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Toy Story 3 (Blu-ray Review)

26 Oct, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 11/2/10
Box Office $412.3 million
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 two-disc Blu-ray, $45.99 four-disc Blu-ray
Rated ‘G.’
Voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, John Ratzenberger, Don Rickles, Ned Beatty, Timothy Dalton, Michael Keaton.

Toy Story 3 is so rich in story and emotional context that it’s hard not to rank it among the best films of the year. The film as presented on the first disc of this Blu-ray set looks fantastic, which is no surprise for a Pixar release. Extras have been kept to a minimum on this disc, presumably to devote maximum space to image and sound quality.

Besides the movie, the first disc contains the outstanding short film Day & Night, a quirky combination of 2D-animated characters whose bodies form the window to the daytime and nighttime of a CG world. This short should get some attention at Oscar time as well.

The second disc contains a plethora of extras, included the entire film in a “Cine-Explore” mode with picture-in-picture behind-the-scenes footage, storyboards and commentary by director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson. A second commentary is provided by animators and other members of the technical team. Both commentaries are very informative not only as to the making of the film, but also in terms of revealing hidden details.

There are also several additional featurettes that focus on specific scenes, and a few that reveal some of the personal stories of the filmmakers. In one, a Pixar employee reveals the hidden lounge he created at the Pixar studio. In another, screenwriter Michael Arndt deconstructs the basic elements of a screenplay, which should be very useful to prospective writers in the audience.

One of the more interesting featurettes delves into the inevitable toy line the film inspired, and how no major toymakers wanted to make toys based on the first film. For the third film, toys were designed before production to help with the animation. A section for promotional material contains a few fun faked commercials for some of these toys done up with VHS-style static.

The BD Live “Toy Story Trivia Dash” should keep fans well distracted once the movie’s over, and a preview of Hong Kong Disneyland’s Toy Story Land should inspire more than a few travel plans.

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