There’s no arguing that the “Toy Story” trilogy is comprised of three brilliant movies, each as good if not better than its predecessor. The first “Toy Story” was groundbreaking as the world’s first full length computer animated film, released in 1995. It along with its sequels have been captivating, touching, and hilarious, bringing to life characters as well known as Mickey Mouse. But while all three films are at least equally entertaining and enjoyable, their 3D home releases don’t entirely stack up against each other.
The original “Toy Story” is out in a four-disc combo pack, including Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD, and a digital copy. It’s certainly not the first time the film has been released at home and not even its first trip to high-definition. But 3D is new to the latest release and for a 16-year-old film, it looks pretty good. But it’s not spectacular, with notably dated graphics and animation emphasized when viewed in 3D. The film deserves to be seen in high definition, but the 3D conversation isn’t necessarily worth rushing out to get.
With years of multiple release, “Toy Story” has its fair share of bonus features already, the best of which are included once again. But there are some new extras, conveniently separated from the “classic” ones in the Blu-ray menu system. Owners of older DVDs of the film can easily identify and skip extras they’ve already seen and jump right to the new ones. These include Buzz Lightyear NASA mission logs (mildly entertaining), 3 Pixar Studio Stories (funny and well animated), Buzz takes Manhattan (a fun look at the float created for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), Paths to Pixar (how “Toy Story” animators got their jobs), and a “sneak peek” at “Toy Story 3” – for those who somehow haven’t seen it already.
The new release of “Toy Story 2” follows the same pattern as “Toy Story,” with a 4-disc release including a 3D version of the film and an assortment of very similar bonus features. But this time, 3D is quite worthwhile, as “Toy Story 2” looks fantastic in 3D, from the outer space opening to Al’s Toy Barn. There’s enough depth to be seen in the toy-filled adventure to entice current owners of the film on Blu-ray to consider buying this one as well.
Bonus features include more Buzz mission logs, a few more Pixar Studio Stories, a look at the incredible Pixar zoetrope at Disney California Adventure, more “Paths to Pixar” stories (this time focusing on technical artists), and a celebration of the life of Joe Ranft, who was instrumental in the early days of Pixar but passed away long before his time.
And then there’s the highly-praised “Toy Story 3” now out in 3D as well. It was just over a year ago that this Oscar-nominated film fit hit Blu-ray and this release is nearly identical. The bonus features are all the same, offering absolutely nothing new for consumers beyond the 3D disc. But that 3D version of the movie is impressive and likely one of the best 3D movies on the market today. This is a perfect film to show off a 3D home system, with vibrant colors, perfect clarity, and and entertaining and touching movie on top of it all. 3D isn’t necessary for the enjoyment of this film, but it sure looks good.