Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Toy Story of Terror
Toy Story of Terror was a TV special that aired last year around Halloween. They are releasing it on DVD and Blu-ray in late summer, because if they waited till Halloween, they would have to deal with a flood of Christmas releases. Since it is just a 30-minute TV special, it runs just 21 minutes without commercials, so even if the short is worth watching, there needs to be solid extras to make it worth picking up. Is that the case?
Toy Story of Terror begins with the toys from Toy Story 3 riding in the trunk of the car as Bonnie and Bonnie's Mom drive on vacation. While in the trunk, the toys watch a horror film with Mr. Pricklepants explaining how horror films work. In a real life scary moment, Bonnie's mom gets a flat tire and needs to pull into a Sleepwell Motel.
While the humans are asleep, Mr. Potatohead decides to sneak out of the luggage and check out the free tiny soaps and such. The other toys decide to follow him, while Mr. Pricklepants narrates how this is just like a horror film. Soon he's more right than he knows, as one by one the toys are picked off by a mysterious force. Soon only Jessie is the only one left. Can she overcome her fears and help save her friends?
Toy Story of Terror feels like one of the Toy Story movies, just shorter. It may have been made for TV, but you wouldn't be able to tell from the quality, both the technical quality and the overall quality. The animation doesn't look cheap, while all of the voice actors are back reprising their respective roles. The plot is fun for fans of horror films, because they do hit the right notes. It has enough self-referential humor to entertain the adults. I also think it is scary enough to be effective as horror for kids. There is also a good message of overcoming your fears, and that's always a nice bonus for a kids' show. And of course, it's fun to spend time with these characters we've gotten to know over the years.
Extras start with three additional shorts films: Hawaiian Vacation, Small Fry, and Partysaurus Rex. All three of these have been released on the home market previously. Additionally, all four shorts have audio commentary tracks. Team of Specialists is a 12-minute making of featurette. There are three deleted scenes, with intros and optional audio commentary. D23 Teaser is a minute-long trailer for the TV special. Finally, there are "vintage commercials" for some of the new toys seen in the TV special. Of these, the deleted scenes are exclusive to the Blu-ray.
The technical presentation is certainly better than most TV specials. The level of details is very high, while the colors and blacks are vivid and deep respectively. It goes without saying that there are no compression issues. The audio track is 7.1 surround sound, which is better than expected, considering it is a TV special. It isn't as active as a movie would be, but it is still engaging.
The Blu-ray costs $13, which is $3 or 30% more than the DVD.
Toy Story of Terror is a very fun Halloween special and it is worth checking out. On the other hand, it is $10 for the DVD and $13 for the Blu-ray. That's not a bargain given the running time, but it isn't exactly overpriced either.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2014-08-09