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post #1 of 5 Old 08-15-2014, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Toy Story of Terror (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

Reuniting after the events of the blockbuster smash “Toy Story 3,” Buzz, Woody and the gang join new friend Combat Carl for a spooky tale full of mystery and humor.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Disney - 2014
MPAA Rating: TV-G
Feature running time: 22 minutes
Genre: Family

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 & 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, Joan Cusack, Timothy Dalton, Kristin Schaal, Carl Weathers, Stephen Tobolowsky
Written & Directed by: Angus MacLane
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 19, 2014

"Frighteningly fun!"

My Take:

This TV Special aired in October 2013 on ABC and features an all-new 22 minute short that reunites the Toy Story characters. Geared toward a Halloween type theme the adventure picks up with Woody, Buzz, Rex, Jessie, Potato Head, Trixie and Mr. Pricklepants headed on a road trip with Bonnie and her mother when a flat tire strands them at a creepy roadside motel. Mr. Pricklepants immediately begins making comparisons between their situation and those usually found in scary movies. After they are settle in for the night Potato Head decides to explore in search of the motel’s freebies. Concerned, especially in light of Mr. Pricklepants incessant comparisons, they decide to go after him. They quickly learn that something is amiss when they can’t find him and are suddenly faced with the frightening realization that they are not alone. It isn’t long before their fears become reality. Their only hope is to pull together with the help of some new friends.

At 23 minutes Toy Story of Terror! isn’t going to have the narrative scope of previous Toy Story films, nor is it intended to. What it does is bring these beloved characters and the wonderful cast that voices them back together for a light, spirited and fun adventure. It introduces a new character in Combat Carl, voice by Carl Weathers, and feels very much like a traditional holiday themed TV special. As a fan I enjoyed this revisit to the Toy Story universe and I suspect that its target audience (and their parents) will too. I think that Toy Story of Terror! makes for a welcomed installment that is perfect for annual viewing when little ones are getting into the Halloween spirit.

Toy Story of Terror! makes its in-home debut loaded with never-before-seen bonus features, including three Vintage Toy Commercials, which can be viewed as act breaks during the film or separately with Director Introductions. Additional all-new bonus features include Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes with Editor Introductions and “Team of Specialists,” in which director Angus MacLane goes deep behind the scenes to introduce the team of specialists required to make this fun-filled “Toy Story” adventure!

Additional in-home special features include three “Toy Story Toons” shorts: “Small Fry,” “Partysaurus Rex” and “Hawaiian Vacation” – each with Audio Commentary; and the rarely seen, especially spooky teaser created for the D23 fan conference. Also available only on Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) is a new short piece about film references featuring Mr. Pricklepants and a Bonus Deleted Scene with Editor’s Introduction.

Written and directed by Angus MacLane, animator on such Disney•Pixar classics as “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Toy Story 2 & 3” and produced by Galyn Susman, “Toy Story OF TERROR!” features an original score by composer Michael Giacchino (“Ratatouille,” “Up,” “Cars 2”).

Parental Guide:

This film is appropriate for general audiences.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

Toy Story of Terror! comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 Mbps.

As you might expect from Pixar this is a great video presentation that boasts vibrant colors that are rich in saturation and vivid in depth. Detail is rendered with aplomb as the video has excellent dimensional quality with crisp texture and fine articulation. Contrast is boldly applied and well balanced so that whites are crisp and colors pop without distortion or loss of detail. Blacks are deep with excellent dynamic and gradational highlights. This is a pristine quality digital transfer that looks terrific in high definition.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack comes in both 5.1 (default) and 7.1 flavors and makes effective use of the surround platform. I auditioned both and found each offers detail rich sonic clarity, crystalline dialogue and ample low frequency support. This isn’t an aggressive mix however where appropriate it applies discretely placed directional cues and rear channel ambience that fills the listening area nicely. Dynamic range and bass response isn’t up to the level of the better lossless encodings available on the format but I was satisfied with what I heard. This is a well-balanced and complimentary presentation that accented this Pixar short.

Bonus Features:
  • (HD) Toy Story Toons (with optional commentary):
    1. Hawaiian vacation
    2. Small fry
    3. Partysaurus Rex
  • (HD) Team of specialists – 12 minute featurette
  • (HD)3 deleted scenes with editor commentary
  • (HD) D23 teaser
  • (HD)Vintage commercials
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Toy Story of Terror! is a light, spirited and fun Pixar short film that reunites the Toy Story gang. It makes for perfect annual viewing when little ones are getting into the Halloween spirit and is a welcomed addition to the Toy Story family. It comes to Blu-ray from Disney featuring top notch high definition video, gratifying lossless surround sound and a solid assortment of fan friendly supplements. Toy Story of Terror! is to recommend for fans so feel free to pick it up on Blu-ray.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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post #2 of 5 Old 08-15-2014, 12:39 PM
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I actually had no idea Pixar released a short film for the Toy Story gang. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the Cars short films and am sure they'll enjoy this one as well. Added to queue!

Great review!
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post #3 of 5 Old 08-15-2014, 12:51 PM
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Wonderful story. My four year old daughter adores the Toy Story movies and she loved it.
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post #4 of 5 Old 08-16-2014, 04:09 AM
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I've had them recorded off Directv for awhile. A 1080p version would be nice. I think there's one or two of the Mater's Tales that didn't get released on disc yet. Air Mater and Time Travel Mater, had to get one off of Itunes, the other off of YouTube. Oh well.

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post #5 of 5 Old 08-17-2014, 09:33 PM
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I just got back from Siggraph 2014 in Vancouver and saw both the breakdown of this movie's production as well as Guardians of the Galaxy, they were both superb.

Basically, Toy Story of Terror marks the beginning of Pixar's transition to physically based shading. This is a big deal in animation since Pixar is the 400 pound Gorilla here.

If you compare Woody's face side by side with prior movies you'll clearly see an improved use of lighting and shadows, even though they wanted to be careful to not look TOO real, which could possibly be a detriment to their franchise. There's a fine line between a more realistic and dramatic lighting model, and one that actually makes the toys look like real plastic, i.e. dead. I suspect this process of updating their entire pipeline will show up in the next feature length movie where they'll probably talk again about the time savings and productivity gains that PBS gave them in the bonus features section of the Bluray. But for the darker, shadowy content of this "horror" movie, having better lighting and materials is a clear win.

ps the entire videogame industry more or less uses PBS now, as do most other FX / rendering companies dealing with movies. Pixar updating their entire pipeline to PBS will probably up the ante for the entire industry, even though they were very cautious in not implementing it earlier due to the worries of too much realism I mentioned above.

Last edited by RLBURNSIDE; 08-17-2014 at 09:39 PM.
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