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In 1995 the world of animation was forever changed with the release of Toy Story, the first ever computer animated feature film. As hard as it is to comprehend, it is now ten years on and while there have been computer animated films a plenty released in those ten years, none have come close to being as beloved as Toy Story and its equally, if not more so, entertaining sequel. It seems like this is the umpteenth time Toy Story has been released, but it can be argued that it's a film that's worthy of numerous editions.

Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition
Film
For the uninitiated, Toy Story is the tale of toys, in particular the town of toys who reside in young boy Andy’s bedroom. When their beloved owner is not around, the toys come to life and participate in their own little society. The appointed leader of the toys is Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), an old cowboy doll whose been Andy’s favourite toy since Kindergarten. Andy’s other toys include Rex the T-Rex (voiced by Wallace Shawn), Mr.Potato Head (Don Rickles), Slinky the Dog (Jim Varney), Hamm the piggy bank (John Ratzenberger) and Bo Peep (Annie Potts). But it's Woody who has remained numero uno is Andy’s heart and retained the prime position in Andy’s room, the bed. But when Andy’s birthday party is suddenly brought forward by the family's impending move, the toys move into crisis mode with the prospect of new toys replacing them. Woody isn’t worried until in a rush of excitement Andy knocks him off the bed and in his place is the newest, greatest and flashiest toy on the market, space ranger Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen). Naturally there is supreme animosity between Woody and Buzz and the sudden turn of events is not helped by the rest of the toys obvious infatuation with gadget loaded Buzz. At its core Toy Story is a buddy movie and it follows the usual buddy film conventions. In the beginning, Woody and Buzz are polar opposites who can find no common ground, but through their misadventures and their battle with the evil brat next door, the two toys manage to bond and discover that they can be friends and co-exist in Andy’s room. It’s a sweet and simple story, but it works a treat.

There are far too many classic moments and quotes woven into the short seventy-seven minute running time to explore here, but one of the more resonate elements of the film is the devotion that the toy’s show Andy. As Woody tells the other toys at the beginning of the film, their purpose it to be there for Andy, while they have created their own society within his room and each toy has their own neuroses and worries, their sole purpose is to be Andy’s toys. This theme would be further explored in Toy Story 2 with Woody questioning his role as Andy’s toy, but for this film the theme is poignantly explored with the introduction of Buzz.

Unlike it’s more far ranging sequel, Toy Story is a relatively simple story that only succeeds because of the eloquently created characters. Sure, the animation is stunning as well, but it’s the characters that make this film so endearing and beloved and make it a universally appealing film. It’s not just a fantastic animated film, but a fantastic film. While most other computer animated films released since 1995 have been deemed as enjoyable for both kids and adults, I don’t think that this statement holds true, especially for the in my view, over hyped Finding Nemo. On the other hand, Toy Story and its sequel can truly be enjoyed viewing after viewing by anyone of any age. Toy Story set the bar very high for every animated film that would precede it,  not only in terms of the technology, but in the richness of characterisation. Possibly only The Incredibles has come close to matching it in both those departments, however, it’s certainly a debatable subject reliant on personal preference. But one thing is undisputable, Toy Story was the first and it ushered in a new revolution of animation and it doesn’t matter how far the technology develops or how many delightful or groundbreaking animated films are released, it is the animated film that all others are, and always will be, measured against.

Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition
Video
Previous editions of this film on DVD have offered nothing short of spectacular video presentations, but this 10th Anniversary offers a new transfer with a super high bitrate. The film is once again presented in its original 1.78:1 theatrical aspect ratio and looks supercalifragilisticexpialidociously amazing. While the film has never looked close to awful on any format, this new visual transfer makes every other transfer look soft and dull. As it's possible for the transfer to come directly from Pixar’s original digital source, the DVD offers a degree of perfection in terms of visuals that is quite astounding. Details are exception on this edition, with toy details downright stunning. The different between the previous edition’s transfer and this new one is most obvious on a larger screen with the smoothness and fluidity of the image simply spectacular. There are no real issues with their transfer, as there were no real issues with the previous toy box edition.

  Audio
This new edition of Toy Story, while boasting the THX certified 5.1 surround package of previous releases, also contains a DTS 5.1 track.  The DTS offers spectacular sound with dialogue always crystal clear and the Randy Newman score seeping through all five channels to create a absorbing atmosphere. Surround sound is constant and the major difference between the Dolby 5.1 audio and the DTS audio is the activity of the subwoofer, which works overtime with the DTS audio. While the Dolby 5.1 package is more than adequate for this film, the DTS is a nice addition to this release, offering a perfect, problem free soundtrack that really enhances the viewing experience.

Extras
Spread across two discs, the bonus materials for this 10th Anniversary edition include many of the extras available on previous releases, with a few newly produced extras thrown in for good measure. The first disc includes two new extras. First is a short introduction from Hawaiian shirt clad director John Lasseter sitting amongst a massive collection of Toy Story merchandise as he muses about the tenth anniversary of the film, as well as pointing out the amazing bitrate that the film now offers. It's worth noting that these director introductions seem to be the new DVD extra du jour and some are worthy inclusions while others are simply unnecessary. While Lasseter is a pleasant enough guy, who reflects a degree of sunshiny happiness that is almost blinding, his intro doesn’t really add anything to this edition.

Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition
The second new extra is ‘The Legacy of Toy Story’, which runs just over ten minutes. Despite its short running time, almost all of the central figures involved in the creation of the film are interviewed as well as some famous fans. A few faces of note includes Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, The Incredibles director Brad Bird, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, film critic Leonard Maltin and Roy E. Disney. This featurette also touches on the influence that the film has had on popular culture with a couple of TV and movie video snippet referencing the film, with the best being the Woody and Buzz analogy from the excellent British comedy Coupling. Retrospectives are always a good idea for a extra, but they are rarely pulled off with this degree of detail and participation. While the film certainly warrants a much lengthier reflection, this is still a respectful and entertaining look back.

Lastly, there is the audio commentary by director Lasseter, writers Pete Doctor, Andrew Stanton, supervising technical director Bill Reeves, art director Ralph Eggleston, and producers Bonnie Arnold and Ralph Guggenheim, which is the same commentary previously released on both the laserdisc and previous DVD releases. This exuberant bunch of speakers offers plentiful info about particular sequences and the development of the film. The added bonus on this commentary is the inclusion of two subtitle tracks. One introduces the speakers each time they speak and the other offers an abridged transcript of what is spoken.

The second disc houses all the remaining extras, which are numerous. Firstly there is the twenty minute featurette ‘Making of Toy Story’ which seems to be a shorter version of the featurette ‘The Story Behind Toy Story’, which was included on the Ultimate Toy Box release. While that featurette offered a lot of behind the scenes footage of almost all the voice talent, this edited featurette only includes Tom Hanks and Tim Allen and the Pixar animators. Although shorter, this new featurette is actually more informative, but it’s a shame that footage of all the voice actors at work has been cut.  A new feature ‘Filmmakers Reflect,’ runs for over fifteen minutes and features director John Lasseter, co-writers Andrew Stanton, Pete Doctor and Joe Ranft in a jovial chat about the creation and execution of Toy Story. While all four let the jokes and jabs at each other flow thick and fast, they also discuss the difficulties they had working with Disney and the devastation when the production was shut down.

Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition
An almost twenty minute collection of deleted scenes is the next extra. This extra is actually a merging of two separate sections from the Ultimate Toy Box and therefore there are two introductions from various Pixar animators. The next feature ‘Behind the Scenes’ was also available on the Ultimate Toy Box, but one new section ‘Designing Toy Story has been added. The remainder of this feature includes various design segments addressing ‘Characters’, ‘Sets’, ‘Colour’ and ‘Story’. All in all this section is very comprehensive and informative and doesn’t leave a design stone unturned.

The final substantial features are divided into ‘Music and Sound,’ ‘Production’ and ‘Publicity’. The ‘Music and Sound’ section includes a short sound design featurette, Randy Newman singing demos and a music video for ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ from Newman and Lyle Lovett. The ‘Production’ section offers a production tour and animation tour as well as early animation tests, production progression on one scene and a Buzz Lightyear commercial. Finally there is the ‘Publicity’ section which includes character interviews, trailers, TV spots and galleries of ads and toys.

The last listed extra ‘The Claw! Game,’ is exactly what it sounds like. The player operates the Pizza Planet Claw Toy machine and like Sid from the film must try and grab the prized toy, which means anything other than those annoying green aliens. Finally, a thirteen minute collection of ‘Toy Story Treats’ are included and are either accessible through the index menu of disc two or scattered around in the bonus, deleted scenes, behind the scenes, publicity and music and sound menus by highlighting the yellow Sheriff Woody star. These segments were produced by Pixar for commercial breaks between cartoons and are actually very entertaining.

Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition
Overall
It’s always a little annoying, or in some cases extremely annoying, when previous releases DVDs are constantly re-released with new extras or superior packaging and you have to debate whether to update or settle for what you already bought. For anyone who already owns the Ultimate Toy Box, I wouldn’t worry about having to rush out and buy this new 10th Anniversary edition of Toy Story. Yes, the video and audio transfers are slightly better, but what the Toy Box offers is almost the same. There are a few nice extras only available on this release, but it’s a matter of questioning what you want and what you can go without. For everyone else who doesn’t have this film sitting pretty in their DVD library—shame on you. How can you call yourself a DVD lover if you don’t have this film? Go out and buy it right now.


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