BLU-RAY REVIEW: Disney/Pixar's Toy Story That Time Forgot
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Woody, Buzz, and the Toy Story gang meet the Battlesaurs, dinosaur toys who think they are really prehistoric gladiators. It’s up to Trixie the Triceratops to save the day and ensure everyone gets back home safely.
Directed by Steve Purcell.
Let’s face it, we could watch Woody and Buzz read the phone book and it would be twice as good as anything else kids are watching today. Thankfully, Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story TV specials manage to reunite most of the original cast (particularly Tom Hanks and Tim Allen) and drop them into some entertaining short stories perfectly suited for television.
2013’s Toy Story of Terror was a solid entry (although a bit dark for younger kids), and the follow-up, The Toy Story That Time Forgot, aired last year on ABC as a Christmas special. Even though the story itself is set during the Christmas holiday, it can’t really be labeled a Christmas story. Instead, we get a twist on a plot point from the first film: a group of dino toys called Battlesaurs are totally unaware that they are actually toys (much like Buzz in the original), and when they meet up with the Toy Story gang, it’s war.
Since this is a 22 minute television special, there isn’t time for much story development, so don’t expect an emotional storyline like we saw in Toy Story 3. Instead, we get an action-packed roller-coaster ride that’s a sly take on toy franchises and merchandising. It’s also a very Trixie-centric story, so Woody and Buzz essentially play second fiddle for most of the second half.
The Battlesaurs are a nice addition to the Toy Story universe, as is Angel Kitty, a Christmas ornament that drops deep knowledge on the characters from time to time. Since it’s only 20 minutes long, the story moves along at a brisk pace and the jokes come from all directions. Parents will love the homage to classic toy lines and more than a few classic films, while the kids will enjoy seeing Woody and Buzz in action again. Although it isn’t quite a holiday classic, the story is entertaining enough, and the jokes clever enough, to make The Toy Story That Time Forgot a worthy diversion.
Oh, don’t forget, Disney actually made Battlesaurs toys, including “armored” versions of Woody, Buzz, and the others, which can be purchased in stores and online. Your kids will likely ask for them upon seeing the special.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The quality of the CGI animation for Toy Story That Time Forgot is on par with the feature films, and it looks fantastic on Blu-ray, with realistic detail and bold, bright colors. I’ve never been a fan of 3D, but I could help but think, while watching the special, how great it would look in 3D. Seriously, somebody at Disney needs to get on that 3D special edition Blu-ray. The audio is a solid 7.1 DTS mix, which sounds much better than you would expect for a TV special. The “Battlesaurs” theme song will rock your speakers in all the right ways.
The disc’s extras are quite good, considering it is just a TV special. There’s plenty of looks behind the scenes, deleted scenes, and even an audio commentary, which is surprising for a half-hour TV special. The extras include:
“Reptillus” featurette: The new Toy Story character of Reptillus is explored here, with Story Supervisor Derek Thompson and Director Steve Purcell providing his backstory, and other Pixar staff discussing his creation and design. Kevin McKidd, the voice of Reptillus, also chimes in on giving the character life. Running time: 10:51
“Toy Story Goes to Comic Con” featurette. Director Steve Purcell, composer Michael Giacchino, actress Kristen Schaal, and other crew members travel to the San Diego Comic Con to screen the special. Running time: 3:39
“My Unexpected Friend” karaoke music video. This deliberately cheesy ballad, sung by Reptillus to Trixie, can be seen two ways: sung by Kevin McKidd (the voice of Reptillus), or in “karaoke” mode for you to sing. Trust me, you’ll want to. Running time: 3:59
“Battlesaurs” animated theme song. Now this is commitment: Pixar actually did an animated opening to the fictional “Battlesaurs” cartoon the special’s toys are set around. It will remind you of every 80’s cartoon opening based on toy lines, and it’s lots of fun. Running time: 50 seconds.
Deleted Scenes. Deleted scenes include “Battlesaurs Christmas,” “Prisoners of Bone,” “SOS,” “Trixie’s Proposal,” and “Light of Play.” Director Steve Purcell introduces each clip. Running time: 9:25
Audio Commentary: Director Steve Purcell and Story Supervisor Derek Thompson provide a lively audio commentary and discuss how the story evolved.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Dinos make everything better, even Toy Story
Rex and Trixie aside, the addition to dinosaurs to the Toy Story universe makes for an entertaining new chapter in the adventures of Woody and Buzz. It isn’t quite the Christmas story it tries to be, but it is a worthy addition to the Toy Story franchise.
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Running Time: 22 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, French, Spanish (feature only)
Special Features: “Reptillus” featurette, “Toy Story Goes To Comic Con” featurette, “My Unexpected Friend” karaoke music video, “Battlesaurs” animated theme song, Five deleted scenes.
Audio Commentary: With Director Steve Purcell and Story Supervisor Derek Thompson
Label: Walt Disney Home Entertainment