Animation fans got a real treat last October when Pixar’s Toy Story of Terror! TV special aired on ABC. Nearly a year later, the film is finally being released on Blu-ray/DVD and, as expected from a Pixar home media release, it’s jam-packed with bonus features.
The Film ✮✮✮✮
When a flat tire strand Bonnie and her mother at a roadside motel, things start to get spooky for Woody, Buzz and the gang. One by one, the toys start to disappear, leaving just Jessie alone to confront her fears and find her friends. Luckily for Jessie, Combat Carl arrives to help her, but then they get captured too. Will they be able to escape before Bonnie and her mother leave?
We’ve had lots of Toy Story Toons shorts before, but this is the first full-length TV special devoted to the Toy Story gang. It does a great job of telling an interesting story in less than 21 minutes, but is not without its flaws. While it’s great seeing Jessie as the main character, her fears are in the same vein as those we explored in Toy Story 2. The best part of the short is the new characters, especially Combat Carl (voiced by Carl Wethers). He’s the breakout star of the film and it would be great to see more of him in the future.
Toy Story of Terror! looks spectacular in high definition. Yes, technically we were able to see it in HD when it was initially broadcast, but actually owning and seeing it on Blu-ray makes a difference. The animation is crisp and certain scenes are almost photorealistic, which is impressive. The name Pixar has become synonymous with high quality and the video and audio quality of this release is more proof of that.
Bonus Features ✮✮✮✮✮
Team of Specialists shows the the typical day making the short as told by the director Angus MacLane. In this making-of featurette, we get a look at the design and creation of the new characters, a look at campy graveyard horror film (complete with the screen test of the flobby rubber bats), the animation dailies, the editorial processes, sound design and editing on location at Skywalker Ranch, and a final look at the score with composer Michael Giacchino.
The Deleted Scenes
are interested because they are introduced by the film’s editor Axel Geddes. He talk about how a half-hour TV special, you have only exactly 21 minutes, 30 seconds to tell your story, nothing more, nothing less. The three scenes–“Pencil Topper Trilogy”, “Travel Brochures”, and “Road Trip Roulette”–that follow are fun, but just didn’t fit into the time constraints of the special. Watch part of the “Pencil Topper” scenes below.
The Vintage Toy Commercials
really steal the show and are laugh-out loud hilarious. Creating extra, bonus fun content is something that Pixar really excels at (think of the Ken’s dating tips
created for Toy Story 3
). There is a viewing mode that during the commerical breaks, you can set these commercials to play in between. Awesome! These three commercials were created in the period and style of the actual toys. They are hilarious, nostalgic and just plain fun. The “Combat Carl” commercial features Carl in a PSA about coughing. “Old Timer” is a live-action 90s-esque commercial complete with a sweet jingle. Lastly, “Transitron” is a Japanese commercial for the transforming robot.
The D23 Teaser
is awesome because normally footage shown at the D23 Expo never sees the light of day. So getting to see the original footage that continued the hype is great! We also get the full collection of all the Toy Story Toons
so you can watch them all in one place (these also include commentaries!).
Lastly, the cherry on top is a wonderful Audio Commentary
by director Angus MacLane, director of photography – lighting Ian Megibben and editor Axel Geddes.
Also, thanks to our friends at Pixar Post for catching that there are also two additional bonus features you can check out exclusively on Disney Movies Anywhere. Film Studies With Professor Pricklepants is a short about Angus MacLane’s many film references during the making of the special. Bob’s Boatyard is another deleted scene, introduced by Axel Geddes that looks at the real reason why Ron, the hotel manage, is motivated to sell the stolen toys. All you have to do is login to Disney Movies Anywhere to view.
I’m always blown away with the sheer amount of goodies that Pixar consistently packs into its Blu-ray releases. Toy Story of Terror! isn’t even a theatrical release, but based on the detail and sheer amount of bonus features on this release, you wouldn’t know that. Pixar really sets the bar high for what to expect in bonus content.
Toy Story of Terror! is a spooky, hilarious and fun film that quench your thirst for more stories of the Toy Story gang. The bonus features are comprehensive, giving you another fascinating look behind-the-scenes at one of the world’s most prestigious animation studios. While the film is great, I would buy this Blu-ray for the bonus features alone.
Toy Story of Terror!: Blu-ray | DVD | Digital | iTunes