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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Toy Story 10th Anniversary Edition: MUST BUY



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#1 of 161 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

DaViD Boulet

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  • Join Date: Feb 24 1999

Posted August 20 2005 - 04:17 PM

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TOYSTORY

Studio:Disney/PIXAR
Year:1995
RunTime:81 minutes
Aspect Ratio:16 x 9 encoded 1.77:1 (OAR more or less...was 1.85:1 in theaters but 1.77:1 in digital files)
Audio:5.1 DTS ES English, 5.1 DD EX English, 2.0 DD English, 2.0 French, 2.0 Spanish
Subtitles:English (Hearing Impaired)
SpecialFeatures:Commentary, Behind-the-scenes feature, documentaries, music video...new ultra-bit MPEG encoding for feature film...
ReleaseDate:September 6, 2005







Feature...



Those of you who where there remember it well. The world's first computer-animated feature-length film hit theaters in 1995; and not only was it a visual masterpiece that established the ground-rules for a new genre of video imagery, but it happened to be a darn-good movie too. It was unashamedly adult-oriented, yet had the power to entertain children for hours (my nephew can sit transfixed watching Toy Story looped for days on end). Suddenly this company called "PIXAR" was on the map...and was right at the dead center of it. Everyone said things to each other like "Have you seen that new movie Toy Story yet? It totally redefines animation...those PIXAR guys are on the cutting edge. This movie will change the course of animation forever." And we were right.

Like all great films that defined new genres and set new standards, Toy Story brought the good along with the bad. The "bad" was that Toy Story's huge success caused artless film-makers to assume that audiences now wanted to see computer-generated special effects in everything. The "good" was that film-makers who were true visionaries understood that in addition to all the technical innovation and wizardry, what audiences really loved about Toy Story was that it was a good story, with good writing, acting (yes, acting is a fair word to use even with animation), and compelling characters. What audiences have always loved is still true...give them characters and a story that emotionally pulls them in and you've got a good movie; mate that with cutting-edge technology and effects and you've got a good movie that's also good to look at. Toy Story also helped put some soul back into the Disney Studios...just like Snow White it pushed the envelope of the technology of the day to achieve the on-screen results the creative team wanted to see. And in doing so it remained faithful to its mission to present you with a great story that will entertain generations for years to come.

There are many great films that forever changed the course of movie-making: The Jazz Singer, King Kong, Snow White, Ben-Hur, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Lord of The Rings, and many others you may care to mention. Toy Story is an indisputable resident on that list, and 10 years after first seeing this film in theaters, it's not difficult to understand why.




Again???



Didn't they just release Toy Story 1 and 2 in a box set just a couple of years ago? Yep. And wasn't that audio and video transfer pretty much reference-standard without any room for criticism? Uh-huh. And they're going to market it to you again you helpless, addicted DVDholics? That's right.

Anti-double-dippers beware...stop reading this review right now. If you don't intend to be duped by Disney into buying a rehashed title because your "current version is just fine" and because you're "not going to upgrade until they go hi-def like on Blu-ray" then you really need to stop reading this review. Stop! I'm serious. REALLY serious about this here. You should not read on about how Disney really did improve the image and sound quality with this new DVD version...significantly enough that my old previously "reference" disc is headed for ebay. Stop...I'm warning you...do NOT read the audio section and if you do be very careful to AVOID the paragraphs where I mention how the bass impact, extension, cohesion, and solidity on the 5.1 DTS ES track utterly, fundamentally, makes French fries out of the previous DVD version's 5.1 mix. And I haven't even STARTED on the bonus material because I haven't had time to get through it all yet. You've been warned...



Picture...



You know something is going right somewhere in the universe when you turn over a Disney DVD and see listed among the marketing-buy-me-speak from the Mouse's PR team on the back of the package words to the effect of "Encoded with highest DVD bit-rate ever used for a Disney/PIXAR film". That's right folks...somehow amid the wrangle of teenage rockstar music videos and Walmart widescreen-protesters, the Disney PR folks have figured out that you...the videophile home-theater community...are an audience worth marketing to. Not only have they been taught the proper language to slap on a package--it seems that the mastering engineers have walked the walk with this one. A day later and I'm still recovering from the experience.

Before I tease apart all the details, I think most of you would appreciate a summary of what to expect. I know what you're thinking:

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But the current DVD I already own is already a reference standard for both picture and sound...how much room is there to even improve?

and maybe:

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Well, even if it is a subtle improvement over what I currently have, it can't be significant enough to justify going out and buying this disc all over again...I mean I might see how that would be so if the current DVD had faults of some kind...but with it already looking and sounding so good with a great bonus disc...why should I shell out for a new version when I'm already happy with what I have?

Ok. Are you convinced that I understand you? That I KNOW where you're coming from? The same thoughts went through my mind when this disc arrived in my mailbox, along with:

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Those Disney blankety-blanks, how shamelessly they're trying to rehash a perfectly good title with their underhanded double-dipping motives...a veritable pox upon the good HT enthusiasts of our town...

Two hours later, after breathing into a paper bag to regain consciousness, my views had been inexorably changed.

Basically, what the Fifth element Super-Bit is to the original 5th Element, the new Toy Story 10th Anniversary DVD is to the original. Just like with the 5th Element SB, the DTS track on the new disc alone is worth the upgrade. Just like with the 5th Element SB, the "subtle" improvements on some displays as perceived by some, are the "significant" improvements on more revealing displays as seen by others. If you didn't regret your 5th Element SB upgrade then you won't regret this one. If, like me, after upgrading to your 5th Element SB copy, your older copy sits collecting cobwebs on the shelf or found its way to your friend's video library, then your fate has already been decided.

Details...

The improvements upon the already-splendid DVD release are clear. I did lots of back-forth A/B switching and the improvements were always there but are very hard to quantify. Keep in mind that while, on the one hand, the improvements may be termed "subtle" when they are quantified, that with high-end -phileism (audio-phile, video-phile etc.) these "subtleties" make all the difference...and most importantly they remove one more of those invisible layers between you and the movie...you find yourself suddenly realizing that an indiscernible filter that had previously been in place between you and the image is perceptively removed...making you cognizant of the compromise that you had previously accepted unaware.

Though I never would have found any room to criticize the former DVD on these points (and still don't), I just can't help but feel that colors, contrast, black-level and dynamic range have all been improved. The image feels "bolder" and the colors more "solid" while the disc is in play. This is hard to explain because it's a difference that I can feel more than I can objectively describe. Perhaps the increased bitrate has improved MPEG compression enough to mitigate some of the ordinary MPEG compromises we've become accustomed which are subtle and difficult to identify yet result in subjectively different impression. The colors on this disc feel more HDTV-like...the hues seem more vivid with a wider range of palette and clarity. Any hint of noise is absent when viewed from a 1.6 screen-width distance on my 106" screen. I'm feeding my BenQ 8700+ DLP projector its native 1280 x 720 resolution via DVI from my Momitsu v880 (soon to be replaced with the OPPO that's in the mail). I don't think I've ever seen a DVD that looks clearer and more "direct" than this. The other disc that comes close was the Incredibles who's only fault (which this Toy Story release does not exhibit) was that it looked slightly softened to my eyes (which I confirmed when I got a copy of the pre-release screener DVD which had NO filtering applied and was visibly crisper and more 3-dimensional). And while I can't compare the results of this latest DVD effort with the original digital files, this Toy Story DVD is jaw-droppingly clear, razor-sharp, and only leaves me with one question: "I wonder what this would look like in 1080P high-def..."

Micro-detail is everywhere. Look at the leather on Slinky's (the dog toy) ear. The textures that PIXAR put into every surface suddenly becomes a whole new layer of visual information that hasn't been seen by viewers since Toy Story's original theatrical run, and it makes a meaningful difference to my experience of this film. It's mesmerizing: The reflections on Beau-Peep's finish make her look like a china-doll...not just shiny plastic. The scales in Rex's plastic skin, the fibers in the upholstery of the the furniture, the nicks in the wood trim along the floor...there is a whole new wealth of visual information and on a high-resolution display, it's like watching Toy Story for the first time. On the one hand, such details might be considered "subtle" when you try to quantify them. On the other hand, such details make this DVD feel like a whole-new movie on my 106" screen...a movie that communicates in a whole new way.

Now, here's where I find myself a bit confused. When I put in the old disc and pull up the same scenes and do still-frames to compare on the projection screen...the box-set's image doesn't reveal any apparent flaws. In fact, it looks gorgeous (like it always has). Yet...when I put the disc in play, even though my eyes tell me that I can still see the texture and detail in what I'm looking at, the image just feels the slightest bit "duller" and less invigorating. Most importantly, it lacks the finest degree of 3-demensionality that this new disc has: some scenes in the new disc are so 3-dimensional and crystal-clear that I had to keep telling myself that I wasn't watching a hi-def image. When I switch back to the older disc it's still beyond reproach visually...but it just feels like the image loses that subtle illusion of depth perception. This doesn't mean that the new disc isn't visibly better (it is in my system) it only demonstrates how superb the video encoding on the previous disc really was.

Added August 22: I think that after doing two more days of A/B comparing that the video on the new disc will be a subject of debate on the forum. While I can perceive the subjective improvement in picture when the disc is in play, even doing careful scene-by-scene A/B comparisons with the old copy it's very hard to quantify exactly what and where those differences are (I think that with the Fifth Element the increase in HF detail was a tad easier to objectify). Once some HTFers who have the ability to do some screen-captures get the disc, I look forward to some posts comparing some magnified shots of the two images to see what may (or my not be) revealed. I also want to remind members that images-in-motion can sometimes demonstrate differences not readily apparent in still-frame comparisons...so don't make up your own mind until you've had a chance to compare for yourself.


Any Negatives?


If I scootch up closer than 1.5 screen-widths, I can see some occasional and extremely minor ringing on a few hard-edge transitions (affecting mostly horizontal lines...what I call vertical-domain EE). Ok, now you're worried. I didn't make it clear just how negligible and yawn-who-cares-worthy this is. Let me state that from my 1.6 screen-width seated viewing distance I saw NO evidence of "edge ringing" to distract me whatsoever. Any artifact that might even be described as "ringing" only became apparent when I moved closer than any sane viewing distance for DVD material. Also, in a week I hope to have my OPPO DVD player installed and I'm going to compare because I'm starting to suspect that the Momitsu may be adding the *slightest* degree of vertical-domain EE in some program material and I want to see if another DVD player changes this artifact. Either way, 99.9% of wide-angle viewers should be 100% satisfied and see nothing with which to take issue. I think it safe to say that 100% of viewers sitting more than 2 screen widths away from their displays will see a PERFECT picture unless their video chain introduces artifacting of its own.

One other potential point that some close-inspecting viewers may notice (I'm pleased to say that more and more HTF members are going wide-angle and developing a marvelous sense of discernment)...there is occasionally some "crawling" with high-frequency detail and this could be easy to mistake for compression noise...and it's not: It's actually aliasing of the HF content because the video filters have been relaxed a bit to let more image detail through to the low-res 720 x 480 DVD encoding (the 5th Element has this too). This is a good thing...it's better to have a reference image with crisp natural contours loaded with micro-detail and deal with the occasional aliasing of hard-edge geometric patterns than to get stuck with a 100% softened image. If you want to see what I'm talking about, skip to the scene where the sun is setting and you're outside the house with the "For Sale, Virtual Realty" sign out in the front yard. The camera pans out and to the left...watch the TV antenna on the roof. Do you see it "crawl" in a way that reminds you of MPEG noise? It's actually not compression noise at all...it's that the DVD has been given so much detail, that the 720 x 480 array of the source DVD image is maxing out as it tries to re-map the moving antenna over its limited number of pixel-possibilities...causing it to alias. It sounds strange, but when I see an artifact like that I actually sigh with a sense of relief...it's the kind of artifact you want on your DVD...because if it wasn't there, it would have meant that yet another layer of image detail would have had to have been filtered out to "blur" the HF information until it fell below the 720 x 480 threshold. Rest easy: instances where this is even an issue are rare, and noticing them during real-time playback is even more rare. I only point this out because I want to beat some fellow HTFer to the punch before someone starts to to complain about MPEG artifacts that they can see when they still-step through the frames. You're a tough crowd! I'm going off to hug my Teddy.

Back again.

Aspect Ratio?

Originally released in the U.S. standard of 1.85:1 during its theatrical run, Toy Story saw its first widescreen release on home-video on laserdisc at 1.77:1...the precise aspect ratio of a 16x9 frame. The 1.77:1 frame of the DVD uses every available pixel with no masking in 16x9 encoding and opens up the vertical matte just a bit from the theatrical 1.85:1 framing. The PIXAR guys don't have a problem with it. I don't have a problem with it. I hope that you don't have a problem with it.


PQ Summary...

I hate to say it...Disney has really put the video-mastering pedal-to-the-metal on this new release. It's a boni-fide "Super Bit" version of what's come before...only in Disney's case you still get Commentary and an entire disc filled with Bonus material. I think that viewers on conventional 4x3 interlaced displays, or displays smaller than 32" that lack in 16x9 capability might not appreciate the full benefit of this new image. However, those of you with displays that are at least 1280 x 720 in resolution, and or those who view less than 2 screen-widths distance from your display, your bound to see at least some noticeable improvement. If you're a wide-angle viewer who watches a large-scale display from less than 1.75 screen-widths distance, then you should have no difficulty appreciating most, if not all, of the gains that I've outlined in this review. While prior to watching this new release, I never would have criticized the picture quality of the previous Toy Story release that I own in the 3-disc Box set...after watching Toy Story, the 10th Anniversary Edition, I'll never watch the version in my Box-set again.


Picture Quality: 5 / 5

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Rating Rationale...

In the past I think I've been too ambiguous with my scoring or at least haven't applied it consistently from title to title, so I've endeavored to define my rating system more clearly to help make the scoring more meaningful (for all titles reviewed December 2004 and later):

Rating Key:

SCORE Description
1-2 An absolute abomination. Hurts to watch. Think "Outland" (scan-line aliasing, chroma noise, dotcrawl)-- truly horrid.
2-3 Has some serious problems, but one can at least watch it without getting a headache despite all the problems though you might try to talk your guests into picking a different movie to watch if you have a large projection screen. Think Cold Mountain.
3-4 Good or at least "acceptable" on a big-screen, but not winning any awards and definitely room for improvement if you view the image wide-angle (though smaller-screen viewers may be quite content). Think the first extended cut of Fellowship of the Ring...decent picture but still some HF filtering and some edge-halos.
4-5 A reference picture that really makes the most of the DVD medium and shows extraordinary transparency to the film-source elements. Non-videophile observers can't help but remark "WOW". Think The Empire Strikes Back or the Fifth Element Superbit (full “5” would be sans EE).






Sound...



Whatever accolades can be lavished on the video enhancements of this new DVD, the audio merits by a factor of two.

Yes...I know what you're thinking:

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Whatever...the 5.1 DD EX mix on the current DVD is just fine...you're exaggerating.

Nope. The audio on this new disc really is that much better.

Not only does this new DVD edition offer a 6.1 DTS ES encoding, but both the DTS ES and DD EX tracks on this DVD are sourced from a newly restored/created mix. That, my friends, is where the real improvement begins.

The new mix is in keeping with the character of the original; it is not as radically changed as what you might be familiar with from the Lion King's DEHT mix or from the DEHT presentation in Aladdin (in which case I actually preferred the original theatrical mix). However, some of the signature hallmarks of Disney's "enhanced" mixes are consistent. Firstly, the soundstage is opened up both in width and in depth...the new presentation seems to extend far beyond the edges of the L/R speakers and far behind the 3 front mains as well. Secondly, the bass response is more extended, more robust, and the entire presentation sounds more dynamic and more aggressive (when appropriate) without becoming wearing or gratuitously forceful. Lastly, the DTS mix brings, in my system, a host of gains in realism, treble smoothness, imaging, and cohesion to the soundfield. In fact, this is one of the best-sounding DTS presentations I've heard in a long time.

Audio comparisons with the former copy are cumbersome to do in my system with only one DVD player hooked up at present, but doing my best to avoid bias (remember...there have been times when I preferred the DD track over the DTS and even once or twice where I preferred a DD mix over a laserdisc's PCM track...I do try to keep an open mind) I did some A/B comparing of specific scenes, which quickly disintegrated into me just being seduced by and watching the new version with the DTS track. Posted Image

Just from the "You've got a friend in me" song during the opening credits, you'll hear an example of just about everything that this new audio presentation does better: Musical dynamics sound less constrained, and the midrange timbres (especially vocals and strings) sound more "open" and less "recorded". The soundstage is just plain bigger...wider and deeper...and with better focus clearer imaging. Musical tones are more realistic, and the sound has more "color" and comes through less congested. The DTS track sounds lush lush lush. And the bass (this is the paragraph you're advised to skip if you're trying to avoid double-dipping)...oh the bass...it's absolutely seductive. You audiophiles who have good bass reproduction in your system know what I'm talking about: the bass is not only deeper, it's tonally richer and sounds more musical...no simple "notes" that go thud thud thud but real sonic information that sounds like a string being plucked, or a drum being whapped, or feels like a door being slammed. Bass that is tight and controlled. Switching over to the DTS track just improves things even more...and the bass takes on a liquid-smoothness usually associated with high-end mid-range reproduction. Bass notes reveal loads of inner-detail...like the subtle resonance of a plucked string that slowly decays into the black background of the soundfield. Goose-bump city. You expect that kind of refined realism with your 24/96 5.1 DVD-audio disc...it gives you chills to hear that level of audio quality watching a DVD movie...

Everything else is better than the original DVD as well. By comparison, the original DVD audio presentation (you never thought you'd say it) sounds "dated" and a bit compressed. This new DVD just opens up a whole new layer of realism and musical/sonic information...analagous to the micro-detail visible in the disc's image. Vocals sound more relaxed and more full-bodied. However much the DD mix on this disc improves upon the previous DVD's audio, the DTS on this disc improves upon the Dolby Digital. The vocal textures are so smooth, so natural on the DTS presentation, that I found it difficult to switch back to the excellent Dolby Digital soundtrack. And Regardless of which track you prefer, the soundstage just takes on a whole new life with the improved imaging, and surround use, while still in keeping with the intentions of the original mix, sounds more integrated into the whole. This is a very tastefully executed mix...it's entirely in keeping with the spirit of the original...and on the surface seems to focused on improving the fidelity of the sound, and not distracting the listener with gimmick-laden effects or "Home Theater" mixing-philosophies that don't respect the intentions of the original artists (memories of the newly recorded fire-cracker explosions in the 5.1 DEHT mix on Mary Poppins just flashed through my mind...shudder...). This is a "restored" mix with class. Everything that it does seems to take what the original audio presentation set out to do and just makes it better...more authoritative, more subtle, more cohesive, more lush, more real.


Audio Sum-up:

As much as the improved video on this DVD impressed me, the improvement in audio quality impressed me even more. Though on its own the 5.1 EX DD soundtrack on this disc is reference-setting, the DTS ES mix takes it to an even higher level...adding (preserving) a whole layer of timberal realism across the entire frequency band...from the more liquid bass response to the smooth, lush, micro-detailed midrange to the airy acoustic decays...it raises the bar higher than I imagined it could go. Just like the video presentation only left me with one aching question "What would it look like in 1080P???" the outstanding DTS mix on this disc leaves me wondering "As good as this sounds...what would it sound like in 6.1 24/96 lossless???". I hope to be the first to answer both of those questions when I finally get Toy Story on Blu-ray disc...

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Sound Quality: 5 / 5

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Special Features...



The bonus materials on this 2-disc DVD set are generous. There are a few new items with much ported over from the previous 3-DVD box set. I think over all this is a good situation--it means that anyone buying the new set as a Toy-Story first-time DVD buyer won't have to feel that they missed the boat by having not purchased the 3-disc set. Those who already own the box set who are upgrading for the improved quality will have just enough new material to help ease the pain. And those ardent souls intent on clinging to their box set until the advent of Toy Story on Blu-ray can rest contented that the bonus material they already have is comprehensive enough to get by. Win-Win-Win.

PLEASE FORGIVE ME for not having all the bonus material on the 3-disc set memorized. I've watched all the material on the new 10th Anniversary set and I've started to contrast/compare with the box-set to determine what's new, what's omitted, and what's replicated. What I'm certain about I'll post here, and as I dig deeper in my comparison I'll keep updating. Also, once HTFers get the disc in-hand I'd really appreciate some assistance, and I'll update the review to reflect the "master document" of everyone's observations. Hey...it's not as simple as it sounds. For instance, some of the material that was located together on the box set is "spread around" on this new disc making it very hard to track town a true A/B comparison.

Disc 1:

    [*]Commentary: REPEAT The same excellent commentary track has been carried over from the previous box-set release. It consists of conversational-style discussion between members of the creative tame (no voice actors) and is screen-specific. Writer/director John Lasseter, Creative team Andrew Stanton, Pete Doctor, Bill Reeves, Ralph Eggleston, and Producers Ralph Guggenheim and Bonnie Arnold deliver a very informative dialogue. Their comments cover a broad range of topics and do not merely center on technical aspects of digital animation. In fact, much more discussion is given towards the political obstacles the challenged the making of the film, the selection of various crew and voice talent etc. It's an excellent commentary and those of you who already have the box-set can share your thoughts.

    [*]The Legacy of Toy Story: NEW This 12 minute 16x9 feature is new to the 10th Anniversary edition. Nothing radical...mostly lots of Pixar folks recollecting about Toy Story and what makes it so good. They talk about the "Story" and the "Characters" which is refreshing as it shows that they haven't forgotten what made their first movie such a success. A nice featurette but those of you who are struggling to hold-out for Blu-ray shouldn't feel that this bonus item isn't anything you can't live without (that's a tripple negative...even I'm confused trying to reason that statement out).
    [*]Cars Sneak Peek: NEW Ok, this isn't something I would normally list in the bonus features but in this case Disney is doing it right. This extended preview is almost a mini-featurette...it's got interviews and film clips and everything is 16x9 encoded. PQ on the interview segments is pretty lame but the clarity of the Cars animated feature are breathtaking. My only quibble is that it's all been mastered and flagged as "video" so flag-based deinterlacing DVD players like my Momitsu show lots of combing/aliasing in a few transition shots--those with Faroudja or better cadence-based deinterlacing engines might not even notice. Overall, the image is gorgeous and this should be of interest to most PIXAR fans.
    [*]DTS ES: NEW I just couldn't resist. Posted Image and YES this is a feature worth mentioning...it's something I'd like to see on all Disney's first-tier titles (very often non-R1 discs get DTS when R1 discs omit it: Mary Poppins, Aladdin). Given the outstanding quality of this DTS presentation (which clearly supercedes the also-excellent Dolby Digital EX to my ears), this would be the special feature that would make me cry "Uncle!" and give in were I a staunch Blu-ray hold-out.



    [/list] Disc 2:

      [*]The Making Of Toy Story: NEW This newly produced 4x3 20 minute featurette is well worth the watch. As with the shorter feature on the first disc, this makes for a nice watch but it wouldn't be justification in my mind on its own for a repurchase. However, there is some fan-worthy stuff in here...like demo animation clips (fully rendered) when Woody's character was first changed to a cow-boy and when Buz was red instead of white. Tom Hanks also makes a welcome appearance and discusses (and shows) the demo clip with Woody featuring his own voice pulled from another film which convinced him to take the part.

      [*]Deleted Scenes: I'm not 100% sure what's new here and what's not. Three of the scenes are "fully animated" which really means that they are in-motion cgi and not still-frame story board concepts (what typically is passing for "Deleted Scenes" on many animation DVDs). The three animated clips are:

        [*]"Movie Introduction"[*]"Sid Tortures Toys" (which is really an extended version of an existing scene in the movie) [*]"Rain". [/list] Then there are several deleted concepts presented in story-board form:

          [*]Alternate Opening: Buzz Lightyear Cartoon (interesting...actually pretty cool)[*]Alternate Opening: Western Shootout (similar to what's already in the film but a little more stylized)[*]Woody's Nightmare[*]Eastern Gate[*]Shakes the Rattle[*]Sid's Comeuppance (was very cool...much more "get him!" than what ends up in the movie...though the similarities are strong)[/list] You can jump right to any deleted scene or do a play-all. You also get some intros from the creative talent explaining the rationale for their removal.



          Then there is an area tagged "Behind the Scenes" which has a lot of material...most of which appears to be ported over from the previous box set:
          [*]Designing Toy Story: NEW 6.5 minutes, 16x9 featurette which focuses on design aspects of the film like lighting etc.
          [*]Story:REPEAT The storyboard for the army-men pitch and Andy's New Toy Story reel. I'm pretty sure these were on the previous box set.
          [*]Production Materials:REPEAT Several short features (a few minutes each) are bundled in this area: Production Tour, Multi-angle progression, Layout tricks, Animation tour, and Multi-language reel. I believe that these are also from the box set.
          [*]Music and Sound:REPEAT The one "new" item in this group may be the Music Video featuring Lyle Lovett and Randy Newman "You've Got a Friend in Me" (nice PQ and good sound). The other items like the Randy Newman Song Demos and Sound Design Documentary Short appear ported from the box set. All items in this area were very interesting to me and I'm glad they're here especially for first-time Toy Story DVD buyers.
          [*][b]Publicity Materials:REPEAT I think that most if not all of the content in this area is brought over from the box set. You get two 4x3 trailers which really show their age and video-storage flaws. You've got some character interviews which are cute tongue-in-cheek mock interviews with Buz and Woody. There are also 4 TV spots, a print-ad gallery and a toys gallery. Both of these two galleries are recorded in "play" mode where they auto-cycle through the images accompanied by music. That doesn't bother me but I'll voice my oft-cited complaint that the images rarely use the screen real estate to full advantage (masked on all 4 sides) needlessly sacrificing resolution for "border effect".
          [*][b]Toy Story Treats:REPEAT The most enjoyable bonus material in my humble opinion are the randomly placed TV shorts which PIXAR animated for Disney to use as spots during commercial segments during Saturday morning cartoons. They appear throughout the special feature menus...denoted by the occasional Sheriff’s star...highlight it and you'll see. You can see them grouped together by selecting "index" under the main menu and then selecting the Sheriff's star off to the left. This list appears to be incomplete in comparison to the several-pages of items I remember from the box set. I'll list the ones appearing on this edition:

            [*]Hobbies[*]Dreams[*]Space Rangers[*]Games[*]Rex at Play[*]Salesman[*]Night Time[*]Thrill Ride[*]TV Time[*]Professor Rex[*]Fast Food[*]Alien Encounter[*]Go Fish[/list] These shorts totally rock...they may be quickly rendered and use different voice-over talent for some of the characters...but PIXAR's marvelously dry sense of humor is as irreverent as ever. Some of these shorts will elicit spontaneous bursts of laughter...beware.

            [/list]
            My comments here in the bonus area is a work in progress. If I've missed something that's caught your eye, or you have insights into various additions/omissions/changes in comparison to the box set, or simply have something worthwhile to say, don't hesitate to do so. I'll keep updating this area as I have more time to compare and as more posts are added to the thread to keep an updated log of everyone's consensus.



            [b]All Together...


            If you've never seen Toy Story before, you've been given a great reason to join the rest of the world and watch the film that forever changed the course of animation. Those of you who managed to get this far without having bought Toy Story on DVD in its already-released form should give yourself grace to snatch up this new edition without looking back. And to those of you who already know and love Toy Story and own the current DVD box-set, I hate to say it. I really do! Yes, if you care about the kinds of improvements in picture and sound that I've described in this review then you simply MUST buy this new 10th Anniversary DVD of Toy Story. If you have the strength that I would not were I in your shoes...you might find that not reading this review and focusing on the eventual Blu-ray release just might give you the conviction that you need to keep your will-not-double-dip resolution. What's an audio/videophile to do? Disney has really stuck it to us folks...they've improved both picture and sound enough to make this HT enthusiast give in without a struggle. I'll bet my sister would love to have my old DVD copy...it's certain that I'll never watch that DVD again.



            [b]MUST BUY









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#2 of 161 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted August 20 2005 - 04:28 PM

I'm drooling in anticipation Posted Image ...

- Steve

#3 of 161 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted August 20 2005 - 04:38 PM

Great movie, sounds like a great DVD, so I'm in (again). Posted Image

#4 of 161 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted August 20 2005 - 04:45 PM

I am stunned. I was very, very, very doubtful that this would be worth an upgrade. But color me convinced. And also drooling. Posted Image
"Movies should be like amusement parks. People should go to them to have fun." - Billy Wilder

"Subtitles good. Hollywood bad." - Tarzan, Sight & Sound 2012 voter.

"My films are not slices of life, they are pieces of cake." - Alfred Hitchcock"My great humility is just one of the many reasons that I...

#5 of 161 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted August 20 2005 - 04:47 PM

BTW, you've got Sept. 9 as the release date. Is that right? I thought it was Sept. 6 (which is a Tuesday).
"Movies should be like amusement parks. People should go to them to have fun." - Billy Wilder

"Subtitles good. Hollywood bad." - Tarzan, Sight & Sound 2012 voter.

"My films are not slices of life, they are pieces of cake." - Alfred Hitchcock"My great humility is just one of the many reasons that I...

#6 of 161 OFFLINE   George_W_K

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Posted August 20 2005 - 04:58 PM

Thanks, Dave, for an outstanding review. Sounds like a definite double dip to me. And if the improvement made on this Toy Story is a sign of what's to come on Toy Story 2, (words can't describe what I'm feeling right now, thinking about it).

When you get a chance, how are the special features here compared to the Toy Story 3 disc set? I only bought the 2 pack, so I missed out on the extra content. Thanks.

3 weeks will be a long wait!

#7 of 161 OFFLINE   Mark Lucas

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Posted August 20 2005 - 07:15 PM

There needs to be screenshot comparisons, Bjoern style. Simple adjectives don't do it anymore.

#8 of 161 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted August 20 2005 - 07:31 PM

Wow DaVid. One of the greats from Pixar. Well, they're all great from Pixar. Looks like I'll have to retire the Ultimate Toy Box dvd now. Posted Image

#9 of 161 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted August 20 2005 - 08:18 PM

Glowing review aside, I still see no reason to upgrade in my particular situation since, a) I have watched the first Toy Story film perhaps twice in the five years I've owned the Ultimate Toy Box, and b) I only have a 27" TV, and with my budget that's gonna be the case for another 3-5 years. So, by then, if I want to upgrade I'll have another release to consider, I reckon.

Regardless of my particular circumstances, thanks for the great review. Good to see Disney is putting some real effort into the double-dips for those who can afford it. Posted Image

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#10 of 161 OFFLINE   Reagan

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Posted August 21 2005 - 01:17 AM

Thanks for the review, David. But when are you going to start putting some effort into them?

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#11 of 161 OFFLINE   Harold Wazzu

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Posted August 21 2005 - 01:37 AM

I can only hope that Toy Story 2 is as good as this release sounds.

#12 of 161 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted August 21 2005 - 02:52 AM

I'm sure we'll be equally impressed with the Toy Story 2 re-release.

Brandon,

unless you've got a great audio system that would make the improvements with the new DTS mix worth the while, I'd definitely hold out a while longer in your case...maybe by the time this hits Blu-ray you'll have an affordable 16x9 1080P display...drool...

Quote:
There needs to be screenshot comparisons, Bjoern style. Simple adjectives don't do it anymore.

I'm right there with ya.

If I had:

1. a computer with a DVD drive to capture screen shots

and

2. a website to host images that wouldn't crash with all the hits from HTF

I'd do it! Posted Image

Nils said he might be able to help with with #2, but I still don't have a way to get the images off the disc...

Tell me this folks...does someone make a video card with a DVI/hdmi *input*??? Since my DVD player has a DVI output that's scaled to 1280 x 720...if I could run that DVI cable to my PC and get the image into it...maybe that would work? Another solution (and I'm totally serious) is if an HTF member in the DC area has a PC with a DVD drive that they are getting rid of...or a DVD drive I could install... and want to donate to the cause. I just moved into my first home and I'm too strapped for cash to upgrade the PC just yet...
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#13 of 161 OFFLINE   Bernard E.

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Posted August 21 2005 - 04:16 AM

Any subtitle in the movie and extras?

Any extra language in the audio options?

#14 of 161 OFFLINE   Ernesto.Morin

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Posted August 21 2005 - 06:10 AM

Great review! Can't wait for this now!

#15 of 161 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted August 21 2005 - 08:03 AM

Very in-depth review. Thanks.
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#16 of 161 OFFLINE   Ray H

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Posted August 21 2005 - 01:30 PM

Wow. I want this even more than before!
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#17 of 161 OFFLINE   Sean Moon

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Posted August 21 2005 - 01:35 PM

Damn, I dont wanna double dip, but this gives me an excuse to leave my ultimate toybox alone and let it sit like a trophy now.
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#18 of 161 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted August 21 2005 - 02:45 PM

Will you be able to compare the special features to those in the UTB? If this has new (worthwhile) features along with the improved quality, it might be a good Christmas present.

Any word on a new Super-Ultimate Toy Box, based on these new releases?

#19 of 161 OFFLINE   BrianB

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Posted August 21 2005 - 03:24 PM

Quote:
1 - 2 An absolute abomination. Hurts to watch. Think "Outland" (scan-line aliasing, chroma noise, dotcrawl)-- truly horrid.
2 - 3 Has some serious problems, but one can at least watch it without getting a headache despite all the problems though you might try to talk your guests into picking a different movie to watch if you have a large projection screen. Think Cold Mountain.

So is a 2 an absolute ambomination or just 'has some serious problems'? That's less ambigious? Posted Image
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#20 of 161 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted August 21 2005 - 04:55 PM

You know, this would be a no-brainer double dip for me (as the improvements in A/V alone are often enough for me) if the HD formats weren't just around the corner. 2-3 years ago I'd already have this on preorder. Unfortunately I've also recently gotten a OTA HD receiver and have now seen HD in abundance, and now I'm starting to rethink all my purchasing/repurchasing strategies and saving up for the "next gen" HD-DVDs.

I knew something was wrong when I saw the Superbit titles all for $9.99 in Best Buy and I didn't pick up any double dips, which I would have done in the past (MIB, MIB2, and some other Superbit titles were screaming at me to buy them). I did pick up Lawrence of Arabia because I've never owned that movie before.

But thank you anyway for the exhaustive review. I'm glad Disney/Pixar really pulled out all the stops and that this didn't turn out to be just an attempted fleecing of our wallets.

Unfortunately now that I've seen HD (and damn, it even made The Tuxedo worth watching--only for J.L. Hewitt in HD of course Posted Image ) I will wait on that format for all double dips.

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