Toy Story & Toy Story 2 Double Feature (in Disney Digital 3-D) (Buena Vista Pictures, G)

film_toystory_sm.gifThe animators showed discipline, only adding 3-D where it could seamlessly be put in.







While I’m not entirely clear about Disney’s motives on this one—is there really enough of a 3-D craze going on right now to warrant rereleasing 2-D films redone in 3-D?—I am quite happy to partake of seeing both Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in the theater, which I embarrassingly failed to do in their respective original theatrical runs. And aside from the 3-D thing, this is, of course, a clever commercial for next summer’s impending blockbuster, Toy Story 3. The question is, then, how do the two Toy Story films look in 3-D?

Regarding the addition of the third dimension to the films, I am pleased with the work that the animators did. It’s an easy opportunity to show off, cramming 3-D into every corner, including places where it needn’t be, but the animators showed discipline on this front, only adding 3-D where it could seamlessly be put in. And while they did a good job of restraining themselves, I’m still not really convinced that the movies really benefit all that much from it. Besides, it might just have been me, but it seemed like the 3-D really dulled the films’ colors.

The only new material you’ll be seeing if you go to the 3-D double feature versus just watching both movies from DVDs at home comes right before the film starts and in the intermission. There’s a brief new animated bit about putting on your 3-D glasses at the beginning but, as it sounds, there is nothing special there. And then during the ten-minute intermission between films they have added Toy Story trivia and "treats," which are basically like the slides they run when you get to the movie theater before the trailers start, but they are all Toy Story-specific. While this stuff is maybe a little plain, it is also fun, and will make you sad to duck out during the intermission. And, given the fact that children will be making up a large percentage of the films’ audience, candy and potty runs are going to be pretty unavoidable.

That leads to what could perhaps be the endeavor’s biggest problem: the fact that it is a double feature. How many small children do you know capable of sitting still and not talking for over three hours? It doesn’t matter if they like the movie or not; the kids near me were squirming before even the first Toy Story was over. (Of course, a lot of this might have something to do with the fact that the press screening that I attended started at 9 a.m.) Kids aside, I love the double-feature format, and was very happy to be able to see them back to back.

It goes without saying that the two Toy Story films are among the finest work done at Pixar, and Pixar has continuously done about the finest work in film, period, over the past 15 years or so. This double feature certainly does whet one’s appetite for Toy Story 3, though it makes you wonder how they’re going to get around the deaths of Don Rickles (Mr. Potato Head) and Jim Varney (Slinky Dog) since the production  of Toy Story 2. I would worry, but when has Pixar ever led me wrong before? | Pete Timmermann

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