Toy Story 2 (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

In Toy Story 2, we see that the gang is still here, along with a lot of other familiar faces (and a few new ones). We see that everything seems to be ok, but in a strange turn of events, Woody is stolen by a toy collector. It turns out that Woody is part of a foursome, and is a very rare, old toy. The other toys are worth a lot, especially as a set, and it’s their dream to finally be out of storage. Along with Woody, we meet Jessie the cowgirl (Joan Cusack), Bullseye the Horse and Stinky Pete (Kelsey Grammer) the Prospector. The fact that Woody has been abducted is the driving force behind Toy Story 2. The other characters must travel across town to get Woody and bring him back to where he rightfully belongs. What Woody is undergoing is something he has never been accustomed to, though. Having a bad arm (the stitches came loose), Woody is polished and fixed up good as new and is actually excited about going overseas to be part of a collection. What the film tries to accentuate, though, is that the love of a child, and to be played with as a toy, is more fun than being admired as part of some collection. We learn a lot more about Woody, and see that they put his mug on just about anything…from bubble blowers, to towels to board games. Woody and his “roundup” are it! It’s hard to say, but Toy Story 2, with a larger and more diverse cast, is just as good or better than it’s predecessor.

After watching these films back to back, I have to say that first and foremost, they are very, very clever. Obviously written by some pretty creative folks, once you get past how the movies were made, Toy Story and Toy Story 2 have a little something for everybody. These films appeal to little kids, but some jokes tend to have hidden meanings read into them, and thereby appeal to a much larger audience. Toy Story 2 was financially successful that it’s counterpart, which is a rarity…especially in Hollywood. Disney has pulled out all the stops for this new DVD version of two of the most anticipated titles to hit the format. For those of you who will just watch the movies (over and over…as kids like to do), then a bargain edition of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 is available without any of the supplements. It also features a full-frame version of Toy Story 2 and both have the same audio and video specs. Of course, technology is a wonderful thing, and Toy Story and Toy Story 2 have an added supplement disc that has basically everything you need and/or want to know about the making of the films. Included is an overview of the features (also outlined below in detail), which was another nice touch by Disney. All in all, The Ultimate Toy Box is quite a treat, though it’s for a little older audience, as I don’t know many kids who like to listen to Director’s Commentaries. You will not be disappointed, though! Highly recommended!

Video: How does it look?

As if any clarification was necessary, “Toy Story 2” holds to the high standard that all Pixar (and all other digital to digital transfers) movies have in common: an amazing picture. “Toy Story” was made in the mid 90’s and with computers becoming more powerful and faster, admittedly they were able to do a little more with “Toy Story 2” visually than its predecessor. The 1.78:1 AVC HD transfer is amazing in every sense of the word. Literally you would think you could just reach right out and grab it. Anyone who’s seen these movies knows what I’m talking about and this is one of those discs you put in your player and say “Hey, look at this!” There’s a segment that I used to use to showcase my system, when Buzz Lightyear is on the “alien” planet, flying around, it encompasses the entire color spectrum. The blue hues look amazing, there’s no hint or any sort of artifacting and the flesh tones, per se, look so lifelike it’s just hard to put into words. Like every other computer animated film, this one delivers, as expected, visually.

Audio: How does it sound?

I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but just as amazing as the video is the DTS HD Master Audio track. Remember that opening scene I was talking about well the audio in this scene is stellar as well. The jets on Buzz’s suit engage and the LFE kick in and it sounds phenomenal. Dialogue is at the forefront here, and it all sounds rich and amazing. Kelsey Grammar’s Prospector Pete still reminds me a bit of “Sideshow Bob” from the Simpson’s but I’m out of things to say when it comes to the audio. Surrounds chime in almost constantly throughout the film giving the viewer a 360 degree soundfield. It’s quite possible you’ll be dizzy if you tried to follow everything going on in the speakers. A reference quality track if there ever was one.

Supplements: What are the extras?

As we did with the “Toy Story” review, most of the supplements have already appeared on the Ultimate Toy Box, so once again, we won’t re-invent the wheel. You can find a review of that here. But Disney has added some extra goodies for this Blu-ray release and we start off with the audio commentary with director John Lasseter and his co-directors. The guys give a play by play on the film, its origins and all the nooks and crannies in between. This is obviously a very tight knit group as most had been working together for several years. Next up we get a “Part II” of sorts in our look at the new characters from the forthcoming “Toy Story 3”. While this is neat to see now, the material will quickly become dated. “Studio Stories” continues what we saw on the “Toy Story” disc where some stories from the early (and not so early) days of Pixar are retold with some rather basic animation. “Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: International Space Station” contains two, you guessed it, mission logs where they were cut off on the “Toy Story” disc and we get some pretty interesting information about living and traveling in space. We get to envy those out there who actually like their jobs in “Pixar to Pixar: Techincal Artists” and their relative paths to working at Pixar Studios. Admittedly, I had no idea what a Zoetrope is but after seeing “Pixar’s Zoetrope”, I was quite intrigued. I’ll leave it at that. Lastly, we get a tribute to Joe Ranft, who was at Pixar for quite some time and worked on several of their marquee titles. He was killed in a car accident a few years back and his friends and co-workers (though at Pixar those seem to be one and the same) remember him.

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