Discs Are Rated
Toy Story: The Ultimate Toy Box
review by Zach B.
Toy Story: 81 Minutes
Toy Story 2:
With the voices of: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Wallace
Shawn, Jim Varney, Annie Potts, Joan Cusack (Toy Story 2),
Kelsey Grammar (Toy Story 2), Wayne Knight (Toy Story 2),
Jodi Benson (Toy Story 2)
Directed by John Lasseter (Toy Story 1 and 2)
Retail Price: $69.99
Toy Story: Tin Toy Short, The Story Behind Toy Story, Toy
Story Treats (with intro), On Set Interview with Buzz and
Woody, Buzz Lightyear TV Commerical (with intro), Multi
Language Reel, Dolby Digital 5.1 Sound Effects Only Track,
Audio Commentary with John Lasseter, Ralph Guggenheim,
Bonnie Arnold, Andrew Stanton, Peter Doctor, Bill Reeves and
Toy Story 2: Audio Commentary with John Lasseter, Lee
Unkrich, Ash Brannon and Andrew Stanton, Dolby Digital 5.1
Surround EX Sound Effects Only Track, Monsters Inc. Preview,
Luxo Jr. short, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The
Adventure Begins Spot, Outtakes
Supplement Features Disc:
Toy Story: History and Development Featurette, Early
Animation Test, Original Treatments, Production Notes, Cast
Bios, Character Designs, Art Designs, Envrionmental Designs,
Storyboard Pitch, Editing, Story Reel, Storyboard to Final,
Abandoned Concepts, Production Tour, Layout Tricks,
Animation Tour, Character Animation, Shaders and Lighting,
Building A Shot, Production Progression Demonstration,
Speciall Effects, Sound Design, Original Song Demos, Deleted
Animation, Posters, Trailers, TV Spots
Toy Story 2: Why A Sequel? featurette, Continuing
World of Toy Story featurette, John Lasseter Profiles, Cast
Bios, Production Notes, Character Designs, Art Designs,
Envrionmental Designs, Story Pitches, Production Tour,
Production Demo, Special Effects, Music featurette, Sound
Design featurette, Mixing Demo, Music Video, Original Song
Demo, Deleted Animation, Trailers, TV Spots, Posters, Who's
The Coolest Toy featurette, Guide to Hidden Jokes, Woody's
Roundup, International Scene
Specs: 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby
Digital 5.1 (Toy Story), French 5.1 Dolby Digital (Toy
Story) English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (Toy Story 2), English
Captions, Chapter Search, THX-Certified
The year 2000 seems to be the best year yet for DVDs in
general. Not only have studios gotten into a good habit of
anamorphic transfers, they're finally delivering some of the
most anticipated titles ever. Sure, we got Jaws, Jurassic
Park, Independence Day and a good amount of others. With
these titles, they've created some great presentations and
in general, some great special editions.
While it is clear to me these special editions for
different films outdo one another, I think we have a new
winner (for now at least). With "The Ultimate Toy Box" a
collection of both "Toy Story" films on DVD. As far back as
anyone can recall, many of us have been anticipating the
original "Toy Story" on DVD. And after the delightful sequel
was released last Thanksgiving, it gave us a reason to want
it more. Yet what some people don't seem to understand is
the fact what it takes to go into a release like "Toy
Story". To create the best presentation ever, direct digital
files are used to transfer the film, instead of the normal
process of film being transfered to video.
Pixar created a whole new standard with their release of
"A Bug's Life" (yes, for both versions). First off, they
gave us a wild presentation, something that we've never seen
before. A stellar, perfect sound mix with a beautiful, jaw
dropping digital transfer. To top it off, a few months after
the original release they put out a Collector's Edition of
the film, with a TON of supplements that took everyone
awhile to go through.
Now, Pixar goes out and releases "The Ultimate Toy Box"
and once again, they outdo themselves. More supplements.
More of the creative team involved. It's just amazing, and
on top of it all, they do it for two great films.
In Thanksgiving 1995, Pixar, a computer animation studio
known for such award winning and nominated shorts such as
"Tin Toy" (a somewhat basis for "Toy Story") and "Luxo Jr."
(I love all their shorts, but I can't resist the snowglobe
opus "KnickKnack"), put out not only the biggest film of the
year with a domestic gross of about 190 million dollars, but
an instant classic and different kind of animated film. The
film of course was "Toy Story", and invited us to meet a
cast of wonderful characters and admire detailed and
beautiful computer animation, which made this movie a whole
new kind of expierence for audiences everywhere.
"Toy Story" begins with Woody, the leader and favorite
toy of a young boy named Andy. The toys live their lives
together, coming alive and talking when their owner is not
around. However, something really shakes them when it's
Andy's birthday, and they all worry about new toys coming to
join them. Nothing major comes to pass, except when a really
cool new toy, Buzz Lightyear, joins them. Buzz has no
recollection of being toy, and actually thinks he is an
outerspace hero. The toys instantly take a shine to him, and
makes our cowboy friend Woody really jealous. Buzz then
becomes Andy's favorite toy, making Woody seem like a
distant second. So Woody attempts a scheme against Buzz
which backfires, and puts their whole fates in complete
jeporady. They go to the food/amusment park "Pizza Planet",
and both end up at Andy's neighbor's house, the mean Sid,
from there. Sid likes to torture toys, and the duo must get
out alive and make it back to Andy... hopefully before the
moving trucks drive away.
I was first on line to see the movie when it opened in
theaters, and since it's debut, "Toy Story" was an instant
classic for all ages. Randy Newman provided some good songs
and a beautiful musical score, while John Lassetter and his
Pixar team created a whole universe with an excellent story,
sharp dialogue and well developed characters. His vision
comes to full life here, and the A list voice cast is
sensational. Tom Hanks provides the voice of Woody, while
Tim Allen is the naive space ranger Buzz Lightyear. John
Ratsenberger from "Cheers", Don Rickles, Annie Potts, the
late Jim Varney and Wallace Shawn make up some more of the
cast. A movie like this doesn't get any better... or does
That's where "Toy Story 2" comes into play. Originally
planned as a direct to video sequel, the film turned out to
be so good the Disney suits had them add more to it and
release it in theaters. There were three versions of the
movie: One that lasted a little over an hour, one that
lasted about 75 minutes, and finally, the theatrical one,
which had more story and more characters crammed into a
little over 90 minutes.
"Toy Story 2" picks up right where the first one ended.
The toys are settled into Andy's new house, everyone knows
their place and they all get along really well. However,
trouble begins to brew when Andy's mom holds a Yard Sale,
and a little squeek penguin toy named Wheezy gets placed in
a box to be bought, Woody goes out to rescue him. It is a
succesful mission, but a greedy toy collector named Al
notices Woody in the sale. When Andy's mom tells him he's
not for sale, he goes out and takes Woody. It's up to Buzz
and some of the other toys to get Woody back before Andy
comes home from a summer camp. While Woody is with Al, Woody
learns he is a really rare toy and from a "Howdy Doody" like
show from the past, and Woody meets up with other, rare toys
from the same show. While Woody decides about his future, to
stay or leave, the other toys are well on their way to find
him with some exciting and often really hilarious events. By
the time the grand finale is reached, you'll be so impressed
at what Pixar has done and by the end of the movie, you'll
feel the impossible has been made possible.
Though I enjoyed the first "Toy Story" a lot, I found
"Toy Story 2" to be far superior to what already was a
cinematic achievment and movie landmark. The animation,
which looked great to begin with is even more detailed and
colorful. I thought the script was well written and the
story more enjoyable than the first, and the whole creative
process behind it amazing, plus the voice actors do another
job well done, with the whole original cast returning and
some nice performances from Joan Cusack and Kelsey Grammar.
What also makes "Toy Story 2" such a marvel is the fact that
it's no longer confied to a specific area, it's all over the
place. The original "Toy Story" was pretty much kept to
Andy's house, Sid's house, Pizza planet and a few scenes
outdoors. "Toy Story 2" is all over the place. The outside
roads with cars, "Al's Toy Barn" toy store, the elevator
shaft, outside Al's apartment, Al's apartment, it goes on
and on and on.
Both of these movies are incredible and never get boring
no matter how many times you watch them. And this DVD is one
of the best releases, if not THE best so far, ever to grace
our favorite video format.
So many of us were really, really impressed with "A Bug's
Life" and the wonderful digital to digital transfer, and
both movies in this package use this same transfer method.
Each properly framed at 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen, what
you get is probably the cleanest, sharpest, dazzling picture
to ever grace the DVD format. Everything is simply perfect
and dead on. Blacks are solid, colors don't smear but are
really bright and colorful, detail is amazing. I can rave on
and on about this transfer. Simply put, it ranks as one of
the best transfers ever. You also may be happy to learn that
these are "properly framed" (as I mentioned). "Toy Story 2"
is fine, but when the original "Toy Story" was in theaters,
it was presented in 1.85:1. The aspect ratio was changed on
the laserdisc and for this DVD, so you are definently seeing
more. I did find a flaw in "Toy Story 2", though: there is
some really slight shimmer now and then. Still, it's all jaw
dropping and great eye candy. Bravo Pixar!
Just as impressive are the sound mixes for each movie.
These are truly, and I mean truly creative tracks. "Toy
Story" is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital, and wow, you'll
really feel like you are part of their world. With Randy
Newman's wonderful music, the whole Pizza Planet scene and
especially the finale, this mix doesn't let you catch your
breath. While "Toy Story" far exceeded what anyone could
dream for, "Toy Story 2" pushes it even further.
"Toy Story 2" is 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, and I found
surrounds to be more plentiful, wider and more dynamic. You
can feel the tension with Woody at the yard sale, when Buzz
and Zurg battle it out in the elevator shaft and of course,
that excellent opening scene is perfect to show off how
breahtaking and exciting the sound can be.
If you plan to read through all of this and not skim it
through or anything, this will take awhile. So pull up a
chair, relax and welcome to the wonderful world of Toy Story
"Toy Story" has some really nice supplements on the disc
beside the movie. I think the highlight of the disc, for me
at least, is the Toy Story Treats. As most of us can
recall, these shorts were used for ABC Saturday Morning back
in the 1996-1997 season. While I thought there were thirteen
of these, there are a whopping fifty two (adding up to
around a half hour). These shorts feature most of the
original voice actors (you get Jim Hanks, Tom's brother as
Woody for example), but are quite a delight to have them all
Tin Toy is the Academy Award® winning Pixar
short which was sort of the basis for Toy Story (as we learn
in the supplement disc, the movie was originally supposed to
star this lead character). This short is a delight and
earned that Oscar®. The short is in widescreen no less,
so be sure to check it out.
The Story Behind Toy Story is a great, making of
feature with interviews with the voice actors and others,
concept art and a good look at the process to see how so
many aspects of the film was made. Be sure to watch this, it
is pretty insightful.
There are Two On Set Interviews with Buzz and
Woody, conducted by John Culhane. These are sorta
stupid, but kind of fun for the younger set.
Buzz Lightyear TV Commerical is the same exact
commerical shown in the original "Toy Story", here it's not
in the background and is full length. It also features a
nice intro by John Lassetter, Andrew Stanton and that um...
other guy (his name escapes my mind).
The Multi-Language Reel is quite interesting, as
the clip where Buzz arrives in front of the toys is
presented, and cuts from English to an additional 29
languages. Pretty fun to see how the movie was dubbed and
how the voices sound in different languages.
The Audio Commentary with John Lasseter, Ralph
Guggenheim, Bonnie Arnold, Andrew Stanton, Peter Doctor,
Bill Reeves and Ralph Eggleston is quite insightful, and
a great commentary track to listen to. All these behind the
creative process discuss the challanges and fun they had
working on the film. Lots of good trivia and comments here,
and it's worth a spin. Also included is a nice 5.1 Dolby
Digital Sound Effects Only Track, where you can pinpoint
all the isolated and wonderful sounds the movie has to
"Toy Story 2" features a little less than the original,
but it's made up on the supplement disc which I'll get to
You get the set of Outtakes, complete in 5.1 Dolby
Digital EX (but full frame). These were used to lure people
back in the theater a month after the movie was released,
and I think this is a new Pixar tradition, to have outtakes
in their films. These outtakes are pretty funny and
The short Luxo Jr., which was nominated for an
Oscar® in 1986, is presented here in widescreen. This
short has always been a favorite of mine, as we see the
father and son lamp Luxo Sr. and Luxo Jr. play a little
ball. Luxo is the lamp in the Pixar logo, in case you don't
A sneak preview of Pixar's next, Monsters Inc. is
included, which features the voices of Billy Crystal and
John Goodman. I'm sure this one will be great, as this
teaser is really funny and in 5.1 Dolby Digital (great
surround effect toward the end). It's due out in November
2001, and I look foward to it.
A short spot for the direct to video animated film
Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command: The Adventure begins
is presented. Yes, it's 2-D and the starting point for the
ABC Saturday morning show and syndicated series.
Now onto the audio supplements: You get a 5.1 Dolby
Digital Surround EX Sound Effects Only Track, which,
like the original "Toy Story", just has the sound effects
from the movie. This boasts a lot, and it's nice to hear
them not cluttered together with music and voice acting.
Finally, there is an Audio Commentary with John
Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Ash Brannon and Andrew Stanton.
This is one of the best commentaries I ever heard, with each
pointing out some great insight, hidden jokes and the
process of making this wonderful sequel. Please listen to
this one, I really enjoyed it, and no one dominates it, and
there are some good laughs here as well.
Okay, this is where so much great stuff lies and makes up
most of the features. You can only get this disc with this
boxed set, and it's well worth it... be prepared, this is
going to take a lot.
The History section features a nice History and
Development featurette, with interviews and behind the
scenes clips of the making of "Toy Story".
Early Test is an early animation test that lasts a
few seconds and features Woody as mean dummy and Buzz as a
newcomer (they look different). It's interesting to see how
the film evolved, and gave Disney a good idea of what the
end production of "Toy Story" would look like.
Original Treatments features an introduction by
John Lasster, and how the movie has really changed from the
original two pitches. So then you can read both pitches, one
from March 1991 and the other from September 1991. They are
kind of lengthy, and again, pretty fascinating to see how
the movie has changed.
Some detailed Production Notes are included and
worth a read (it goes all the way back from when Pixar was
originally established), and there are some detailed and
well written Cast Bios.
The Design section has a Character Design
section with a written introduction, early animation
tests (with commentaries), models, art pieces and a lot of
nice stuff for nearly every character. This section is
incredibly detailed and worth a look to see the changes the
film went through.
The Art Design section has a nice little
featurette called "Designing 'Toy Story'", concept art,
color script and color keys. While the Envriomental
Design looks at Andy's Room, the Gas Station, Pizza
Planet and Sid's Room with various designs and location
tours, with commentaries. Again, great for you budding
The Story part of the disc has the original
Storyboard Pitch with an intro with Joe Ranft, John
Lasseter and Andew Stanton. The pitch features the "Green
Army Men" sequence and Joe Ranft doing it.
Editing features stills and notes on how the film
was edited. I really enjoyed reading all of this, because I
always wondered how animated films are edited. This is
A Story Reel of when Buzz meets the toys for the
first time is on the disc (a story reel is storyboards
filmed together), Storyboard To Film shows the story
reel of of when Buzz and Woody try to reach the moving track
as well as the final film.
Finally, the Abandoned Concepts features a well
said introduction plus three concepts that didn't make it to
final film. A Buzz Lightyear story reel cartoon, Western
Shootout and finally, Woody's Nightmare, a story reel which
later saw itself in a "Toy Story Treat" and "Toy Story 2".
The Computer Animation part of the disc has a nice
Production Tour where they give a brief explanation
of how the leap from storyboards to final computer animation
Layout Tricks is a featurette on how they put
together sets and characters, and how "problems are solved",
usually with certain movements and camera movements. Quite
The Animation Tour is basically a progression demo
of how shots are animated. Character Animation is
more or less the same thing, but with characters and how
things are tweaked.
Shaders and Lighting features an intro, and two
different parts with stills and text you can look at: one on
shaders and on lighting. Each shows how lighting and shading
can make a difference, and how they reflect and build things
Building A Shot is another demo, showing how a
shot is created, from storyboards to final. More or less of
what we've seen before, with some commentary.
Production Progression is where you can use your
angle feature to see the climax of the film from storyboard
to final, and also has an intro to view.
Finally, Special Effects is broken up into four
sections with text and stills: Motion Blur and Refelections,
Rain Effects, Particle Systems and Rendering and
Music and Sound is a bit more brief, where the
Sound Design section features a featurette with Gary
Rydstrom, the sound designer and features clips from the
film. It's a good intro to that isolated sound effects
The second and last part of this section is the Randy
Newman demos, with a detailed bio about Newman and six
demos. It's really interesting to hear stuff that didn't
make it into the film, and what the final songs originally
Deleted Animation has an intro, and three scenes
that were cut from the film: the "Torture Scene", "Rain
Scene" and "Render Bugs". It's nice to see the stuff was
cut, but keep in mind not all of it is complete.
Finally, the "Toy Story" part ends with a Publicity
section. Here you have two Trailers, four TV
Spots, tons of Posters and a Merchandise
catalog. And that ends that part, really great
supplements here to please those who liked the original, and
now on to "Toy Story 2".
"Toy Story 2" of the supplements disc is pretty much set
up like the first movie, and starts with a History
section. Here you got some Production Notes,
Cast Bios, a John Lasseter Profile, the
featurette Why a Sequel? is pretty much fluff but a
good watch, and the featurette Continung World of Toy
Story, which basically explains that stuff that was cut
from the original and was eventually made into the sequel.
Design features Character Design with
animation tests, character turnarounds, modeling designs and
other designs. Art Design has an intro, color script
plus a lighting guide and finally Envriomental Design
with design aspects and location tours for Zurg's Planet,
Andy's House, Al's Apartment, Al's Toy Barn and the Airport.
Just like the part with the original "Toy Story", but this
uses stuff from the sequel.
The Story section has two pitches with intros
where you can use your angle feature to see the pitch, the
storyboards or both. One is for "Woody's Nightmare" and the
other is "Jessie's Song". Each gives you a good idea of how
they were presented, and surprisingly, how much they remain
Computer Animation is a little bit less than with
the "Toy Story" part, but you got another Production
Tour, a Production Demo with the opening scene
(with the addition of shaders and lighting to boot) and a
Special Effects section.
Music and Sound has a featurette on the Music
with interviews and clips from the film, a featurette on
the Sound Design (again, a good intro to the isolated
effects only track), a Mixing Demo, the Music
Video for "Riders In The Sky" performing the Woody theme
and finally, a Jessie's Song Demo, performed by Randy
Newman (and thankfully, not performed by him in the final
Deleted Animation has two deleted scenes: one is
"Crossing The Road" which appears in the film and is
complete, but they changed the location of it in final. The
other, which is also pretty complete, is "Godzila Rex".
There is also a spiffy intro to say why they were cut and
why the former scene was moved.
Publicity has a teaser and theatrical
Trailer, four TV Spots, stills of
Autographed Pictures of the characters in black and
white and their own names (not the voice actors) and to top
it off, the Ad Campaign section has posters galore.
And finally, a really cool section, The Toy Box. A
featurette with interviews and a discussion on toys is with
Who's The Coolest Toy?, a whole guide with stills to
all the Hidden Jokes in the film, an International
Scene where instead of the American flag, there is a
globe with fireworks and finally, Woody's Roundup has
a music video, featurettes on creating the show in the movie
as well as the collectibles and design.
And that is it... wow, all these features will take you a
long time to get through, and give you a great, detailed
look on how a computer animated movie is made, right down to
the last detail. The presentation and cuts of getitng to the
features is simple and organized, with great, animated menus
complete with music and familiar things from the films.
The original "Toy Story" was so eagerly awaited by fans
to appear on the DVD format, and I'm glad Pixar actually
cares about their work and went out of their way to bring
you so much supplementary material as well as a great
presentation for both films. This is a perfect example of
the benefits of DVD and what it should be. A great way to
show off your home theater system, with enough stuff to keep
you entertained and get you to go back and see again. This
is one set everyone should have, considering the amount of
features and that you get two wonderful films that appeal to
,(4.5/5 Toy Story 1, 5/5 Toy Story 2, NOT
included in final score)
NOT an average)