When Toy Story 4 debuted in theaters this summer, it defied our expectations of what a Pixar sequel could be possible of. Whereas we thought Toy Story 3 was the final chapter of the Toy Story franchise, Toy Story 4 actually packs a relatively meaningful film that expands on character arcs, lessons, and relationships–in some ways better than its three predecessors. Toy Story 4 itself is a bit of a conflict because it’s a great film that undercuts (the arguably better) Toy Story 3. Perhaps this won’t matter too much, because this film feels a bit like an epilogue to a franchise that already had its final big-screen chapter, and now we’ve received yet another conclusive ending that we certainly hope is the final ending once-and-for all.
With the release of this film on Blu-Ray, Toy Story fans will take solace in knowing that this home release is as equally fantastic as the film, and packs a wonderful array of bonus features to accompany the film, which is truly a rarity in today’s era of home entertainment. Pixar’s releases have frequently been a cut above the rest of Disney Home Entertainment’s endeavors, and we’re thankful this one is no exception. Diving deep into the production process of making this film, there is a great variety of features that analyze several key scenes within the film from those who crafted the elements of the film. From story artists, lighters and shaders, and technical supervisors, various scenes and processes within the production pipeline are broken down to showcase the creative decisions taken by the artists, and the amazing dedication to innovation at Pixar Animation Studios in the creation of each film.
Toy Story is very much a key franchise that remains at the foundation of Pixar Animation Studios, and the process of creating yet another installment in that franchise is obviously something that needs to be approached with care and a deep appreciation for these characters. Much of the team behind this film are Pixar veterans themselves, but the animators and story artists were presented with challenges; how do we recreate Bo Peep, a character not seen since 1998 in a way that’s meaningful and serves the story positively? In Bo Rebooted, voice actor Annie Potts and the animators and story artists share their insight into what this newly re-invented Bo could look like and the many ways her presence could throw the much-needed wrench right into Woody’s ambitious and noble life goals.
With a key understanding of what makes toys special to children, the animators take a moment to share what toys are meaningful to themselves in Toy Stories, either from their childhood or careers. Adorning the walls of the Pixar Studios are hundreds of toys that act as visual references or personal memorabilia in various animators’ offices. Elsewhere, there’s also a comedically brilliant feature titled Let’s Ride with Ali Maki which shows the tedious process of recording and editing dialogue in a movie sequence and the dozens of complex moving parts required to bring the seemingly basic moments on-screen to life.
There’s truly a lot of fun to be had with the Blu-Ray release of Toy Story 4, a rare release that actually makes a great effort to delve as deep into the production pipeline at Pixar to make for an entertaining and informative release. Where Pixar home releases always make for fun expansions beyond their films, this release is another fun companion to Pixar’s great filmography.
Toy Story 4 is now available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital HD