Toy Story/Toy Story 2 Blu-Ray Reviews

Toy Story 2 on Blu-RayWith the theatrical release of Toy Story 3 fast approaching, it was inevitable that Disney would unleash two of its most lucrative titles on Blu-Ray this year: Toy Story and Toy Story 2. If you don’t remember, Toy Story‘s release in 1995 gave way to the rise of CGI-animated films, the term “Pixar” as a household name and contributed mightily to the eventual almost-demise of traditionally animated fare. Its 1999 sequel, arguably better than the original, showed that the people at Pixar know oh so very well how to make quality movies.

Both movies are incredibly well done and likely already belong to countless movie collections the world over. Given that the movies are made entirely computer-based, Blu-Ray brings a new level of crispness to both, for better or worse. The original Toy Story is still wonderfully made, but definitely stands as proof of how far CGI animation has come in the last 15 years: compared to modern movies like Up and Wall-E, the visuals are surprisingly rudimentary. Thankfully, they’re still good enough not to take away much from the movie itself, but rather serve as a benchmark for how much things have advanced.

The Blu-Rays come packed with previously released classic DVD bonus features, as well as a series of newer ones. Unfortunately, most of the newer bonus features aren’t worth re-purchasing the movie, and as I always said, Blu-Ray alone isn’t worth replacing a DVD version of any given film. However, there is one feature – to be mentioned later – that does make a purchase of Toy Story 2 potentially worth it.

Both Toy Story and Toy Story 2, which are being sold separately as three-disc “Special Editions” (Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital Copy), include different Toy Story 3 sneak peeks, one looking at the story, the other at the characters. The characters one is a little better, but for the most part both are promotional fluff.

Both also feature short featurettes on the International Space Station (presented by Buzz Lightyear), which could be interesting except they have nothing to do with the movies. In other words: filler.

“Filler” describes the new special features pretty well, as all but a couple are just a few minutes in length. As with the recent Princess and the Frog Blu-Ray, which also included a lot of short-attention-span bonus features, there is value to be found in each little featurette – but if you combined them altogether, you still don’t get a whole lot of depth.

Between the two Toy Story Blu-Rays, there are six animated studio shorts – which are animated tales of stories the animators have about their time at Pixar. Some of these are funny, but not at all valuable. The only featurette that stands out in my mind is a reflection on one of the late animators/writers, who died in 2005.

The real value lies in the classic DVD features (deleted scenes, outtakes, “making of” featurettes), but then again, you already have this on your Toy Story DVDs.

However, there is one reason to consider buying the new Blu-Rays, specifically Toy Story 2: a free movie ticket to Toy Story 3. You have to be a member of Disney Movie Rewards (which is free), but if you don’t already own the second movie, a $15 – $20 investment would be an extremely good value to get two films for the price of one.

Still, other than a free ticket to Toy Story 3, neither of these new Blu-Ray editions bring a whole lot new to the table.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: DVD Releases, Movie Reviews