As DVDs grow in popularity, earlier-adopters constantly bemoan the dreaded arrival of "Joe Six-Pack". Many of these people think that an infusion of allegedly less-sophisticated video consumers will inevitably "dumb down" the format. According to these thought processed, these slack-jawed yokels will eliminate many of the best aspects of DVDs, such as films presented in their original aspect ratios - Joe don't want none of them stupid black bars! - as well as audio options - DTS is what ya get when ya drink too much! - and supplemental features.
All these Chicken Littles ignore one fact, however: even as the format has sold more and more players and discs, virtually no signs of regression have appeared. Original aspect ratio presentations are almost a given, and although it continues to lag far behind Dolby Digital 5.1 in terms of retail presence, DTS has grown as well; most new Dolby Digital 5.1 receivers also include DTS, and more studios include DTS soundtracks as an option.
In addition, supplements continue to appear on DVDs and some releases have taken the format to new levels. 2000 has been a terrific year in that regard; there've been at least three or four contenders for the title of "Best DVD Ever".
Add to that pile the "Ultimate Toy Box". Actually, put it at the top of that pile, as the "UTB" is unquestionably the finest DVD product yet produced. Granted, it has one unfair advantage: it features two excellent movies, which makes it more difficult to beat. Nonetheless, even if both Toy Story and Toy Story 2 appeared separately, they'd still be high on my list of top-notch DVDs; the combination of wonderful films, excellent picture, fine sound and compelling extras puts them in the upper echelon of the best DVDs.
Previously I reviewed the 2-disc edition of these movies; it includes both films plus a few minor extras. To read about them, click the links for Toy Story and Toy Story 2. In addition to descriptions of what's on the DVDs, those articles relate my lengthy opinions of the movies themselves. To sum up those thoughts, I love TS andTS2; they're both about as good as films get.
So without any further ado, let me jump into my discussion of what we find in the 3-DVD "Ultimate Toy Box". Make yourself comfortable - this will take a while!
DISC ONE - TOY STORY:
This DVD offers Toy Story in its entirety plus a few extras. Toy Story appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.77:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While I can't call the picture totally flawless, I can say it comes pretty close; this is an excellent DVD.
Sharpness looked virtually immaculate. At no time did I discern any signs of softness or fuzziness, as the image seemed very crisp and accurate throughout the film. I detected a few instances of moiré effects from objects like the grille of a truck and the side of a house, and I saw minor artifacts from the anamorphic downconversion on my 4X3 TV. No print flaws were present, probably because TS didn't come from a print; it was a direct digital transfer from the original computer data, so there are no defects that can come with it. As such, I saw no problems whatsoever in this film; it looked absolutely clear and fresh.
Colors were a highlight of TS. The movie featured a nicely-varied palette that offered lush, vibrant tones at all times. From the bright primary colors of many of the toys to more subtle hues such as the lovely sunlight featured in the sunset scenes, the DVD presented tones that always looked accurate and clean.
Black levels seemed deep and dark, with no signs of murkiness or muddiness, and contrast appeared strong. Shadow detail also looked clear and smooth, with appropriate opacity but no excessive darkness. The best examples of this occurred when Buzz and Woody were beneath the truck at the gas station; these presented just the right level of shade without any heaviness or thickness. Ultimately, the image of Toy Story seemed nearly ideal; it was a joy to watch.
Also terrific was the film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Although it started slowly, the soundfield gradually swelled to the point where it became quite involving and engaging. During the early parts of the movie, the forward spectrum was active and displayed a nicely broad experience; audio was placed specifically and precisely located.
The surrounds seemed less engulfing during the film's first act; I heard sporadically activity from the rear but nothing terribly compelling. However, that changed once we reached the scene in which Buzz's "accident" occurred; that scene showed terrific use of all five channels and this trend continued through most of the remainder of the movie. The audio provided a nicely active and convincing environment that complemented the action onscreen and added a lot to the experience.
Sound quality also seemed very good. For the most part, dialogue appeared warm and natural and always was easily intelligible. During some of the first scenes that included Buzz, I detected some edginess and brittle qualities to the speech, but these essentially went away after a few minutes and the remainder of the dialogue sounded accurate and clear.
Randy Newman's score and songs came across as clean and smooth. It often lacked substantial low end but the music always seemed crisp and detailed, with strong clarity. Effects sounded similarly rich and detailed, with no signs of distortion. They also didn't present a lot of bass during the early parts of the movie, but as with the soundfield, this area changed roughly around the part of the film where Buzz's "accident" happened. Prior to that, the best example of low end occurred when Sid blew up Combat Carl; the explosion offered a nice thump. However, that was a fairly isolated incident until Buzz had his problems. During the scene in question and much of the remainder of the film, bass response seemed quite strong and the audio became much more dynamic. Despite some slightly limited fidelity during the early parts of the movie, Toy Story ultimately presented a very fine audio experience.
The version of Toy Story on the 2-DVD set included just a couple of supplemental features, all of which also appear here. We get a Pixar short called "Tin Toy". From 1988, this piece lasts five minutes and 10 seconds and provides a cute and moderately witty experience. It's also interesting from a historical point of view, as a) we can see the roots of Toy Story in this cartoon, and b) we can also view just how far computer animation has come in the intervening years.
As first seen on the Fight Club DVD - and also available with Supergirl and a number of Anchor Bay DVDs - Toy Story includes the "THX Optimode" program to set up your TV. This provides you with information to correctly configure various audio and video aspects of your home theater. I don't think it fully replaces something likeVideo Essentials, but then again, "Optimode" comes as a free addition to a DVD, so it's clearly a bargain. If you haven't already used VE or some similar product, you should find "Optimode" very helpful.
Speaking of THX, TS also includes the popular "Tex" trailer for it. In case you don't know what we mean, many THX-certified DVDs have that "digitally mastered for optimal video and audio performance" ad that features a loud hum. In the "Tex" edition, the promo breaks down and this little robot dude - that'd be Tex - flies out to fix it. It's a cute addition to the set that also appears on the 2-disc package version, the deluxe 1996 laserdisc and the single DVD of Toy Story.
That concludes the features duplicated from the 2-disc set's Toy Story. Disc one adds a few other extras as well. First we find an excellent audio commentary that originally appeared on the deluxe 1996 laserdisc set. It offers remarks from director John Lasseter, producers Ralph Guggenheim and Bonnie Arnold, co-writer Andrew Stanton, supervising animator Pete Docter, supervising technical director Bill Reeves, and art designer Ralph Eggleston. All of the participants were recorded together in one session.
Although some people don't like commentaries that pack in multiple participants at the same session - they often become chaotic - this one is an absolutely wonderful track that provides a very solid look at the making of the film. The discussion seems very animated and lively, and the filmmakers' ebullience comes through at all times. Not surprisingly, Lasseter dominates the conversation, but all of the players insert useful information.
Many of their remarks praise the film, which is also something some people hate; during most commentaries, this practice comes across as self-aggrandizing. However, in this instance, everyone seems so excited about the final product that I didn't mind all of the compliments; much of the time they acted more like fans of TS than its makers, and that chipper and witty attitude makes this commentary a joy to experience.
The TS DVD also includes a second audio feature. We get an isolated track that displays only the film's sound effects. The effects are presented in good old Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. While this may not have the broad appeal of an isolated score, it's still a pretty cool little extra that gives us a closer listen at all of the different sound work done for the movie. (One of these days I'll get my wish and someone will include an isolated dialogue track for a movie such as this!)
"The Story Behind Toy Story provides a 27-minute and 10-second overview of the creation of the film. Although it's a little brief and dashes through some subjects too quickly, I found the program to give us a surprisingly complete look at how the movie was made. We hear interview snippets from a variety of cast and crew - though director Lasseter gets the most airplay - and we see quite a few shots from recording studios, storyboard conferences, and other situations related to the production. We also are shown a lot of "work in progress" material, and all of this adds up to a very fun, breezy and engaging show. It's a nice "warm-up" for all the more-detailed information we'll receive from the rest of the DVD's extras.
Easily one of the coolest supplements we find anywhere in this package appears during "Toy Story Treats". As explained during a 38-second intro from Lasseter and Stanton, these clips were produced by Pixar as "bumpers" for Saturday morning shows on ABC in 1996; these are those little bits you'd see before or after commercial breaks.
All in all, this DVD presents a whopping 52 of these pieces. Each lasts between five and 30 seconds, though most clock in at around 10 seconds. This adds up to a total of 15 and a half minutes worth of animation. All of them feature various members of the TS crew - with a particular focus upon Buzz, Woody, Hamm, Rex and the Little Green Men - though not all of the original voices appear. It sounded as though John Ratzenberger and Wallace Shawn reprised their roles as Hamm and Rex, respectively, and we also seem to hear as the Little Green Men, but Tom Hanks and Tim Allen definitely don't reappear as Woody and Buzz.
No matter who provided the voices, these clips are a tremendous amount of fun. The clever and witty tone that made the movie so wonderful carries over to these bumpers and they're a delight to watch.
Similar but less entertaining are the "On Set Interviews". "Conducted" by Disney animation expert John Culhane, these two clips show Culhane speak to Woody and Buzz via a remote hookup. The first segment lasts 85 seconds, while the second runs 110 seconds and includes a snippet from the movie. I found these moderately entertaining but nothing special. Unlike the "Treats", these pieces definitely suffer from the absence of both Allen and Hanks, though their impersonators do a pretty solid job.</p>
Next up is the full version of the "Buzz Lightyear TV Commercial" we see parts of during the film. The 50-second ad is supplemented by a 37-second intro from Lasseter, Stanton, and editor Lee Unkrich. It's a nice addition to the disc since it allows us to get a better look at the segment.
Lastly, Disc One ends with a "Multi-Language Reel". This four-minute and 35-second clip takes the scene in which Buzz enters the world of Andy's room and translates various snippets of it into (deep breath): French; Dutch; Italian; Japanese; Finnish; Castilian; Hungarian; Greek; Korean; Arabic; German; Slovak; Spanish; Thai; Polish; Norwegian; Flemish; Danish; Turkish; Brazilian Portuguese; Cantonese; Swedish; Czech; Mandarin.
That concludes the content of DVD 1. So now we move on to.
DISC TWO - TOY STORY 2:
Here is where you'll find the entire film of Toy Story 2 plus a smattering of extras. Toy Story 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.77:1 that has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Can it get any better than this? Maybe, but it's hard to imagine - TS2 presents an absolutely fantastic picture.
Sharpness appeared flawless throughout the film. The movie always seemed perfectly crisp and detailed with no signs whatsoever of any softness or haziness to be found. I also detected no signs of moiré effects or jagged edges, and artifacts from the anamorphic downconversion on my 4X3 TV were minor. As with the original Toy Story, this transfer came from the actual computer data. Because of this, it doesn't have any print flaws since no print was ever used, and the result is a tremendously clean and fresh image.
TS2 used a varied palette, and the colors come through with exquisite richness and boldness. From start to finish, all of the hues seemed gorgeous; from the lovely red of Jessie's hair to the warm browns of Woody's clothes to the sumptuous purples of Zurg's body, the whole magilla looked great. At no point did I discern any problems related to colors; they appeared absolutely scintillating.
Black levels also were deep and dense. They offered no signs of murky or muddy qualities, and you might have also saw excellent contrast. Shadow detail appeared clear and appropriately opaque throughout all of the related scenes. Best of the bunch were the shots in Al's apartment at night; these were illuminated just by the flickering light of a TV and they presented excellent depth throughout the dimly-lit scene. All in all, TS2 offered a tremendously fine image that showed virtually no complications.
Almost as strong is the film's Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtrack. The mix for the first film was also quite good, but it had a few weaknesses; all of those have been rectified here, however. The soundfield seemed very broad and engaging. For the most part, the forward spectrum dominated, but the entire package seemed well-distributed and nicely balanced. It's a virtually seamless mix that spread the audio cleanly between the various channels. Effects and music often emanated from all five speakers, and the sound blended together neatly so that the environment seemed smooth and convincing.
Various auditory elements appeared precisely located in the spectrum; even dialogue was focused in the correct location across the front speakers, and we also hear some speech from the rear when appropriate. The surrounds contributed excellent reinforcement of the information and also used split-channel details quite effectively. Best of the bunch is probably the scene in which Buzz and the gang have to cross a busy street; the sound flies fast and furious and really engulfs the viewer in the action.
Equally solid is the quality of the audio. Some of the dialogue in the original movie came across as edgy and brittle, but that doesn't occur here; all of the speech in TS2 appeared warm and natural, with no signs of shrillness or concerns related to intelligibility. Music sounded clear and smooth, with terrific range; the various songs were wonderfully rich and lush - especially the lovely "When She Loved Me" - and the score seemed appropriately brassy and bright.
Effects were the best part of the package. They appeared very accurate and realistic and showed absolutely no signs of distortion or harshness. The track boasted fine resolution and terrific depth. The first film lacked significant low end at times, but that's never a concern during TS2; this movie offered some excellent bass. The aforementioned street-crossing scene provided one strong example, as did the segments in the apartment building vents and its elevator. Even Al's indigestion appeared deep and rich! Overall, it's a wonderful mix that barely missed out on an "A+" rating. You could've felt that the audio lacked the "wow!" factor that everyone will require of films that qualify for the "A+", but it's such a smooth and well-integrated soundtrack that I considered that ultimate grade.
As with TS, the DVD of TS2 we find in the "Ultimate Toy Box" replicates the modest extras found on the version in the VHS, the two-disc set and the single DVD.. We get a Pixar short called "Luxo Jr." From 1986, this was the first cartoon produced by the studio and it lasts for two minutes and 20 seconds. It's a cute little piece that won't set your world on fire but it makes for an endearing viewing that deserves a look.</p>
In addition, the TS2 DVD includes both sets of "Outtakes" that appeared during the movie's theatrical run. As with A Bug's Life, the film added some faux-bloopers during the end credits, and both pictures also had two separate sets of clips; one appeared when the film first hit screens, and the second replaced the first after a few weeks in theaters.
Unlike the Bug's Life DVD, none of the outtakes can be found during the presentation of the movie itself. Instead, they're all shown fullscreen with 5.1 sound and they run for a total of five minutes and 25 seconds. Personally, we think this concept is getting a bit tired. The first batch in ABL was fun because it so neatly lampooned all of the lame bloopers that we find added to some movies. At this point, we've seen so many with the two Pixar films that they're losing their wickedly mocking tone and are becoming more ordinary. Still, they're kind of fun and deserve a look.
Next we find a "sneak peek" of the next Pixar feature film, Monsters Inc., which was slated for a November 2001 release. This one minute and 55 second piece is really just a trailer; Some people thought it might provide some "behind the scenes" info but instead we just find a promo, albeit an interesting one. By the way, am I the only one who immediately starts to hum Springsteen's "Murder Inc." when I see the title of this film?
This ad appears in the "Sneak Peeks" section as well, along with a promo for Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins. The 2-DVD set's TS2 also included trailers for Disney's Christmas 2000 theatrical release of The Emperor's New Groove and the video appearances of Fantasia 2000 and Dinosaur. These are here as well, but they' re hidden. To see them, click on "title 4" with your remote; you'll then be able to view these trailers. (Oh, the irony; so many people whine about the "forced trailers" on Disney DVDs, but I'll bet many of the same people will actively seek out these so-called "Easter eggs".)
Finally, as with the Toy Story disc, Toy Story 2 includes the "THX Optimode" program to set up your TV. Use it, don't use it - it's your life!
This version of TS2 tosses in a few extras that didn't appear on the 2-DVD set nor the single edition. Most significant is another running group audio commentary, though this one includes fewer participants. We hear from director Lasseter, co-writer Stanton, plus co-directors Lee Unkrich and Ash Brannon. All in all, this track seemed pretty similar to the first one, though it wasn't quite as good. The participants provided a very solid overview of the making of the film plus a slew of issues that affected production, and the piece adopted a nicely casual but enthusiastic tone. The first commentary was so great that you might as well suppose it was inevitable this one wouldn't live up to it, but it comes fairly close; it's another excellent track that will be a valuable listen for fans of the film.
The second DVD also includes another audio track. Again we find the movie's effects isolated for us in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. I'd still prefer an isolated dialogue program, but this one's pretty cool anyway; it's fun to check out the killer "street crossing" scene with just the effects on display.
The only other feature on the second DVD not found on the 2-disc version of TS2 is its THX trailer. On the more basic set (the Toy Story 2 Pack) and the single 2001 release, you just get the regular THX ad, whereas this one precedes TS2 with the popular "Tex Moo Can" clip. This one again features Tex plus a can that moos. Oh, you'll just have to watch it for yourself.
One omission from the 2-DVD set: in that package, there was also a fullframe version of TS2. However, it doesn't appear here. One guess to some people is that it was dropped to accommodate the extra audio tracks and still ensure high quality. Anyway, if you want to see the fullframe rendition of TS2, you'll have to shell out for the 2-DVD package or the 2001 DVD.
That concludes the contents of the second disc. Now it's time for the meat of the supplements, which we find on.
DISC THREE - THE SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES:
This is a class production, which you'll notice from the very start. As soon as the DVD begins to whirl, we go into an introduction from director John Lasseter, co-writer Andrew Stanton, TS editor and TS2 co-director Lee Unkrich, and TS directing animator and TS2 co-director Ash Brannon. This humorous two minute and 15 second clip gets us into the right spirit before we delve into this treasure trove of material. Once you get past this introduction, you're shown two TVs; the one on the left lets you enter the world of Toy Story, while the set on the right sends you to information about Toy Story 2. I clicked to the left and began to examine everything they told me about.
This area is marked off into different sections, each of which has a variety of subtopics. Going in order, we begin with.
- "History and Development" provides a three minute and 40 second video overview of the project. We hear interview clips from Lasseter, producers Ralph Guggenheim and Bonnie Arnold, and Disney Executive Vice President Thomas Schumacher and we also see some minor "behind the scenes" snippets."Early Test" provides a 33-second clip in which we see a short interaction between Woody and "Tempest from Morph", the prototype for Buzz Lightyear.
"Original Treatments" starts with a 25-second introduction from Lasseter. We then find the "March 1991 Treatment". This text outline of the story - which then starred stars "Tinny" the tin toy and a ventriloquist dummy - used 48 frames to convey its information. A shorter document, the "September 1991 Treatment" just updates the earlier draft with six screens of information that essentially recap the film's climax. At this point, TS still was to star Tinny and the dummy.
"Production Notes" covers 43 frames; most of these feature text but some show pictures of the filmmakers. These cover the origins of Pixar, their relationship with Disney and their development, plus we hear a little about TS itself.
"The Cast" provides pretty good biographies of 11 TS actors: Hanks, Allen, Ratzenberger, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Shawn, Annie Potts, R. Lee Ermey, Laurie Metcalf, John Morris and Erik Van Detten. The Hanks entry is absolutely terrific, as it includes lots of his comments about working on the film. The listings for Allen, Rickles, Shawn and Ratzenberger give similar insights, but not with the same level of depth. The other biographies are more basic, but all include some decent information. Design:
- Character Design
- This area starts with an "Introduction". Through 32 frames, the section discusses the subject of character design, and also shows charts used to demonstrate relative sizes of characters.We then move to specific coverage of each of the film's characters. One note about the way the images are presented: usually stillframes progress in a picture-by-picture manner that makes it tough to go through lots of screens. However - as we also saw on the DVD of The Black Cauldron - the TS and TS2supplements mainly present their artwork via thumbnails. Each screen contains up to nine images from which you can choose. This makes the whole enterprise much easier to navigate; I hope other studios adopt the technique as well.
- The area for Woody then splits into additional subsections
- "Design" examines these subtopics:"Character Design" provides 104 sketches of Woody in various stages plus four text pages;
"Early Model" includes eight images (two sketches, six clay representations and one page of text);
"Model Pack" offers nine sketches that showed the specifics of how to draw Woody;
"Final Maquette" has eight shots of the final maquette and one screen of text; "Early Animation Tests" showed 58 seconds of demo material that featured Woody. It - and all the other "Early Animation Tests" in this area - was accompanied by with commentary from animator Glenn McQueen;
"Modeling Woody" is a video program with supervising technical director Bill Reeves. In this two minute and 48 second segment, Reeves discusses technical ways to develop the animation possibilities for the character;
"Character Turnaround" lasts 19 seconds and shows Woody as he "spins" for the virtual camera.
Buzz Lightyear is fairly similar but includes a few differences:
"Designs" breaks into::;
- "Character Design" with 84 Buzz sketches and 5 screens of text;"Model Pack" offers "blueprints" for the character in its 17 pieces of art and one screen of text;
"Model Construction" uses 26 images plus one text screen to demonstrate how to build the Buzz model;
"Digitizing Maquette" shows eight shots of the maquette used for Buzz's head, and it also has one text screen;
"Insignia Design" provides nine images of Buzz's insignias;
"Decals" gives us nine shots of Buzz's various stickers;
"Merchandise Design" includes 18 drawings of the products associated with Buzz; "Early Animation Tests" shows 52 seconds of old proposed work for Buzz;
"Digitizing Buzz" features associate technical director Eben Ostby. The one minute and 11 second piece is similar to "Modeling Woody";
"Character Turnaround" shows Buzz as he rotates for 19 seconds;
An "Introduction" from Lasseter provides a 22 second entry to the next topic;
"Modeling the Buzz Box" lasts one minute and 23 seconds as model artist Damir Frkovich covers the creation of Buzz's cardboard "spacecraft".
Mr. Potatohead" includes 10 pieces of design art.
Rex offers 15 shots of "Design" art and a 19-second "Character Turnaround".
Hamm tosses in 18 drawings from his "Design" and also has the 19-second "Character Turnaround".
Slinky Dog duplicates the specs for Hamm: 18 "Design" sketches and a 19-second "Character Turnaround".
Bo Peep gives us 25 "Design" shots and another 19-second "Character Turnaround".
Green Army Men includes seven drawings.
Alien features five pieces of "Design" art and a 19-second "Character Turnaround".
Miscellaneous Toys includes 78 drawings, which let us take a closer look at these marginal characters.
Mutant Toys offers 135 sketches and gives us a cool view of many unused ideas.
Andy features 37 "Design" segments and 19 seconds of "Animation Tests". These spin like the "Character Turnarounds" but are meant to demonstrate how his hair should look.
Sid provides 26 "Design" drawings - some of which look downright evil! - and 11 seconds of "Animation Tests" to test his facial muscles.
- "Designing Scud" features Eben Ostby as he codes Scud, and also provides some behind the scenes shots of Lasseter and others as they check out the results. This segment lasted one minute and 46 seconds;"Design" included 24 drawings of the pooch, while the "Animation Tests" gave us a 24-second demonstration of Scud running.
Hannah has 18 sketches.
Andy's Mom and Molly shows 18 "Design" drawings and 39 seconds of "Animation Tests" to illustrate how her hair was created.
Art Design also breaks into smaller areas:;
- "Designing Toy Story" offers a general overview of the various issues that confronted art director Ralph Eggleston. In this three minute and 34 second piece, he discusses what he tried to do with the look of the film;"Concept Art" provides 16 pieces of planning art;
"Color Scripts" are used to demonstrate the color design for each scene. Here we find 174 of these pieces of art plus one explanatory screen of text;
"Color Keys" break down the color design to a scene-by-scene level. Here we get 22 examples plus one screen of explanatory text.
Environmental Design concludes the Design domain with its own subsections:;
- "Andy's Room" includes 35 "Design" drawings plus one screen of text, and also features a "Location Tour". The latter lasts 52 seconds as we pan around the room accompanied by commentary from Eggleston;"Gas Station" features 18 "Design" sketches plus a one minuet and nine second "Location Tour" with more commentary from Eggleston;
"Pizza Planet" offers 23 pieces of art plus one screen of text about the discarded "Pizza Putt" concept;
"Sid's Room" tosses in 26 "Design" examples plus another one minute and six second "Location Tour" that features additional commentary from Eggleston.
- Storyboard Pitch starts with an introduction from co-writer Stanton and story supervisor Joe Ranft. This one minute and nine second piece provides a quick overview of the process;Green Army Men represents an actual storyboard pitch conducted by Ranft. In this sequence, we see Ranft as he goes through the "Green Army Men" sequence; Ranft appears in the lower left corner of the screen, while we see the actual storyboards in the top right. The entire program lasts for four minutes and 39 seconds;
Editing includes six text frames that describe the process for animation, plus it also shows photos of the film's editors;
Story Reel provides filmed storyboards for Buzz's introduction to the gang with music and dialogue. Some of the lines are from the final actors, while some are not. There's also some deleted dialogue and even a little profanity in this four minute and 38 second piece;
Storyboard to Film shows part of the film's climax. It displays the boards in the top half of the screen and the movie in the lower half during this three minutes and 19 second program;
Abandoned Concepts starts with a one-minute and 19-second Introduction from Lasseter, Unkrich, and Stanton. We then find seven different story reels that show the scenes proposed but never animated for the film::;
- A proposed opening, Buzz Lightyear Cartoon goes two minutes and 41 seconds;Western Shootout also might have started the film, and it lasts one minute and 46 seconds;
Woody's Nightmare further depicts his fears after the arrival of Buzz in this one minute and 18 second segment;
Eastern Gate involves some devious plotting by Woody against Buzz during this three minute and one second piece;
Shakes the Rattle took the story into more nightmarish territory in this one minute and 49 second segment that echoed Quint's "USS Indianapolis" speech in Jaws;
Sid's Comeuppance provided an alternate version of that scene in this two minute and 45 second clip;
The Chase lasted one minute and 40 seconds as it offered a different take on the film's climax.
- Production Tour starts this area with a general overview of the computer animation process. We hear from Lasseter, supervising layout artist Craig Good, and directing animator Ash Brannon in this one minute and 52 second piece. Layout Tricks provides more footage of Good as he gives us a look at the ways layout problems are solved through this three minute and 24 second program.During the one-minute and 23-second Animation Tour, Brannon shows the progression of various steps.
Character Animation includes Lasseter and supervising animator Pete Docter as they show how the computer is actually manipulated to produce the images in this four minute and 40 second clip.
Shaders and Lighting breaks down into smaller areas::;
- An Introduction from lighting supervisor Galyn Susman takes as through the progression from story reel to final product in this two minute and 16 second piece;Shaders includes 19 frames of text and images to illustrate the process;
Lighting gives us 19 frames of text and images to illustrate various effects. Narrated by Susman, Building a Shot looks a lot like her Introduction to the Shaders and Lighting area and lasts one minute and 20 seconds.
Production Progression lets you use your remote's "angle" button. It starts with a one minute and seven second Introduction by Lasseter and Stanton.
After that, you can flip through various stages of the film's climax. There's the Storyboard portion, thenLayout - which uses crude animation - and the Final Scene as well. Each segment lasts one minute and four seconds.
Special Effects breaks down into::;
- Motion Blur and Reflections with 11 frames of text and images;Rain Effects, which has an "Introduction" with 11 frames of text and images;
"Rain Reference Footage" shows nine seconds of filmed real-life rain;
"Moving 'Bump-Map' Pattern" gives us another five seconds of rain effects work, which then goes to "Rain Effects on Window", six seconds worth of close-up shots from the final product. "Rain Shadow Effects" also takes a closer look at six seconds from the finished film, and we then see all seven seconds of the "Final Scene".
Particle Systems starts with a single text screen "Introduction" and then goes to the "Smoke Trajectory"; these 15 seconds offer a crude guide of the way steam will come off of Woody's head when he dunks his scorched face in a bowl of cereal. The "'Primitives' Guide" shows another 15 seconds of the scene, which now looks somewhat better rendered, and the "Final Scene" - also 15 seconds - displays the ultimate product.
Rendering and Compositing finishes this domain with 49 screens of images and text about this area of animation.
Music and Sound:;
- Sound Design offers a nice demonstration of the various elements that go into this aspect of filmmaking. We hear a lot from sound designed Gary Rydstrom plus a few words from Lasseter in this six minute and 33 second program;
Randy Newman Demos play some of his tunes as "works in progress"::;
- Randy Newman Biography gives us three screens of text about Newman;Plastic Spaceman 1 is a three minute and 14 second tune that eventually mutated into "I Will Go Sailing No More", though only a little of that song can be heard here;
Plastic Spaceman 2 lasts three minutes and 13 seconds and features a more elaborately-produced version of the preceding demo;
Strange Things features just Newman and piano accompaniment, but the two minute and 56 second song is very close to final form;
The Fool is a two minute and five second tune that has no relative in the finished movie;
I Will Go Sailing No More is another Newman and piano demo. The three minute and 28 second song closely resembles the final product;
You've Got a Friend In Me appears as a two-minute and 14-second instrumental (piano) version.
This area starts with a one minute and 45 second Introduction from editor Unkrich who discusses the topic. It then leaps into two different excised clips::;
- Torture Scene provides 46s seconds of unfinished animation that adds to the scene in which Sid "interrogates" Woody;Rain Scene also came from an existing scene, and this one minute and 22 second clip uses completed animation.
Lastly, the Render Bugs shows us seven examples of computer animated errors. These run between four and 25 seconds for a total of 73 seconds worth of footage.
- In the Trailers section, we get the film's 90-second "teaser" and its three-minute theatrical trailer. There are also four TV Spots, each of which lasts 30 seconds. The Ad Campaign displays 64 frames of posters and other promotional materials, while the Merchandising area includes 63 examples of toys and other goodies that were sold to toy-collecting dupes like me (and maybe even a couple of kids).
Miraculously, that completes the extras for Toy Story. Now I can move on to the supplements for.
TOY STORY 2
The structure of all these programs seems very similar to what we see for TS.
- Why A Sequel? gives us a two minute and 38 second overview of the filmmaker's reasoning for their extension of the TS. We hear from director Lasseter, co-director Brannon, and Disney executive Schumacher;The Continuing World of Toy Story features Lasseter, co-director Unkrich, and co-writer Stanton, as they discuss the ideas generated for TS that eventually showed up in the sequel. This nice piece runs for four minutes and 38 seconds. When it ends, we get links to some materials found elsewhere on the DVD. These pertain to Woody's Nightmare and the Buzz cartoon show;
John Lasseter Profile provides clips from Hanks, Disney executive Peter Schneider, Schumacher, Unkrich, actors Tim Allen, Kelsey Grammer, and Don Rickles, producers Karen Robert Jackson and Helene Plotkin, Randy Newman, Pixar chairman Steve Jobs, singer Sarah McLachlan, actress Estelle Harris and Lasseter himself in this testimonial to his wonderfulness. Somehow, the three-minute program manages not to appear self-serving and sappy;
Production Notes includes some solid text that covers the studio, the filmmakers, and the project itself. In addition to the print material, we find a few photos of filmmakers.
Cast splits into::;
- Cast of Characters offers a discussion of the various roles and the entire voice recording process from Disney president Schneider, Lasseter, Hanks, Allen, Rickles, Harris, actor Wayne Knight, Schumacher, actor Joan Cusack, and Grammer. We also see some good shot from the recording sessions in this three minute and 25 second piece; I was interested to note that - unlike the usual process - Allen and Hanks apparently worked together at times, as did both Harris and Rickles.Cast Bios provides the same information seen in the TS area for returning actors (Hanks, Allen, Varney, Rickles, Ratzenberger, Shawn, Potts, Morris, Metcalf, and Ermey) plus Cusack, Grammer, Knight, Jodi Benson, Harris, and Jonathan Harris. The new material is just as solid as the other stuff.
Minor Easter Egg! Click over to Al on this area's main page and you'll be able to inspect the DVD's credits. Hey, these folks did some great work, so at least check out their names - it's not gonna kill ya!
Character Design duplicates all of the information provided in the TS area for Woody, Buzz, Rex, Hamm,Slinky Dog, Bo Peep, and the Alien. We also find some new characters::;
- Ultra Buzz Lightyear shows 36 sketches of this new version of Buzz.Mr. And Mrs. Potatohead includes nine "Designs" (mainly of the Mrs.) plus the traditional 19 second "Character Turnaround".
Jessie tosses in 54 "Designs" - which show her origin as "Senorita Cactus!" - plus the 19-second "Character Turnaround";
"Animation Tests" gives us 23 seconds of early Jessie footage accompanied by commentary from animator Glenn McQueen. Most interesting is the "Krishna Jessie" seen in the opening head shot.
Prospector features 33 sketches in the "Designs" area plus the standard 19-second "Character Turnaround".
Bullseye includes 45 "Designs" plus the 19-second "Character Turnaround";
"Animation Tests" provides 65 seconds of scenes that run Bullseye through his paces. These are also accompanied by narration from McQueen. Most interesting are the shots of Bullseye talking. These were created because it was uncertain whether he'd be a speaking role, so the animators covered their bases.
Al offers 47 "Designs" plus the 19-second "Character Turnaround"; "Animation Tests" show 17 seconds of Al trotting around the screen. McQueen's commentary reveals that Danny DeVito was used as the physical model for the character.
Zurg gets 42 images in "Designs" plus a 19-second "Character Turnaround";
"Animation Tests" take 40 seconds to show a cool alternate scenario for the evil emperor. These appear with dialogue and effects but no commentary from McQueen.
Sad little Wheezy only gets three "Designs" and his 19-second "Character Turnaround", but that beats Tour Guide Barbie; she just rates two drawings and her 19-second "Character Turnaround". Lastly, Buster finishes this area with seven drawings.
- A 30 second "Introduction" from production designer Jim Pearson discusses how color scripts are used in animated films;"Color Scripts" provides 65 examples of that art;
"Lighting Guide" gives us 43 drawings to show that aspect of the design.
- Zurg's Planet provides 54 drawings of the environment in "Design", while the "Location Tour" shows a turnaround of the territory. That 29-second clip also features commentary by Pearson;Andy's House tosses in 31 "Design" sketches plus "Location Tours" of both the "Interior" and "Exterior". Each aspect lasts 29 seconds, and they also come with additional commentary from Pearson;
Al's Apartment gives us 49 "Design" pieces of art plus both "Interior" and "Exterior" "Location Tours". These also run 29 seconds each and both feature narration from Pearson;
Al's Toy Barn goes nuts on "Design": we get 106 drawings, and these are especially great because they include toys that were developed expressly for the film; "Location Tours" cover the "Interior" (30 seconds), "Buzz Aisle" (29 seconds), "Barbie Aisle" (30 seconds), and "Al's Office" (30 seconds). Yes, they all include commentary from Pearson;
Airport offers 92 "Design" sketches plus "Location Tours" for the "Interior" (29 seconds) and the "Exterior" (29 seconds). Shockingly, these provide commentary from Pearson.
- Woody's Nightmare begins with a 45-second "Introduction" from story supervisors Joe Ranft and Dan Jeup and then launches into a "Storyboard Pitch". This two minute and 12 second program shows Ranft as he pitches this scene to the directors. As with the TS storyboard pitch, this one displays the boards in the upper right, and video of Ranft video in the lower left. You can also use your "angle" button to display "Storyboards Only", a feature that still includes audio from the pitch session;Jessie's Song starts with a 37-second "Introduction" from Jeup and then provides a three minute and 22 second "Storyboard to Film" comparison for her "When She Loved Me" scene; the "angle" button again switches between this view and "Storyboards Only";
Easter Egg time! Highlight "Storyboards Only" and click to left; this will get you a "?". Click on that and enjoy the 67-second result - it's worth the effort!
- Production Tour offers a basic video overview from Lasseter, co-editors Unkrich and David Ian Salter, and co-director Brannon. The two-minute and 29-second program uses a short Buzz and Woody clip from early in the film to demonstrate how thing go from storyboards to the final animation;Production Progression does the same thing but in more detail through a variety of different components. It starts with a 54-second "Introduction" from Lasseter, Stanton, Brannon and Unkrich and then launches into a look at various stages of animation. During this two minute and 31 second piece, we watch Buzz's arrival at Zurg's fortress go through four stages: "Story Reel"; "Layout"; "Animation"; and "Shaders and Lighting". Yes, your "angle" button will switch between them;
Special Effects features associate technical director Oren Jacob. In this 95 second program, he demonstrates how effects add to the scene in which Buzz confronts the massive army of robots.
Music and Sound:;
- The Music takes a three minute and 21 second look at the tunes used in the film. We hear from Lasseter, composer Randy Newman, Disney executive Thomas Schumacher, singer Sarah McLachlan, cowboy band Riders In the Sky, and singer Robert Goulet and also see some film clips and shots of the recording sessions in this short but fun piece;Sound Design once again gives us a discussion from sound designer Gary Rydstrom about his task. This time he focuses on the work done for the epic "street-crossing" scene during this five minute and 36 second program;
Mixing Demo starts with a 23-second introduction from Rydstrom and then lets you mix the segment in the elevator shaft where Buzz confronts Zurg. The 85-second snippet lets you activate dialogue, music and/or effects; you can play each on their own, combine them in various pairs, or play them all at once just like in the final film. It's not real mixing, since you can't alter the volume level of each element, but it's still fun;
We find a three minute and 20 second Music Video for the "Woody's Roundup Medley". Riders In the Sky play this amalgam of tunes; in addition to the "Woody's Roundup" theme, it tosses in bits of "Act Naturally", "You' ve Got a Friend in Me" and other songs. The video is a pretty standard affair that combines lip-synch shots of RITS with scenes from the film;
Jessie's Song Demo offers Newman's two minute and 50 second track of the song. After hearing this, I'm really glad he didn't perform the tune in the final movie.
- This area starts with a 44-second "Introduction" from co-director Brannon that sets up the two scenes to follow. The first - "Crossing the Road" - exists in the final film, but here it was placed in an alternate location; during the one minute and 53 second clip, we see the toys cross a suburban street, not the urban one we eventually witnessed in the completed movie."Godzilla Rex" lasts one minute and 25 seconds and was originally to be the way that Woody would end up in the garage sale. While I agree that the scene in the final film worked better, this is still a funny segment that I enjoyed.
- This section includes two ads in the Trailers section. We get the 60-second "teaser" and the two-minute and 20-second "trailer #1". Interestingly, this clip uses Danny Elfman's music from Men In Black! We also find four TV Commercials, each of which last 30 seconds.The Ad Campaign provides 18 posters and lobby cards, while the Autographed Pictures shows 18 publicity photos with phony signatures of the toys.
The Toy Box:;
- Who's the Coolest Toy? is a cute but insubstantial piece in which a slew of participants debate the topic. We find interview clips with Hanks, Allen, Riders in the Sky, Ratzenberger, Pixar chief Jobs, Ranft, Cusack, Ermey, McLachlan, Benson, Rickles, Knight, producers Jackson and Plotkin, and Lasseter in this three minute and 15 seconds program;Hidden Jokes gives us 17 screens of details about some of the less-easily-detected references. These aren't obscure - they're just hard to see, and most of them refer to A Bug's Life;
Woody's Roundup examines a few topics related to that show. "Collectibles" offers Brannon and Lasseter as they display the many physical props created for the film in this two minute and 48 second piece, while "Design" provides 80 stillframes and lets us see the details of the many different "Woody's Roundup" products; most of which aren't obvious in the movie;
During TV Show, effects artist Leo Hourvitz gives us a one minute and 57 second overview of how the "Woody's Roundup" puppet show was created. Music Video again finds RITS lip-synching a tune. In this two minute and 14 second clip, they strum along with the "Woody's Roundup" theme song and we also see a variety of movie scenes;
International Scene starts with an introduction from Unkrich and Lasseter. In this one minute and 45 second piece, we see how the scene in which Buzz's inspirational speech was altered for non-US audiences. That segment showed a US flag waving behind him while the "Star Spangled Banner" played, and that segued into shot of the flag during a TV channel's evening sign-off. Instead of the US-specific materials, the international version featured a globe with fireworks shooting plus a new song by Randy Newman called the "One World Anthem". While I understand the desire to make the film play better overseas, it means that the scene makes no sense; part of the gag related to the transition between the speech and the TV sign-off, and since no one's ever seen a TV station that showed a globe and fireworks as they left the air, the joke flops. Well, it's still fun to see.