Blu Monday: Toy Story 3

Summer favorite Toy Story 3 comes home to Blu-Ray and DVD on Tuesday November 2. Disney and Pixar have a rich history of bringing feature loaded packages that cover the production process on these films that in the case of Toy Story 3 took four years to complete. Does this release live up to their existing standards? Lets take a look at the 4 disc Blu-Ray Combo pack and see.

Just about every one loved Toy Story 3. I won’t spend time reviewing the film as it’s been covered here in written form and here on the podcast. As is standard for Pixar home releases the aspect ratio has been adjusted to HDTV aspect of 1.78:1. Being sourced directly from the files used for the film in 1080P High Definition the image is stunning. It’s almost cheating to use material like this as demo material but if you want to see what your newly purchased hardware can do, this is a pretty easily recommended disc to give your setup a trial run.

So the movie is presented in its highest possible quality what about the bonus features? The more operative question here is almost where to begin. Since we were provided with the Blu-Ray combo pack that has four discs, I’ll run through each disc real quick.

Disc 1 (Blu-Ray) features a pretty short, just shy of 19 minutes of bonus features in addition to the film. Here is a breakdown.
Feature Film 1:42:30 presented in 1080P High Definition with 7.1 or 5.1 DTS Master Audio
French & Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, English 2.0 DVS, French and Spanish subtitles.
Day & Night 6:05 the short that played prior to Toy Story 3 in theaters. I really enjoy this short and wondered how it would hold up going from the 3D presentation I saw in theaters to 2D at home. Thankfully the blend of 2D traditional hand drawn animation and 3D computer generated animation holds up perfectly fine.
Toys! 6:37 is a short taking a quick look at the updates required to update Woody and Buzz and the creation of the new toys of Sunnyside Daycare and Bonnie’s room. It’s interesting to see how much research Pixar puts into making sure the elements on screen behave and act like they potentially could in real life should they spring to life.
Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science of Adventure 4:30 one of the promotions leading up to the release of Toy Story 3 was Disney teaming up with NASA to send Buzz Lightyear to space. This feature shows footage from that mission and acts as a promo reel for science and NASA to get kids interested in science and space. Being a bit of a space dork I’m never opposed to seeing space footage so this was a neat short combining a couple of my favorite things.

Disc 2 (Blu-Ray) this is the disc where most of the bonus content lives. It clocks in with a whopping 96 minutes of bonus content covering just about every aspect of Toy Story 3 you can think of. On top of that it contains the entire film with a Cine-explore enhanced commentary by Director Lee Unkrich and Producer Darla K Anderson. It also contains a second “Beyond The Toybox” commentary track featuring Story Supervisor Jason Katz, Supervising Technical Director Guido Quaroni, Production Designer Bob Pauley and Supervising Animators Bobby Podesta and Michael Venturini. Disc two is broken out into sections titled Family Play, Film Fans, Games and Activities and Publicity. While I watched all of the content of the disc I found myself spending the most time in Film Fans and Publicity sections of the disc.

Disc 3 (DVD) this is handy if you have a DVD player in the car for the kids or need something to watch on your next extended road trip. The disc contains some of the bonus features from the two disc above but not all. This also makes the Blu-Ray combo pack a future proof purchase option if you’ve yet to purchase a Blu-Ray player and want to future proof your purchase.

Disc 4 this disc contains a digital copy of the film for play back on your computer or Mac in addition to any iPhone/iPod touch or various other portable media devices.

Toy Story 3 is available in a number of configurations. There is a two disc Blu-Ray set, a single disc DVD, and the best value available and set reviewed here the 4 Disc Blu-Ray combo Pack. If you’ve yet to pick up Toy Story 1&2 on Blu-Ray there is also an awesome 10 disc Ultimate Toy Box 3-Movie Collection that contains all three films in a box designed after Andy’s toy box in the film.

In all being available for as low as $24.99, though listing at $45.99 the Toy Story 3 Blu-Ray combo pack gets an easy Buy it recommendation based on the sheer number of features to supplement what has easily been one of the best films of the year and one of the now all time great trilogies. The only complaint I have about it is that Disney pushes their new 3D Blu-Ray releases in an early promo on disc one which makes me ask why this film released in 3D didn’t go ahead and get the treatment now rather than the potential for another cash in on fans in a few years once 3D is more affordable and readily available.

By John Coovert

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