Toy Story, 10th Anniversary Edition (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
Amazon.com Essential DVD
There is greatness in film that can be discussed, dissected, and talked about late into the night. Then there is genius that is right in front of our faces--we smile at the spell it puts us into and are refreshed, and nary a word needs to be spoken. This kind of entertainment is what they used to call "movie magic," and there is loads of it in this irresistible computer animation feature. Just a picture of these bright toys reawaken the kid in us. Filmmaker John Lasseter thinks of himself as a storyteller first and an animator second, much like another film innovator, Walt Disney.
The 10th anniversary edition of the landmark film repackages most of the extras found in the original Ultimate Toy Box set plus a few more. Two keen retrospectives are new, one with an assortment of talents including Roy Disney and Peter Jackson chiming in on the film's impact. The other is a roundtable with Lasseter and three of the creators simply talking about the experiences without--thankfully--any cutaways to noisy film clips. There's a load of other extras since the Ultimate Toy Box was one of the first and best DVD sets. Missing (besides the second film, which will be released separately) is the effects- and music-only tracks. Added is a whopping DTS soundtrack along with a remixed Dolby 5.1 track. The DVD has a higher transfer bit rate for a better picture, but only high-end enthusiasts will notice it. Since the film is a digital-to-digital transfer, both versions are eye-popping. A must-have set unless you have the Ultimate Toy Box.
Lasseter's story is universal and magical: what do toys do when they're not played with? Cowboy Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Andy's favorite bedroom toy, tries to calm the other toys (some original, some classic) during a wrenching time of year--the birthday party, when newer toys may replace them. Sure enough, Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) is the new toy that takes over the throne. Buzz has a crucial flaw, though--he believes he's the real Buzz Lightyear, not a toy. Lasseter further scores with perfect voice casting, including Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head and Wallace Shawn as a meek dinosaur. The director-animator won a special Oscar for "the development and inspired application of techniques that have made possible the first feature-length computer-animated film." In other words, the movie is great. --Doug Thomas