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    • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    • Arabic: Dolby Digital Surround
    • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX
      English, French
    • Additional footage
    • Deleted scenes
    • Teaser trailer
    • Theatrical trailer
    • Cast/crew biographies
    • Featurette
    • Production notes
    • Photo gallery
    • Animated menus
    • Music video
    • Behind the scenes footage
    • TV spot
    • Interviews
    • Awards/Nominations
    • Storyboards
    • Documentaries
    • Multiple angle
    • Outtakes
    • Original screenplay

    Toy Story - The Ultimate Toy Box

    Disney/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 180 mins . G . PAL


    Pixar produced the first fully computer animated feature length film in Toy Story back in 1995. It has since produced A Bug's Life, and Toy Story 2. Pixar have been around for a very long time, producing the first computer rendered short film back in 1986 with Luxo Jr., and later in 1988 with Tin Toy. I remember these with fondness as an undergraduate computer science student, knowing the huge amount of computing power required to make it all happen.

    It was with great anticipation that I awaited this Box Set, including the Supplemental Features DVD, which has lots of information about how the films were made, and lots of background information on the character development and original ideas that started the process. This Box Set has been delayed since October 2000 due to some technical difficulties in the production of the third DVD. It has been a very long wait, and has been very difficult in not purchasing the two movies individually since October!

    The Box Set includes the original Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and the Supplemental Features.

    In Toy Story, Woody, six-year-old Andy's favourite toy, was leader of the toys. At Andy's birthday party, a new toy, Buzz Lightyear joins the toys, and becomes a potential threat. Their initial rivalry finds them in the clutches of the nasty next door neighbour, but working together, they find friendship in each other.

    Of note, a friend of mine with small kids (most under 7) noted that the scene where the "scary toys" from Sid's house were on, and when Sid was torturing the toys, was distressing to several of his kids. I didn't think too much of this, but these scenes are kind of scary looking, so be warned if you have sensitive kids.

    In Toy Story 2, Woody is stolen by a greedy toy collector. We then discover that Woody is a collector's item. This story is about the rescue attempt to recover Woody, and adds a new set of characters in Jessie the Cowgirl, Bullseye the Horse, Stinky Pete the Prospector and Zorg the Evil Alien.

    The Supplementary DVD is split up into two parts, one each for the respective movies. Each movie's menus then has the following components:

  • THE TOY BOX (Toy Story 2 only)

    I spent more than 5 hours looking through all of the various screens, watching the animations, and playing with some of the interactive features on this DVD. I suggest you find a very comfortable chair to sit in if you intend to do this in one session. I found it very, very entertaining. There are a few bits that I felt could have been fleshed out more, and some bits that I felt were a bit over done. I think some of this has to do with the American vs. "The Rest Of The World" Syndrome, which finds things like the Slinky Dog, and Mr. Potato Head glossed over because they are ingrained in the US culture far more than they are here. There is far too much to discuss about this particular DVD in detail, so I'll summarize from the cover liner:

  • Introductions by the Filmmakers
  • The History of Toy Story and Toy Story 2
  • Character Design
  • Location Design
  • Story Development
  • Moviemaking Secrets
  • Music & Sound Design
  • Abandoned Concepts
  • Early Tests
  • Original Treatments
  • Storyboard Pitch
  • Storyboard-to-film Comparisons
  • Animation Production Progression Demos
  • Trailers
  • TV Commercials
  • Posters
  • Guide to Hidden Jokes (I personally loved these - pay close attention)
  • Music Videos
  • Original Song Demos
  • 3-D Flyaround Tours of Different Sets from the Films

    Items of particular interest for me were as follows:
  • Original Treatments are two proposal concepts for the film from March/91 and later September/91. There are quite strange things in it after you have seen the films, because several of the concepts in the original Toy Story proposal didn't make it in to the final cut, but later made it in to the Toy Story 2 script. The original characters, particularly Woody, changed quite substantially - from a Ventrilaquist dummy through to the final Cowboy concept.
  • Cast Biographies are quite substantial, and there's plenty to read about some of the more obscure actors. The main actors, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen have quite a lot of information on them, but this would be fairly common knowledge to all. People like Jim Vareny, who is the voice of the Slink Dog, and better known for his role as "Ernest" are discussed in terms of their career development, which for me was very interesting as you never hear much detail about these support players.
  • Production notes would be very interesting for those who have not followed the history of Pixar. This covers everything from the original academics involved, the Lucasfilm computer division, and later, the takeover by Steve Jobs, ex-Apple Co-Founder.
  • Character Design - each of the characters has a some coverage in this section. Virtually all of them have at least some drawings and a 360 degree turnaround view. The main characters such as Woody and Buzz have lots of information, including animation samples, but most are just sketches and a 360 degree character turn around.
  • Location Design - The locations that are covered in 360 degree fly-throughs for Toy Stiry are: are Gas Station, Andy's Room, Pizza Planet, and Sid's Room. Toy Story 2 locations are Zurg's Planet (actually a modified version of the riverbed in A Bugs Life)), Andy's House, Downtown, Al's Apartment, Al's Toy Barn and the Airport.
  • Production Progression Demo - how storyboards move through all the stages to become a production reality, including all the steps in detail of the animation process. Each scene goes through lots of stages which you don't even think about until you've seen this.
  • Music and Sound - On the Toy Story 2 DVD, there is a really nice section which allows you to mix the sound effect, dialog and music tracks in any combination. This is a nice tool and gives you an idea of how much effort is involved in the audio production process.
  • Woody's Roundup - This is part of the Toy Story 2 section, and is a set of information about how they made the entire 50's environment to portray the "Woody's Roundup" show on TV. All of the items which were generated for the film are phenominal (like Lunchboxes, record players, posters etc). Quite impressive really.
  • Posters & Ad Campaigns - this is of some interest, but is mostly how this was treated in the US. There is LOTS of information here, but much of it is the same, and probably exists as an archive more than for viewer pleasure (how many different signboards do you need to see advertizing the movie???)
  • International Version - In Toy Story 2, Buzz gives a big speech about friendship, and the background is a rotating globe which then turns into the "station close" of a TV station. In the US release, this was an American Flag with the national anthem playing in the background. We get this alternate version for the international release which is nice.

  •   Video

    Toy Story is presented in 16x9 widescreen (1.77:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 sets. As with most animated features, there is very, very little that can be found wrong with the video quality.

    Toy Story 2 is presented in 16x9 widescreen (1.77:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 sets. Again, what can you find wrong with these animated titles? I couldn't find anything worth worrying about.

    The Supplementary DVD has mixed animation and real-life video. It is presented in 4:3 ratio. Some of the real-life video looked a bit ordinary, but as for the other DVDs, we're talking a degree of pickiness that even I would find difficult to justify. Some of the scenes go between still shot photos of story boards, to "preview renders" and full animation. The varying qualities of each of these makes it sometimes haphazard looking, but these are offcuts, outtakes and developmental work from the movies, and as such, show the signs of "roughness" in parts.


    Toy Story is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Again, there isn't too much negative to be said about the audio track. It is never obviously using the surround channels (which I found sort of strange), but then again, often the trick with a good surround track is to not have obvious effects in the speakers, but to have an immersed sound experience. It supports English 5.1, French 5.1 and Arabic 2.0 language tracks, as well as English and French subtitles.

    Toy Story 2 is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX. I don't have a Surround EX decoder, so I don't know what difference this makes to the sound track, but given that the surround channels did not get a huge work out in my opinion, I don't know if it would be all that useful. It supports both English and French language and subtitle tracks.

    Note: After this review was first published, fellow reviewer Paul D rang to discuss my lack of surround sound on these DVD's. Turns out my home theatre was quite unbalanced as I had placed a number of new items of bulky furniture in there without recalibrating the balance. Some work on tuning with a sound meter helped some, but I still felt that the surounds were not used as much as the could have been. According to Paul, some of the following items which use the surrounds nicely are:

  • the scene where the kids barge into Andy's room, they run completely around the soundstage (Chapter 5, 12:48)
  • section where buzz rides the car around the hot wheels track and rides on the plane, and where it shows his POV inside his helmet (Chapter 6, 17:53)
  • when the lamp spins around and knocks buzz out the window (Chapter 10, 26:03)
    The Supplementary DVD has only an English audio track in Dolby Digital 2.0. This DVD is nearly all dialogue, so this is no problem. Given the amount of stuff they've managed to cram on to this DVD, there'd be no room for a more substantial sound track if they had wanted one.

  •   Extras

    Toy Story has the Academy Award Winning Short : Tin Toy, and also a Making of Toy Story feature.

    What's missing compared to the Region 1 version is an Audio Commentary by the filmmakers, On-Set Interviews, Toy Story Treats, Buzz Lightyear of Start Command: The Adventure Begins Preview, THX certified. Some of these extra are not a great loss, but the audio commentary is something that movie buffs, especially on a collector's edition release, is shameful. The French language 5.1 track (which I can only assume is there for a simultaneous Region 2 release) could have been used for much more than this.

    Toy Story 2 has the Academy Award Nominated Short : Luxo Jr, a Character Featurette, Music Featurette, Coolest Toy Featurette, and, especially funny, the Outtakes which are also featured in the end credits.

    What's missing compared to the Region 1 version is an Audio Commentary, Music only track, Effects only track, THX certified. The Region 1 DVD does not get the 3 featurettes that we do though, so that makes up for some of it, although, audio commentary is a big one which I can't get over!

    The Supplementary DVD has no extras as such (the entire DVD is an EXTRA), but there are some "Easter Eggs" for this DVD which are not documented on the case cover. You can read about these easter eggs at DVD Net's Easter Egg section, or you can link directly to it here. Unlike the other 2 DVD's in this set which are only Region 4, this disk is encoded for both Region 4 and 2.


    Overall this set of DVD's is well worth the $85 odd dollars. As an avid computer animation buff, these are not only mandatory viewing, but of course, the prime examples of computer animation in the film industry. If you have even the vaguest interest in computer animation, you must purchase this set of DVDs.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=424
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    - Rob Pascale
      Review Equipment
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