It's remarkable how Pixar can continue to tweak the formula to find new ways to have their stories appeal to a wide range of ages. While both adults and children could relate to "Toy Story" and find entertainment, the third film follows the moment when kids grow older and move on. The saddest and funniest line of the movie comes early on, as Mr. Potato Head, clearly depressed from his owner's lack of interest, states to the other toys, "Come on, lets see how much we're going for on Ebay."
The third film in the series does see owner Andy heading off to college. While he intends to keep his toys, due to a miscommunication with his other, they end up getting mistakenly thrown to a day care center. While the original gang of toys: Buzz (Tim Allen), Woody (Tom Hanks), Jesse (Joan Cusack), Rex (Wallace Shawn) and others are ushered around their new home, they believe they have found a place where they will always be in demand - when the kids in the class grow older, new children will simply come in.
However, as they soon find out, the kids don't always play nice. Still, the group misses Andy; while some toys try to face the fact that they have moved on, Woody continues to try to convince the group that Andy hasn't lost his love for his toys. Woody's attempts to convince his friends is difficult enough, but leave it to Pixar to come up with an incredibly clever way for the toys to find out that his toys are missing. However, while Woody's attempts to convince his friends is step one, step two is considerably more difficult: getting past the local toys and a rebooted Buzz, who doesn't recognize his friends.
The latest film is another visual marvel, with animation that seems to continue to become increasingly smoother and more fluid and detailed with every picture. The visual style of the filmmakers remains remarkably clever, as well, with exceptionally funny staging and some wonderful visual moments (the toys hanging out playing their version of poker, a toy monkey with clanging cymbals as an alarm.) The story isn't terribly surprising, but the moments along the journey are often pleasantly surprising and enjoyable. Voice work, as one would expect, gets both the humor and heart of the story spot-on.
Overall, "Toy Story 3" stands as another outstanding effort from the studio and will likely please fans of the series. Despite their owner heading into adulthood, I can only hope this isn't the end for these characters (and geez, I can't believe anyone isn't getting emotional towards the end of this film.)
A DVD and digital copy of the film are also included.
The Ride (Bonus)
John Morris (Bonus)
Dancing With the Stars (Bonus)
VIDEO: "Toy Story 3" is presented by Disney in 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC) and the results are, once again, reference quality. The increasingly silky-smooth and detailed animation once again shows off the format beautifully, and this transfer offers bright, bold and impressively detailed images. Sharpness and detail are consistently magnificent, with even the slightest details quite visible.
This direct-from-digital presentation remained just about flawless, with no edge enhancement, pixelation or other faults. Colors looked bold, bright and rich, with wonderful saturation and no smearing or other faults. Overall, this is another delightful presentation of a Pixar title.
SOUND: The DTS-HD 7.1 presentation is stellar. As with the prior films in the series, the level of thought and detail that has gone into the sound design of the film is remarkable, convincingly creating the world of the film very nicely. Surrounds kick in frequently, delivering very nice depth and detail and creating a convincingly enveloping environment. Audio quality is terrific, with warm, rich dialogue and well-recorded effects.
EXTRAS: The first disc offers the "Day and Night" short that played with the film, as well as "Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science of Adventure" promo piece and brief "Toys" featurette. The second film offers a more substantial series of extras, starting with a "Cine-Explore" feature, which provides comments on the film from director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla Anderson. As with previous "Cine-Explore" commentaries (and Pixar commentaries in general), the depth of information offered is wonderful, and a lot of fun.
Also found on the second disc are a wealth of short featurettes, including "Bonnie’s Playtime: A Story Roundtable", "Roundin' Up a Western Opening", "Beginnings: Setting a Story in Motion", "Life of a Shot", "Making of 'Day and Night', "Path to Pixar" and a group of "Studio Stories". The studio stories now appear to be a regular Pixar extra, and are a welcome one: they are animated versions of short tales from the making of the film, and they are a lot of fun (and once again reinforce the studio's storytelling ability.) There is also a more "family-friendly section with "Accidental Toymakers", "Goodbye Andy" "The Gang's All Here" and "Toy's Eye View".
Finally, an assortment of additional bonuses can be found, including ads for the "Lots'o Huggin Bear" (and making of), "Dancing with the Stars at Pixar", character intros, poster gallery, promos, trailers for the film and a digital copy and DVD copy.
Final Thoughts: "Toy Story 3" is a wonderful addition to the franchise, with some big laughs and an emotional ending. The Blu-Ray edition boasts demo quality audio/video and an engaging set of extras. Highly recommended.
The Film A