"Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ***** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ****1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    STARRING
    Tom Hanks as WOODY
    Tim Allen as BUZZ LIGHTYEAR
    Don Rickles as MR. POTATO HEAD
    Jim Varney as SLINKY DOG
    Wallace Shawn as REX
    John Ratzenberger as HAMM
    Annie Potts as BO PEEP

    Rated G
    Studio: Disney/Pixar

    Directed by: John Lasseter
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“Toy Story” made history not just because it was one of the highest grossing movies of the year, but also because it was the first full-length CGI movie ever made. However, what makes the movie live isn’t its technical wizardry. It’s the story and the characters.

Case in point, I have two sons, ages four and two. They couldn’t care less about pixel dimension, 3-D rendering or texture emulation. To them, the quality of animation isn’t important. A $200 million CGI film with all the latest bells and whistles is just as good as an old “Wally Gator” cartoon from Hanna Barbera.

What they really care about is the characters and the story. And even now, ten years after its initial release, this movie still captures the imagination of children as well as adults.

I remember watching “Toy Story” in the theater and loving it, and that only happened with a G-rated kids movie like “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Best” and “Aladdin.” I loved this film from the moment I saw it. Fast-forward almost ten years, and I’m taking my kids to see “Toy Story 2 on Ice” at the local hockey arena. I rented “Toy Story 2” to brush up on the story, and my kids were hooked. We had to borrow the DVDs from my sister to save some money in film rentals.

Even today, my two-year-old will run around the house, yelling, “Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!” If that’s not a testament to the power this movie has to connect to children, I don’t know what is.

If you listen to the commentary track, you’ll hear the filmmakers talk about how they had to focus on the story and characters just as much as they were focusing on the technical aspects. This oversight is what makes the Pixar movies some of the best in the business. After all, we’ve had plenty of CGI films come down the pike in recent years - from the “Star Wars” sequels to movies like “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.” And it’s been proved time and again that audiences don’t care as much about the look as they do about the story.

The 10th anniversary edition of “Toy Story” comes in a two-disc set. The last time this film came out of its vault was when Disney released their “Toy Box” three-disc set several years ago. This old release contained both “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2,” as well as a third disc of bonus features. With the upcoming release of a “Toy Story 2” two-disc set this Christmas, they’ve split up many of the “Toy Box” bonus features for these two releases.

Most of the bonus features on this new 2-disc set are old, including deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, design models, production notes and music features. New features in this set include a “Legacy of Toy Story” featurette, a sneak peek at the new “Cars” film from Pixar, a set-top “Claw” game as well as a “Filmmakers Reflect” roundtable discussion between the minds behind “Toy Story.” These are all great to watch, especially the “Filmmakers Reflect” segment.

However, a few things are missing that were on the old “Toy Box” set, including the original “Tin Toy” short that inspired the movie itself. And while you can watch some of the old “Toy Story Tidbits” interstitials from ABC Saturday morning cartoons by choosing the Easter egg ball, not all of these are on this set.

For the DVD-phile, this version of “Toy Story” is a great find because the film has been remastered for DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Also, the film is put on the disc in a digital transfer with the highest digital bit-rate ever used for a Disney/Pixar film. Considering that prior to “A Bug’s Life,” the DVDs were struck from film prints rather than a digital file, this DVD is crisper and of higher quality than earlier releases.



Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX. DTS 5.1 Surround ES. Widescreen (1.77:1), enhanced for 16x9 televisions. French and Spanish language track. French and Spanish subtitles. English subtitles for the hearing impaired.

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