As Pixar fans, I assume you’re all well aware of the amazing narratives that drive Toy Story and its sequel. I’m also guessing you’re excited for the highly anticipated Blu-ray releases, if not, a little curious.
I won’t make this a film review, because the 1995 and 1999 releases speak for themselves in that sense. Instead, I will offer a generous sneak peek at the new special features found on both brand new Blu-ray/DVD combo packs so you won’t have a doubt in your mind about purchasing them on March 23!
But first I’ll briefly touch on the technical details. I’m no Blu-ray expert when it comes to specifications, but the widescreen 1080p picture and superb sound are like nothing I’ve seen or heard from movies originally released in the mid-to-late 90’s.
The uncompressed digital files go to infinity and beyond when it comes to all-around enjoyment (pun totally intended) and, dare I say it, are on par with Pixar’s latest releases! DVDBeaver has great original release to Blu-ray comparison up for both movies if you want in-depth details on those matters.
Enough with the tech talk. The brand new special features are what truly make these releases that much more exciting! The folks at Pixar were careful to include never-before-seen content that touches on the past, present, and future of the Toy Story franchise.
The first thing you’ll notice when you open the Bonus Features menu on each Blu-ray is a big Toy Story 3 logo. On the TS disc you’ll find "The Story" and on TS2 you’ll find "The Characters" both featuring Lee Unkrich; the latter has some big reveals. Each package also contains a Disney Movie Rewards offer which will get you a free Toy Story 3 movie ticket!
As cool as that is, my absolute favorite part of the Special Edition releases are the Studio Stories, hilariously narrated short animations which recount little known moments during the production of Toy Story and Toy Story 2. Each set has three vignettes included, making it a total of six Studio Stories. My favorite is no doubt, "The Movie Vanishes" from TS2 — you’ll all be shocked!
Now, this next feature is great for any aspiring Pixarian, especially those who want to be Artists or Technical Directors. The former is found on TS and the latter is in the sequel. Both clips feature artists who worked on those particular films, ready with advice and other interesting tidbits on how they ended up at the Lamp.
Each set also has two documentary shorts. You might be surprised to see who one of the conductors of the Buzz float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was (Hint: He loves toys and cars) when you play "Buzz Takes Manhattan" which is featured on the TS disc. You’ll also get to see the appalling draft of Toy Story back when Jeffrey Katzenberg decided the film needed to be more "edgy".
The docs only get better in the TS2 disc. If you loved the Joe Ranft tribute we recently posted, you’ll adore "Celebrating Our Friend Joe Ranft", complete with stories from the ones who knew him best. This short documentary is accompanied by "Pixar’s Zoetrope", profiling the animated sculptures based on the classic animation technique.
A fun little addition to the discs are Episodes I and II of Buzz Lightyear’s Mission Logs. Each features brand new animation and clips of "real" Buzz’s trip to the International Space Station courtesy of NASA.
Of course, all of the major special features from the 10th Anniversary and 2-Disc Special versions are also included under the Classic DVD Bonus Features tab. Speaking of DVDs, each Blu-ray package comes with the new Special Edition DVD which contains all of the new features in standard definition. This is especially fortunate for those who are planning on getting a Blu-ray player but do not have one at the moment or those who want to be able to watch the films anywhere.
"Toy Story" on Blu-ray and "Toy Story 2" on Blu-ray Special Edition Combo Packs ($29.99 each) land in stores on March 23rd, 2010. An alternate DVD packaging (with differing covers) will be released on May 18th of this year. We recommend pre-ordering from Amazon or Disney Store! Check out our older post for a brief list of new features.
Will you purchase Toy Story and/or Toy Story 2 on Blu-ray? Why or why not? Did this review help in that decision? Feel free to ask any questions about the releases which I didn’t address in the review.