around the themes of moving on, abandonment, friendship, and betrayal.  As heavy as that sounds, it is afterall an animation and while it was a tad superficial, I'm sure the film will strike a few chords with younger viewers.  Like most Pixar films, Toy Story 3 is filled with good wit and humor that is brought to life by the exceptional cast of voice actors which includes Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Estelle Harris, and John Ratzenberger to name a few.  This is a film that the whole family can enjoy together and is one I can see people revisiting from time to time.

Technical

Toy Story 3 can easily be used as reference material for both audio and video presentation.  On the video side, Toy Story 3 has a rich and vibrant color presentation that covers a very wide gamut of color.  There are plenty of scenes that have a large amount of detail in both bright and dark content.  Pixar has come a long way technically from Toy Story 1 and the amount of detail in characters such as Lotso Bear is quite a spectacle.   I can see myself using Toy Story 3 as sample material to verify how accurately a device is producing color or bright and dark material.  On the audio side, Toy Story 3 leaves nothing to disappointment and one can choose between a DTS-HD 7.1 or DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio lossless track as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 EX.  Having the story centered around small toys, gives the filmmakers no shortage of opportunities to assault a sound system with a barrage of LFE and surround sound effects.  Toy Story 3 also features a wonderful soundtrack that makes a very good connection with the story and the characters.  Pixar always seems to make excellent choices when it comes to incorporating meaningful music into their animations.

Extras

More studios should take example from Pixar and Disney when it comes to including extras for Blu-ray releases.  For starters, the Day and Night theatrical short is included.  Day and Night makes very intelligent and creative use of 3D however, we will have to wait for a 3D version of Toy Story 3 to be released to enjoy it in the way it was designed for.  Extras also include Toy Story Trivia Dash, Cine-Explore with Director Lee Unkrich and Producer Darla Anderson, Beginnings: Setting A Story in Motion, Bonnie’s Playtime-A Story Roundtable With Director Lee Unkrich, Roundin’ Up A Western Opening, Beyond The Toy Box: An Alternative Commentary Track, Paths to Pixar: Editorial, 3 Studio Stories, and more content available through BD-Live.