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Walt Disney Home Video presents
Toy Story (10th Anniversary Edition) (1995)

"To infinity….and beyond!" 
- Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen)

Review By: Jon Danziger  
Published: September 06, 2005

Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen
Other Stars: Don Rickles, John Ratzenberger, Wallace Shawn
Director: John Lasseter

MPAA Rating: G
Run Time: 01h:20m:32s
Release Date: September 06, 2005
UPC: 786936294507
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

My goodness, has it been ten years already? The last decade has seen an astonishing change in the animation landscape, having principally to do with accelerating technological innovation, and it all more or less begins with Toy Story—but the movie endures not because the animation looks so cool (and it does still, in fact, look very, very cool), but because it's used in the service of a winning story, one with which all of us can identify. It's probably too much to compare this with Steamboat Willie or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but when you think about Tron and then take a look at this, you've got to have a world of respect for the good folks at Pixar for being both technological innovators and first-rate storytellers in the classic Hollywood tradition.

The look of the movie is hard to get past, though—the three-dimensionality of the computer-generated images makes this 80 minutes of eye candy, especially if you're an animation fan. In the intervening years, the technology has raced ahead still farther, but this is kind of the Rosetta stone of the new age of animation, and it's the yardstick by which all other films in the field are measured.

What keeps this from being just a geeky animatronic exercise, though, is a heartfelt tale that imagines what goes on with all of our playthings while we're out of the room. The universe of this movie revolves around Andy's room, the inhabitants of which, aside from Andy and his little sister, are the little boy's playthings. Chief among them is Sheriff Woody, Andy's very favorite, who, though proud of his status, doesn't preen about it; the movie is on many levels about disposability, about the fear of being replaced, and that certainly lurks in the plastic heart of every toy in Andy's room. The most perilous days on the calendar are Christmas and Andy's birthday—what will he get? Will Andy grow tired of me, or grow out of playing with me, or renew his interest in that other toy over there that he became bored with so many months ago?

Immediately Woody's worst nightmare comes true: his spot as Andy's favorite has been usurped, by Buzz Lightyear, an astronaut action figure. How Woody attempts to fend off Buzz's advances and remain Andy's alpha toy is what the main storyline of the film is about; of course they face shared adversity, too, especially when they're briefly in the clutches of the evil Sid, Andy's next-door neighbor, who maims toys for sport. One of the many things that the film does so well is integrate new characters like Buzz and Woody into the world of toys we already know—Don Rickles provides the voice of a prickly Mr. Potatohead, for instance, and when you've got to draw a picture in a hurry, there's nothing like Andy's Etch-a-Sketch. Tim Allen is a fantastically fatuous Buzz Lightyear, the action figure convinced that he is in fact a supergalactic superhero, and not a child's plaything; Tom Hanks brings his best aw-shucks quality to Sheriff Woody, a well-intentioned toy sometimes blinded by pride.

As a parent, I can assure you that there are many, many sad and sorry excuses out there for children's entertainment: so much is frequently stupid or insulting or violent or ugly to look at, or all of the above. And anybody who has a child that's been born since this film came out has probably seen it dozens if not hundreds of times; it doesn't wash away all the other awful stuff that's out there, but it's as good as entertainment gets for the little people, and its technological marvels and classically well-told story make it worth at least a couple of viewings, even if you're long past deciding whether or not you want to be Buzz or Woody this Halloween.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.77:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Picture quality here is absolutely stellar—no nasty degradation happens when your film is stored on a hard drive. This is a pristine transfer, and looks as good at home as it ever did on the big screen.

Image Transfer Grade: A+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, French, Spanishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The raft of audio options all sound good, and your choice should probably be driven by your home theater setup. The 5.1 track sounds especially rich, nuanced, and well balanced; but a pair of headphones jacked into your laptop for that long flight to see Grandma will be just fine, too.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 30 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
8 Other Trailer(s) featuring Cars, Toy Story 2, Cinderella, Chicken Little, Tarzan, Studio Ghibli DVDs, Lady and the Tramp, Old Yeller
4 TV Spots/Teasers
8 Deleted Scenes
2 Documentaries
16 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Ralph Eggleston, Bill Reeves, Ralph Guggenheim, Bonnie Arnold
Packaging: Gladiator style 2-pack
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. The Claw game
  2. gallery of posters and toys
  3. Easter eggs galore
Extras Review: Well, here's where the caveats come in. A few years ago, Disney and Pixar released The Ultimate Toy Story Collection, of which I am a proud owner; after you've put out what's billed as the ultimate, it's more than a little difficult to give a hard sell to the next incarnation—the super ultimate! The ultimate ultimate! But then, Disney well knows that parents of small children and DVD buyers can be played for suckers and asked to buy the same thing twice, so here we are. There's lots and lots of stuff here, but much of it will already be familiar to Toy Story die hards, and you know who you are.

Director John Lasseter provides an introduction (01m:10s) to the feature on the first disc, newly recorded for this release; get used to his infectious energy, because he's just about everywhere here. (The disc also opens with a raft of trailers, including a preview of Pixar's delayed Cars, and the promise that Toy Story 2 will also be getting the two-disc treatment; it's coming out on December 26.) The commentary track from previous releases is here as well, and it's informative and fun, assembling the film's writers, producers, supervising technical director and art director along with Lasseter for a freewheeling roundtable. They're especially good on story, and on the contributions from the voice-over actors; there are so many of them on the track, though, that occasionally a narrator chimes in to let us know who's speaking, or names are flashed on screen as subtitles.

Also on Disc One is The Legacy of Toy Story (11m:42s), featuring animation historians, animation students, and current animators (including Chris Wedge, the director of Robots, and Brad Bird, the director of The Incredibles) professing their love for the film. Also on hand are some even higher-profile fans, including George Lucas, Peter Jackson, Roy Disney, and Lightyear namesake and inspiration, astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The menus here are housed on an animated television; click on one of the TV's knobs for an Easter egg, a commercial for Buzz action figures.

Disc Two opens with Making Toy Story (20m:18s), featuring many of our friends from the commentary track; Lasseter is especially good on the evolution of the technology in service of story, and on the first incarnation of Buzz as Lunar Larry. Lasseter, Stanton and Docter are joined by the late Joe Ranft as the Filmmakers Reflect (16m:33s) while sitting around the Pixar lobby, trading fond memories of the creative process. Editor Lee Unkrich introduces a package (18m:50s) of eight deleted scenes; two of them are of Sid torturing poor Buzz and Woody, and are pretty close to completion, while the others, including two discarded openings, are principally in storyboard form.

Designing Toy Story (06m:12s) goes over the evolution of the film's visual style, and the section includes galleries for various looks at the characters, sets, and color palettes; the first two include 3-D turnarounds, while the last has three featurettes with the art direction team. There are storyreel versus film comparisons for three sequences, and five featurettes on the animators working in the bowels of Pixar; Music and Sound includes a music video for You've Got a Friend in Me, along with a featurette on sound design and five cuts of Randy Newman demos.

Still not enough, you say? A publicity section features trailers, TV spots, a gallery of posters and toys, and an "interview" on set with Buzz and Woody; also, every time you see Woody's badge, click on it, and you'll find another Easter egg. Finally, amuse yourself by playing The Claw game; it's the next best thing to a trip to Pizza Planet.

Extras Grade: A


Final Comments

All the bells and whistles on this two-disc set are fascinating for hardcore animation fans and future animators; but the main reason to watch is for the movie itself, so if you've already got a copy, there may not be enough new stuff here to think about double dipping. Still, Toy Story remains one of the best kids' movies ever produced, and the computer-graphics revolution it unleashed has brought us films of varying quality, all of which must be judged against the high standards of this one. To infinity, and beyond! 


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