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Pixar Films on DVD: Toy Story • A Bug's Life • Toy Story 2 • Monsters, Inc. • Finding Nemo • The Incredibles • Cars • Ratatouille • WALL•E • Up • Toy Story 3

Pixar Films on Blu-ray: Toy Story • A Bug's Life • Toy Story 2 • Monsters, Inc. • The Incredibles• Cars • Ratatouille • WALL•E • Up • Toy Story 3

Toy Story & Toy Story 2: The Ultimate Toy Box DVD Review

After more than 2 years out of print, Toy Story returned to DVD in September of 2005 as a 2-Disc 10th Anniversary Edition featuring most of The Ultimate Toy Box's extras plus a higher bitrate and some new bonuses. Read our detailed review here or order it here. Shortly after, its blockbuster 1999 sequel Toy Story 2 was similarly re-released as a 2-Disc Special Edition, with a few new extras, most of The Ultimate Toy Box's bonuses, plus a higher bitrate and a new DTS track. Read our detailed review of that here or buy it here.

Toy Story movie poster Toy Story

Theatrical Release: November 21, 1995 / Running Time: 81 Minutes / Rating: G

Director: John Lasseter

Voice Cast: Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), Don Rickles (Mr. Potato Head), Jim Varney (Slinky Dog), John Ratzenberger (Hamm), Annie Potts (Bo Peep), John Morris (Andy), Erik Von Detten (Sid Phillips), Laurie Metcalf (Andy's Mom), R. Lee Ermey (Sarge)

Songs: "You've Got a Friend in Me", "Strange Things", "I Will Go Sailing No More"
Toy Story 2

Theatrical Release: November 24, 1999 / Running Time: 92 Minutes / Rating: G

Director: John Lasseter, Co-Directors: Ash Brannon, Lee Unkrich

Voice Cast: Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), Joan Cusack (Jessie), Kelsey Grammer (Stinky Pete the Prospector), Don Rickles (Mr. Potato Head), Jim Varney (Slinky Dog), John Ratzenberger (Hamm), Annie Potts (Bo Peep), Wayne Knight (Al McWhiggen), John Morris (Andy), Laurie Metcalf (Andy's Mom), R. Lee Ermey (Sarge), Estelle Harris (Mrs. Potato Head), Joe Ranft (Wheezy), Jodi Benson (Tour Guide Barbie)

Songs: "Woody's Roundup", "When She Loved Me", "You've Got a Friend in Me"
Toy Story 2 movie poster

Buy The Ultimate Toy Box from Amazon.com DVD Details

1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French)
Subtitles: English
Closed Captioned
Release Date: October 17, 2000
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9)
Suggested Retail Price: $69.99


Released several years ago, the 3-disc Ultimate Toy Box remains a standard of excellence for DVD sets to shoot for. The set contains two of modern cinema's most charming gems, films that illustrate Pixar's revolutionary computer animation is matched by their clever screenwriting and original concepts, plus several hours of genuinely entertaining bonus features.

Less than a decade after the original Toy Story became the first full-length computer-animated feature, the film already seems etched in cinema history. The timeless fantasy tale of rivalry amongst the toys in Andy's playroom mixes witty dialogue, dazzling eye candy, and characters with depth rarely seen in live-action film for an incredibly enjoyable experience.

And a feast for the senses, as both films feature flawless direct digital transfers, for undeniably first-rate video and audio presentation. Both films are presented in 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen, and there's just not an imperfection to be found. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks offer an audio experience far more exhilarating than your average film, with lively effects and engulfing surround sound. (Unfortunately, Toy Story 2's soundtrack is out-of-sync by less than a second - it's just barely noticeable, but it's worth mentioning.) There's even the option to watch either film with just the sound effects in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround.

The supplemental material included attempts to take you to infinity and beyond. The movie discs offer substantial improvement over the relatively barebones individual and 2-Pack release of the films, including two of the most lively and enjoyable audio commentaries that exist. Toy Story (Disc 1) includes the Oscar-winning Pixar short Tin Toy (1988), and adds
52 animated "Toy Story Treats" (interstitials that aired on Saturday mornings around the original film's release), a 3-minute multi-language reel of Buzz's introduction scene in 30 different languages, the entire "Buzz Lightyear" commercial partially seen in the movie, two brief "on-set" interviews with Buzz and Woody, and the satisfying half-hour making-of documentary "The Story Behind Toy Story".

Toy Story 2's disc contains the Pixar short that introduced their signature bouncing lamp - Luxo Jr. (1986) and earned the studio its first Oscar nomination. In addition, the DVD includes the outtakes that were added to the film's end credits a month after its theatrical release, and the very first sneak peek of Monsters, Inc..

The good-natured spirit that makes the commentaries so winning carries over to Disc 3, where five hours of extras await you. Here, Pixar has included an endless supply of supplemental features to allow the viewer to follow the progress of the two films, from storyboards to character and set design to initial animation to lighting and shading to mixing all the elements together (voices, music, sound effects) for the final product.

It is on the extras disc that you can see how Toy Story developed into the Toy Story the world knows and loves, and how several themes which were ultimately left out of the first film resurfaced for the sequel. The original story treatment, early animation tests, galleries of art development, 3D location fly-arounds, deleted sequences, trailers & TV ads, and much more are included, in this guided tour which illustrates how Pixar works its magic. In Music and Sound Design, you'll find 7 original Randy Newman song demos, some of which make their way into the film in some way, and in Publicity, you're treated to a slew of poster art, print ads, and merchandising photos.

For Toy Story 2, the History section answers the question "Why a Sequel?" and in addition to discussing the Development of the concepts, there are also sections on Music & Sound Design (including music videos and another Randy Newman song demo), Computer Animation, Deleted Animation, Abandoned Concepts, Story, The Toy Box (with information on "Woody's Roundup" and the fake memorabilia surrounding the show-within-a-movie), and Publicity (with trailers, TV ads, poster art, and character autographs). There is also a featurette on the talented voice cast, plus a fun segment on "Who's the Coolest Toy?". The biggest of the very minor complaints one can come up with is that the lack of time-coding the supplemental features (for instance, when you start watching a featurette you have no idea how long it might be).

Flyaround Tour of the Gas Station from 'Toy Story' Guide to Hidden Jokes in 'Toy Story 2'

First-rate audio and video, a wealth of enlightening and amusing supplements, and most importantly, two excellent movies make The Ultimate Toy Box a delightful set. Though it is now out of print, you'd be doing yourself a great disservice by passing up this unsurpassed 3-disc set.

Buy Toy Story & Toy Story 2: The Ultimate Toy Box from Amazon.com Marketplace


After more than 2 years out of print, Toy Story returned to DVD in September of 2005 as a 2-Disc 10th Anniversary Edition featuring most of The Ultimate Toy Box's extras plus a higher bitrate and some new bonuses. Read our detailed review here or order it here. Shortly after, its blockbuster 1999 sequel Toy Story 2 was similarly re-released as a 2-Disc Special Edition, with a few new extras, most of The Ultimate Toy Box's bonuses, plus a higher bitrate and a new DTS track. Read our detailed review of that here or buy it here.

Related Reviews:
Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition • Toy Story 2: Special Edition • Pixar Short Films Collection, Volume 1
A Bug's Life: Collector's Edition • The Incredibles: Collector's Edition • Cars • WALL-E: 3-Disc Special Edition
Monsters, Inc.: Collector's Edition • Finding Nemo: Collector's Edition • Ratatouille • Pocahontas: 10th Anniversary Edition
The Lion King: Platinum Edition • Tarzan: Collector's Edition • Mulan: Special Edition • Dinosaur: Collector's Edition
The Godfather Trilogy (The Coppola Restoration) • Directors Series: Stanley Kubrick

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Reviewed January 21, 2004.