Destined to become another Halloween perennial like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Pixar’s Toy Story of Terror! is a delightful romp with many of the beloved Toy Story characters and a few new faces along for a scary and exhilarating ride. What’s more, because the story isn’t fixed on Halloween but rather on creepy doings in a shuddery motel, it could actually be shown at any time of year. It’s another winner filled with the humor and heart-thumping adventure which certainly distinguished the three Toy Story features.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Run Time: 0 Hr. 22 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copykeep case with a slipcover
Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
Release Date: 08/19/2014
When little Bonnie (Emily Hahn) and her mom (Lori Alan) have a blowout on the highway and pull into a motel for the night, many of Bonnie’s toys brought along on the trip leave the luggage once their two owners are asleep and get pulled into a mysterious and somewhat frightening adventure where first Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) goes missing (except for his arm), and then one-by-one, the other familiar characters are carried away by an unknown entity. Only Jessie (Joan Cusack) is left, and she’s suddenly scooped up by a toy action figure Combat Carl (Carl Weathers) who cautions her that she’ll have to find resilience within herself if she’s to survive the night and find out what has happened to her pals.
The Production Rating: 4.5/5
Director Angus MacLane has written a first-rate script which trades on familiar tropes of the horror and mystery genres (especially for the first half of this special) before the screenplay morphs into one of the expected Toy Story survival adventure tales by the second half of the narrative, and the Pixar team has designed and executed some truly frightening moments in the early going with eerie low lighting and later spooky green light which aids immeasurably in the mood of fright and the kind of creeping terror used in horror films for decades. One of the special’s real inspirations is allowing acting expert Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton) to provide for the audience in the first part (before he gets swept away) running commentary on how their dilemma parallels events in a typical fright feature (the special even begins with the gang watching a cheesy vampire film while he provides expert analysis of the events as they occur). The Pixar animators as usual have comic timing down to a science (don’t turn off the special at the first sign of credits; there are hilarious things to come), and they’ve worked in new characters (besides Carl, there is Kate McKinnon’s PEZ Cat, Peter Sohn’s transformer Transitron, some Legos, and an ancient clock called Old Timer) so that they feel like part of the gang in a very brief amount of time. Hopefully, it’s not the last we’ve seen of them as they’re very entertaining).
Most of the usual Toy Story voices are here: Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz, Wallace Shawn as Rex, Kristen Schaal as Trixie (in addition to the others already named), and they’re as wonderful as ever. Carl Weathers is terrific as the gung-ho Carl with the CGI animation software so versatile now that he seems strikingly real. Stephen Tobolowsky as the motel manager is likewise effective in a role more substantial than it first appears. Joan Cusack’s Jessie and Timothy Dalton’s Mr. Pricklepants have more to do this time out than is usual in the features and shorts, and it’s great to see them more in the limelight.
Behind The Scenes of Toy Story OF TERROR!
The special has been framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Sharpness is expectantly brilliant throughout, and color is controlled to beautiful and intricate perfection. Contrast is adjusted so that low light levels are expectedly murky and other locations out of the shadows are bright and clear. There is no banding or any kind of artifact to spoil the reference quality video of this release. The presentation has been divided into 10 chapters.
Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is one of the most sophisticated sound designs for a television special ever done. Every one of those front and rear speakers gets used individually with voices bouncing around and split sound effects popping and echoing at any given moment. Oscar and Emmy winner Michael Giacchino’s score channeled through the soundstage provides lively accompaniment to the scary, tense, and funny moments in the script. Dialogue is always clear and is mostly in the center channel except when directionalized dialogue suits the needs of the story.
Audio Rating: 5/5
Audio Commentary: writer-director Angus MacLane, editor Axel Geddes, and director of photography Ian McGiven each offer valuable insights into their production concepts and achievements on the special.
Special Features Rating: 4/5
Toy Story Toons (HD): three of the hilarious shorts are offered here with optional commentary available from Pixar creative personnel involved in their making: Hawaiian Vacation (5:53), Small Fry (7:06), and Partysaurus Rex (6:34).
Team of Specialists (11:53, HD): writer-director Angus MacLane, producer Galyn Susman, and crew members from various departments discuss their work on the special.
Deleted Scenes (7:23, HD): three scenes done in story reel and rough animation are introduced by editor Axel Geddes who explains why the scenes never got to final animation stages.
Teaser Trailer (1:04, HD): teaser for the ABC network broadcast.
Vintage Commercials (2:39, HD): three vintage commercials prepared especially for the disc advertise Combat Carl, Old Timer, and Transitron (in Japanese). The viewer can also choose to watch Toy Story of Terror! with these three commercials placed during the special’s three commercial breaks.
Promo Trailers (HD): Sleeping Beauty, Frozen: Sing Along Edition, Legend of the Neverbeast.
Digital Copy: code sheet enclosed in the case.
Team of Specialists
Combat Carl PSA
Another wonderfully entertaining and infinitely repeatable Pixar production, Toy Story of Terror! is simply a joy from beginning to end. Highly recommended!
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
Support HTF when you buy this title: