I won’t waste time going over the plot of the beloved two Toy Story films that Disney & Pixar have updated to Disney Digital 3D and paired together as a double feature in theaters this weekend. I imagine most attending this two week limited double feature engagement are already familiar with the source material. The first feature length Pixar film and it’s follow up that was originally intended for DVD that ultimately was made feature length.
The biggest question surrounding this double bill is ‘how does it look in 3D?’ Well, it depends on which film you would be referring to. This project fascinated me on a couple of levels. First, neither of these films were originally made in, or intended to be in 3D. Thus, there are no intentional cheap 3D sight gags or petty 3D thrills that many most 3D films seem to fall into the trap of relying on. Yes, it could be argued that converting a film to 3D has been done, but being that both of these films are completely CGI this presents a unique opportunity, and leads me to my second point of interest.
Being that both films are completely digital, Pixar was able to use the source files of the films and tweaked them to look their best. Thus this is more than just a simple update of the existing material. This is the best way to present Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D since they have been tweaked from the ground up so that they look their best. Unlike film, where if not shot in 3D, requires extensive work that is not always convincing. Sure it adds depth, but it isn’t the best way to present the newer 3D technology, especially since Hollywood is making such a large push of 3D. Most theater goers end up labeling it a gimmick and opt out for the cheaper 2D screening.
So how does the 3D look? It’s been a solid 4 years since I last watched either Toy Story film. I say this as I had forgotten how much technology had progressed by the time Toy Story 2 came along and how much better it looks than the first. Seeing them back to back makes the progress even more apparent. Toy Story 2 just seems to have a greater field of depth than the first and more nuanced details throughout. This also holds true for the 3D presentations of the films. Toy Story 2 benefits from the usage of 3D much more than Toy Story did. For me 3D didn’t detract or really add much to the first film. Yes there is more depth and act 3 when Spike is chasing down Woody and Buzz on RC really stood out to me as having benefited from the 3D refresh.
As for Toy Story 2? Wow, as soon as the star field in the opening pops up on screen the difference with 3D is seen almost immediately. The entire film seemed to pop off the screen more than it’s predecessor did. I did have one minor annoyance regarding 2 however, I noticed some pretty jarring motion blur in several scenes. I didn’t seem to notice any in Toy Story so I am not sure if this was a result of the added depth and detail in 2 that I previously mentioned, or the fact that I wasn’t siting in the center of the auditorium. It was rather brief but it stood out enough for me to notice.
There is a character intro explaining how the double feature will work, oddly in my screening it seemed many didn’t return for part 2. Not sure if the kids couldn’t sit still that long, or if the parents didn’t realize that Toy Story 2 was coming up. It’s worth noting that the full credits do roll at the end of the first film. There is some fun and easy trivia thrown into the ten minute intermission between the films.
All in all, this is a fun re-release, double billing, and new way of seeing the Toy Story franchise, so far. Toy Story 3, tastefully not titled Toy Story 3D, is due this summer, and its first full preview is playing with the double billing. This serves as a good catch up if you haven’t yet had a chance to take either of these two modern classics in. If you’re a fan this shouldn’t be missed. Most theaters seem to be charging the typical 3D ticket price to this so it’s a good deal to boot.
I give Toy Story and Toy Story 2 3D Double Feature 4 “this kid was chosen by the claw out” of 5
By John Coovert