Toy Story 3 Clip: Made For Each Other

Pixar Animation Studios has released a number of clips from TOY STORY 3 and Cinefantastique is bringing them to you! Check back here every day for more sneak peeks leading up to the film’s release this Friday June 18, 2010! This first clip is entitled “Made for Each Other” and shows the first encounter between two familiar characters.

Laserblast: May 11 DVD & Blu-ray: Daybreakers, Legion, Toy Story 1 & 2

In recent years, January has become the month for releasing films considered too weak to compete in the more profitable moving-going seasons (such as Summer and Christmas); with the narrowing window between theatrical and home video distribution, we are currently seeing those titles show up on store shelves – hardly an inspiring fact for fans of horror, fantasy and science fiction films looking for something new and exciting. And yet, against the odds, Tuesday, May 11 features the home video debut of an ambitious science fiction-horror film that earned some well-deserved kudos during its theatrical run this January (although it earned only a modest $30.1-million).

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DAYBREAKERS expands on an idea presented but never fully explored in Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legendand its various film permutations, that of a society of vampires. Taking a science fiction approach to the material, writer-directors Michael and Peter Spierig use vampirism as a metaphor for capitalism, without ever turning their film into a simple-minded screed (a la the recent FURRY VENGEANCE). The film arrives on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD. The Blu-ray offers audio commentary from the Spierigs; a feature-length making-of featurette (as opposed to the shorter version on DVD); “The Big Picture,” a short film exclusive to the Blu-ray; storyboard and animatics comparison; posters (Blu-ray exclusive); a digital copy (Blu-ray exclusive); and a trailer.
The other January genre release making its home vid bow this Tuesday is LEGION, a religious thriller in which the arkangel Michael decides to help humanity avert the apocalypse (seems God thinks its time to rain some old-fashioned Sodom-and-Gomorah-type fire and brimstone on a worldwide scale).
Also out are special editions of Pixar’s TOY STORY and TOY STORY 2, timed to the upcoming release of TOY STORY 3. MALICE IN WONDERLAND, a modern, British re-telling of the Lewis Carroll story, arrives on DVD after playing in one U.S. theatre last month. And the Thai fantasy film LEGEND OF THE TSUNAMI WARRIOR arrives on Blu-ray; this was directed by Nonzee Nimibutr, whom hardcore Asian horror fans may remember as the director of the “The Wheel,” the second episode of the anthology film THREE (known as THREE EXTREMES II in the U.S.)

Toy Story 1 & 2 Blu-ray review

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It might seem odd that the first two Toy Story films are so often mentioned in the same breath as the Godfather epic; though the films share little in common, there is a unifying bond – in both cases, a masterpiece was actually improved upon in a sequel.  The rarity of this occurrence is well documented among cineastes, putting these 2 disparate sets of films in the same exclusive club.  Disney is certainly hoping not to have Godfather III luck this summer, when the heavily anticipated Toy Story 3-D arrives in theaters; in the meantime, they’ve given fans a treat to hold them over – Toy Story and Toy Story 2 on Blu-Ray.  Now, we won’t waste time with a plot synopsis – if the story of Woody, Buzz and the rest of young Andy’s toys isn’t already familiar, than willful ignorance can be the only culprit.  Instead we’re going to concentrate on the contents of the new discs and see how they stack-up against the previous releases, including the extremely comprehensive (as far as supplemental go) Ultimate Toy Box release.
Back in 1995, the release of Toy Story was a not-so-minor milestone in the process of modern animation.  Not only was it the first Pixar feature film (made on a relatively modest budget with a staff of just over 100 people); it was also the first film to be entirely created using digital animation.  1995 might not seem that long ago, but in terms of technology it could well be a lifetime; its initial home video release was on VHS and Laserdisc, and it would take the 2000 home video release of its sequel, Toy Story 2, before the films received DVD treatment.  It would be another decade, however, before the films received a home video release that replicates the images the original animators created more than 15 years ago.  Both previous DVD sets were considered to be high quality releases of the moment, so our expectations were caught unawares by the near-ethereal image quality present on the Blu-Ray discs.  Looking beyond the bright, bold colors, we were absolutely gob-smacked by the sumptuous textures.  Details that were always present but had been hidden away by 480p transfers (the grain of the wood in Andy’s headboard, the stitching on Jessie and Woody’s vests, or the scales on Rex) now leapt off the screen as if rendered in 3-D (and, in spite of the recent 3D re-release, neither film was shot in that format).  In fact, the image quality is so pristine that some might not even notice the new DTS lossless audio track, adding yet another layer of dimensionality to the show.   
When we first saw Toy Story, the seemingly dull rendering of Andy (the only human that we see enough to concentrate on) made us dubious of the capabilities of digital animation; sure, you can animate inanimate objects, but are actual human beings that far beyond their range?  With the BD release you can finally see not only additional detail in Andy himself but clear evidence that the animators goal was to imbue the plastic toys with as much – or even more – personality than the humans of the world.  Since their release, the art and science of digital animation has grown at a geometric rate; Pixar’s continuing success eventually forced Disney to re-think their own approach to animation, and saw other studios like Fox and DreamWorks opening their own lucrative animation studios, though none would enjoy Pixar’s level of critical and box office success. 
Now, obviously, Toy Story and Toy Story 2 belong on a very short list of DVDs that you can find in virtually every household – regardless of the presence of children.  And we certainly feel that Disney’s new Blu-Ray discs operate at a reference standard that no serious videophile should be without, but the completist will want to take note that not all previously released bonus features made the jump to Blu-Ray.  On the plus side, there are quite a few new features present on the discs – all of which are in HD:
Toy Story bonus features:

  • The Story: An Exclusive Sneak Peek at Toy Story 3
  • Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: Blast Off
  • Paths to Pixar: Artists – a series of shorts in which Pixar’s artists discuss how they arrived at the company
  • Studio Stories – a series of ‘life at Pixar’ shorts that will make you hate your own job that much more
  • Buzz Takes Manhattan – the debut of the Buzz balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade
  • Black Friday: The Toy Story You Never Saw – an early edit of the film that nearly strangled digital animation in the cradle 

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Toy Story 2 bonus features:

  • Characters: An Exclusive Sneak Peek at Toy Story 3
  • Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: International Space Station
  • Paths to Pixar: Technical Artists – same as above, but the techies
  • Studio Stories – more stories to remind you that you don’t work at Pixar
  • Celebrating our Friend Joe Ranft – a nicely heartfelt tribute to a noted animation story editor

In addition to the new material, an enormous amount of the previously released bonus material has been included as well, but there is also a decent-sized chunk of material (mostly from the now out-of-print Ultimate Toy Box set) that didn’t make it.  We can’t pretend that we’ll miss the effects-only audio track, but we are a bit surprised to see that the Tin Toy short was omitted (you can view the entire list of missing material over at the Digital Bits).  As with most of Disney’s high profile BD releases, each set also includes a standard-def DVD with the film and bonus materials.

Toy Story 3 theatrical release

Toy Story 3 (2010)Walt Disney Studios releases the latest installment in Pixar Animation’s blockbuster franchise. This time, Andy is off to college, and the question is: Will he throw his old toys away or keep them as collector’s items? Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are back as Woody and Buzz Lightyear; the of the voice cast includes Michael Keaton, Whoopi Goldberg, Joan Cusack, Tim Allen, Wallace Shawn, Bonnie Hunt, Timothy Dalton, R. Lee Ermey, Don Rickles, and Ned Beatty. Lee Unkrich directed, from a screenplay by Michael Arndt (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE).
Release date: June 18.
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Laserblast, March 23: Toy Story 1 & 2, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Horrorfest, ZMD

It says something – I’m not sure what – that this week’s most exciting home video releases in the realm of  horror, fantasy, and science fiction are of a pair of films from the previous millennium: both TOY STORY and TOY2 arrive on March 23 in two-disc special edition packages, combining Blu-ray and DVD discs. The Blu-ray transfer should make the picture pop like never before, supplemented by numerous bonus features, including sneak peaks at TOY STORY 3. The extras for TOY STORY include:

  • Toy Story 3 Sneak Peek: The Story
  • Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs Blast off
  • Paths to Pixar Artists
  • Studio Stories: John’s Car, Baby AJ. Scooter Races
  • Buzz Takes Manhattan
  • Black Friday The Toy Story You Never Saw

The TOY STORY 2 disc’s bonus features include:

  • BE Live
  • Director commentary
  • Toy Story 3 Sneak Peek: The Characters
  • Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: International Space Station
  • Paths to Pixar: Technical Artists
  • Studio Stories: Toy Story 2 Sleep Deprivation Lab, Pinocchio
  • The Movie Vanishes
  • Pixar’s Zoetrop
  • Celebrating our Friend Joe Ranft

Also arriving in video stores on March 23 are DVDs of THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX (director Wes Anderson’s adaptation of the Roald Dahl children’s book) and the After Dark Horrorfest Volume 4, which is available as an eight-disc box set and as individual titles: DREAD, THE FINAL, THE GRAVES, THE HIDDEN, KILL THEORY, LAKE MUNGO, THE REEDS, and ZOMBIES OF MASS DESTRUCTION.