A Dreamer Walking

Toy Story 3- Extra Features Review

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob on November 16, 2010

Review on most of the Toy Story 3 Extra Features I have watched so far. I give them a grade between 1 and 10. The grade is based on how well the videos, podcasts, and documentaries present their information, and what I think of the information they present. I will bold curtain words that I think represent what the videos are about. This is not supposed to be extremely organized, but I do hope you find it useful and have at least an idea of what kind of stuff you are getting into when you purchase these movies or look at these links. if you have any questions or critiques please comment below.

Toy Story 3:

Two Disc Blu-Ray Review:

Cinama Explore/ Commentary: Lee Unkrich and Darla Anderson: 7.5 out of 10: I can tell that Lee was very passionate when making the film and that the movie came from his true vision. I also found some good info on particular scenes and to whether they were easy or hard to do. One of the problems is that Lee tries to pack everything into the commentary, so he does not give enough time (in my opinion) on any given subject. I would have liked to have more insight into his directing process and hear why he did what he did when it came to writing, story boarding, animating, lighting, and more importantly editing (sense that was his upbringing in film) a shot. However, that said the commentary is very informational. Darla talks very little but you also get the feeling she was deep into the passion that made Toy Story 3 what it is. I think the highlights is a more overall idea on the animation process, leaning toward story if anything.

A Western Opening: Story Process: 8 out of 10: This was a 7 minute documentary on how the very opening of Toy Story 3 became what it is in the film. It deals entirely on how they developed the story through out the years. It was surprising how different it started out being, from the end product. You also get some great insight into how they made it a core part of the story as a whole.

Bonnie’s Playtime: Story Roundtable: 9 out of 10: This is a great 6 minute conversation with Lee Unkrich, Jason Katz (story artist), Adrian Molina (story artist), Erik Benson (story artist), and Matt Luhn (story artist), on how they went about figuring out Bonnie as a character and how they figured out how to introduce her to the audience so we immediately love her without knowing the toys are going to be donated to her. This is completely about story and character development. I love some of the conversation that goes on. You get some real insight to how many people it took to crack the character of Bonnie. We get many people’s different points of view, all of them seem to have been interested in one thing and that is making a character as strong as Andy. They go into detail about how they tried to connect Bonnie’s room too Andy’s room, while still making both characters unique. You also get a good look at why they chose the toys they chose for Bonnie. Some GREAT stuff.

Beginnings: Setting The Story in Motion: 10 out of 10: This is PRICELESS!!! A 8 minute clinic on starting a screenplay. It is narrated by Michael Arndt, and gives us a fantastic look at fundamental things to look for if you are having a hard time working a story out. He explains how if you are having a hard time writing a story, the problem almost always has its roots in the beginning of the story. Michael goes through 3 Pixar movies, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles, and tells us how exactly they are set up to allow the 2nd and 3rd act to really flow. This is a fundamental documentary for anyone interested in screenwriting. The great thing is that Michael even says that the rules he explains are NOT  law, they are just good things to look at if you are having problems.

Life of a Shot: 8 out of 10: A 7 minute look at what went into the huge western opening in Toy Story 3. We saw a little of everything, character animation, effects animation, camera positioning, storyboarding, prop design, color scripting, lighting, and music. For a brief introductory look at what goes into making animation work, watch this feature.

Paths To Pixar: Editorial: 9 out of 10: This is more about advice then how these editors made it to Pixar. It is only 4 minutes and 40 seconds, but has a lot of different views on what goes into good film editing. They explain some of the difference between live action editing and animation editing. I like how they really captured several peoples views on the subject and it seemed to keep on driving forward. You clearly see a beginning middle and end to this documentary.

Toy Story 3: The Gang’s All Here: 8 out of 10: This is a interesting 8 minute look at all the voice actors for the film. ALL these Toy Story 3 extra features are so very well made. It is just fun to hear some of Tom Hank’s ideas on what Toy Story means to him. It is cool to see how so many voice actors are excited about Pixar and how they feel they are becoming imortal when they contribute their voices to one of their films. Also a little insight on Lee Unkrich, and his thoughts on directing the third movie.

Goodbye Andy: 9 out of 10: I dare someone to watch this short documentary and say that the film was not “driven” by Lee Unkrich. Lee, I think, is the most personal in this documentary, explaining what he put into the ending of the film and how important it was to him to complete the Toy Story trilogy. We get some great insight on how the ending of the film was developed from the very first retreat John Lasseter and his core filmmakers had when they started the Toy Story 3 project. They talk a lot about what they needed to do to make the story just right. Lee explains what he thought his job was as the Director.

Commentary: Bobby Podesta, Jason Katz, Mike Venturini, Bob Pauley, and Guido Quaron: 8 out of 10: A good commentary. We get to hear about some of the passion that went into making the film. We also hear about many of the obstacles. They talk about the daunting task of working on characters that are considered legends in the animation world. We also see why Pixar is the best animation studio at the moment. It is all about detail and these guys are addicted to making sure every last detail is covered, so that could create the best film imaginable. They all put 110% into all they do. I do think they were a little too interested in talking about fellow artists contributions,  that their own personal journey became a side note on the commentary. I really wanted to hear a little more from Jason Katz, the story supervisor of the film. But a good overall commentary and there was some of that detail and insight given just not as much as I thought they could have given. The main concentration of the commentary is on story and animation. But, there is also a fair amount of talk about how color schemes and set designs pushed the story forward. Pixar is extremely oriented to story, so everything rounded back to that with the commentators.

Overall a very well made Blu ray pack, full of extra features that give you great insight towards story development and the Pixar process. Even though some of their extra feature documentaries are short, they are PACKED with useful information. They get strait to the point in each oneof their documentaries and I like that.

Internet Toy Story 3 material:

The Sound of America: Lee Unkrich Interview: 7 out of 10: A good 30 minute interview talking about many of the themes of the Toy Story trilogy and how and why they appeal to us as an audience.

Creative Screenwriting Magazin Podcast: Michael Arndt Toy Story 3: 9.5 out of 10: Another Priceless interview of screenwriter Michael Arndt. This is Michael talking for an 1 hour and 15 minutes about how he got started as a screenwriter and what he thinks it takes to be a screenwriter. He talks about his philosophy on screenwriting and what he learned going to Pixar. He goes into detail about curtain elements of writing Toy Story 3 and how it is a tremendously collaborative process. He talks about the roots of Pixar philosophy for filmmaking. He explains some the contributions that people like Brad Bird, John Lasseter, and Andrew Stanton, brought to Toy Story 3. I loved all of it. I especially liked when Michael was talking about getting started and what he thinks screenwriting is all about.

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