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    Apr 2007
    Saint Louis, Missouri

    BLU-RAY REVIEW: Toy Story & Toy Story 2 Special Edition Combo Packs

    The toys are back in town on Blu-ray...

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    It’s hard to believe, but it has been over fifteen years since Toy Story was first released into theaters. The very first computer-animated feature length film, Toy Story captured the heart of audiences the world over and set the example for the countless other successors. One such film was Toy Story 2, the direct sequel that was released four years later and ended up being even more successful than the first. With a continually amazing animated library that continues to impress with such films as Wall E and Up, Pixar is going to infinity and beyond with a third and final chapter in the Toy Story series. To commemorate the toys’ return to the big screen, Disney has re-released the first two Toy Story films in the amazing Blu-Ray High Definition. Toy Story & Toy Story 2 Special Edition Combo Packs give fans both Blu-Ray and DVD copies of the film along with a toy box full of special features and bonus material.

    Both Blu-Ray presentations of the films are sheer perfection, with the vibrant colors and crisp animation presented in 1080p High-Definition. The fantastic voice acting by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, along with the rest of the gang, and the fun, memorable soundtrack by Randy Neuman sound flawless in the crystal-clear 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound.

    In the original Toy Story, we meet Woody, a rootin’ tootin’ cowboy doll who is the favorite toy in a collection of childhood favorites belonging to a young boy named Andy and who reside in his bedroom. Things start to change for Woody after Andy’s birthday party yields a new, flashy action figure named Buzz Lightyear. This “Space Ranger”, who is confused about his status as a toy, slowly becomes a new favorite plaything for Andy and idolized by the other toys in his room. A jealous Woody accidentally knocks Buzz out the window and begins a big adventure as Woody and Buzz must set aside their differences and work together to make it back home.

    In Toy Story 2 the adventure continues as the toys panic over a family yard sale. When Woody attempts to rescue a friend from the sale, he is stolen by the greedy “Big Al”. The toy storeowner wants to sell him with a collection of memorabilia from the “Woody’s Round-up” television show. As the shock of finding where he came from sets-in and he meets an all-new group of friends, Buzz mounts a rescue mission that will have Woody choosing between his “Round-Up Gang” and the love of his boy Andy.

    Both films include a ton of bonus features sure to entertain and excite fans of all ages, including a whole series of features brought over from the previous DVD releases of the films several years prior. The new features added with the Toy Story Blu-Ray release include an Audio Commentary with John Lasseter and Crew and a Toy Story 3 Sneak Peek: The Story which looks at the plot of the new film. Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: Blast Off is an educational featurette with Buzz Lightyear talking about the real NASA and the International space station. Paths To Pixar – Artists talks with some of the people behind the scenes about their careers and how to came to work for Pixar. Studio Stories are a series of shorts featuring humorous anecdotes from the Pixar offices including John’s Car, Baby AJ, and Scooter Races. Buzz Takes Manhattan talks with John Lasseter about the year Buzz became a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Black Friday: The Toy Story You Never Saw talks with John Lasseter and crew about their early production troubles and early cut of the film. Toy Story 2 has just as many Blu-Ray exclusive features including an Audio Commentary and the Toy Story 3 Sneak Peek: Characters which introduces several of the new faces. Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: International Space Station continues the real-life NASA adventures from the Toy Story disc. Paths to Pixar – Technical Artists is another series of interviews with the people behind-the-scenes. Three more Studio Stories segments are presented including Toy Story 2 Sleep Deprivation Lab, Pinocchio, and The Movie Vanishes. Pixar’s Zoetrope shows how they built a real, three-dimensional zoetrope to study animation. Celebrating Our Friend Joe Ranft is a tribute to the late Disney/Pixar story artist.

    The quality of the presentation and the timelessness and popularity of the story and characters, coupled with amazing music, voice-acting, and animation make these two of the must-own Blu-Ray titles for the year and some of the finest animated films to have in your home video collection period. The Toy Story & Toy Story 2 Special Edition Combo Packs are available now from Disney Home Entertainment, and with some remarkably great deals depending on where you look.

    - Michael Klein
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