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3D Blu-Ray Review: Toy Story 3
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Toy Story 3 3D Blu-rayToy Story 3
3D Blu-Ray Combo Pack
Directed by Lee Unkrich
Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Micheal Keaton, Jodi Benson
Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 1, 2011

It’s not always easy being a collector. If you are one of the many out there who, like me, find something they are passionate about and pursue it to the fullest, a lot of time, effort, and money can be spent doing something that others find trivial. For those of us bitten by this bug, it’s not about simply possessing a thing. Anyone can possess a thing, but when you collect something, its more about what that item means to you as a whole. On the surface, I buy the Blu-Rays and DVDs I buy because I am a fan of the film first, and want to enjoy it again in my home.

Going deeper than that, I collect these things because when I hold them in my hand, examining every inch of the plastic and paper, a rush of excitement runs through me. I’m brought back to the memories I have of seeing the movie in the theater, who I was with, how many people I’ve talked about the movie with, and how seeing the movie made me feel. For me, placing that box on the shelf among all my other favorites is like creating a yearbook of my passions, something to gaze at from time to time and reminisce. It is because of these feelings, that I care about how these movies are packaged, and can tell when a company has taken great care in doing so. Disney Pixar‘s new release of Toy Story 3 in a Blu-Ray 3D combo pack is just brilliant. For more about the film itself, look here and here. This review is going to focus more on what makes this home release great.

I’m a special features guy through and through, and these discs are jam packed with a ton of extras that are as informative as they are fun. For those who watch Pixar films and wonder what it’s like to work in such a place, check out the Paths to Pixar and Studio Stories featurettes. If you saw the film theatrically, you’ll be happy to know that the short that played before the film, Day & Night, is included along with a great making of featurette. The Gangs All Here is a great tribute to the wonderful actors who have brought our favorite characters to life, including franchise favorites and newcomers for this film. The actors talk about how much this franchise has meant to them, especially this third installment. Several commentary tracks feature the thoughts of director Lee Unkrich, producer Darla K. Anderson, as well as technical insight from Supervising Animator Bobby Podesta, Supervising Animator Mike Venturini, Production Designer Bob Pauley, Head of Story Jason Katz, and Supervising Technical Director Guido Quaroni.

For this release, there is an entire Blu-Ray disc devoted to Special features. I’ve seen a lot of extra discs included in expanded editions and the like, but this disc is unique in that is doesn’t share the flaw that many of those discs have: disorganization. You can spend a lot of time trying to find what feature you are looking for, sifting though a lot of small printed titles that try to approximate what is contained within. This disc organizes the Bonus Features into four categories: Family Play (related to the characters), Film Fans (technical looks, making of), Games and Activities (trivia), and Publicity (TV spots and trailers used to sell the film). My favorite feature of the disc though, is the Recommended Feature. Every time you put one of the discs into your player, a randomly generated feature will be highlighted by a thumbnail and title that appears at the top of the Main Menu on both discs. This is great for rabid Blu-Ray fans because sometimes it can be difficult to choose where to start with so many to choose from, but the reason I like it so much is that it brings the featurettes to the forefront of the disc. There is so much to love about special features, and I think that many people who never view them will be drawn to them by their easy accessibility.

Home video collectors have long been vexed by studios re-releasing their favorite titles over and over again on the same format. There are several different ways to own Toy Story 3, and I can already hear people complaining about why they should give the studios their money for something they already have with a bonus or two. To those detractors, I say this: The big appeal of this set, along with the DVD of the film and Digital Copy, is the 3D disc. If you are one of the few with a 3D TV in your home, you’d be remiss in not picking this up. If you don’t have such a TV and are only interested in owning the movie for repeated viewing, you’re right, perhaps your money could be better spent with one of the lower priced sets. However, if you are someone who truly enjoys all of the things that makes owning these sets appealing, this set is truly special. From the holographic embossed O-Ring to the solidly structured case, Toy Story 3’s 3D Combo Pack will be a highlight of your collection. This is the kind of set that we see in the store, glistening above all the other rushed sets. The studios know this movie will sell on home video regardless of how they package it, but they took the time to make it special for the fans who love will cherish it. Toy Story 3 Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack is a proudly assembled piece of home entertainment, and an asset to any collectors shelf.

Note: The Toy Story 3 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack is currently part of a Sale where you can order any two Disney titles on Blu-ray 3D and Save $10 from now through November 13, 2011.

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