Taking my Toy Story 3D Blu-rays out for a big sexy test drive

Tuesday November 15th 2011

Disney have done two very sensible things this week: they’ve released all three Toy Story films on 3D Blu-ray, and they’ve sent them all to me in a big beautiful jiffy bag. I was given a 3D TV earlier this year when I won the Sky Movies Blog of the Year award like a boss, but until now the only 3D film I’ve watched on it has been Saw VII, which — safe to say — isn’t much of a demo disc.

Each film comes with both a 3D and 2D Blu-ray, meaning I now have most of the Toy Story movies on VHS, DVD, Blu-ray (with free DVD and digital copies) and 3D Blu-ray (with free Blu-ray copy). My viewing options for the various adventures of Woody and Buzz are manifold to the point of absurdity.

I pop in the first film (there’s no way I’m going near the confused third entry for another year or two) and struggle to photograph the hazy 3D John Carter trailer that plays on insertion. Basically, just imagine the normal John Carter trailer. But in 3D.

The film soon starts up and I get as far as Woody’s first “reach for the sky” before the familiar rush of warmth spreads through my body. The first Toy Story film is so seared into my consciousness (I know every line) that I’m now entirely blind to its flaws if, indeed, it has any. But despite a number of viewings that must be well into three figures by now, I always manage to take something from the film that I’ve never quite ‘got’ before. In this case, I realise just how phenomenal Tom Hanks’s performance is — easily as nuanced and committed as his best live action work — and that the Woody we see in the first Toy Story film might just be the most human animated character of all time.

I also realise that 3D Blu-rays give me a headache.

I’m reluctant to write off the technology as a whole because it’s such a sensitive setup that I imagine it varies widely from TV to TV. There’s every chance I was sitting too close. Or too far away. Or six degrees away from the optimal viewing angle. But from where I was sitting, it’s a bit of a mess. It flickers in darker moments, goes blurry in motion, and doesn’t really work at all when stuff is supposed to be far away. Every now and then you’ll get a shot that looks 100% perfect and you think, FUCK, what a great time to be alive, but otherwise it’s a bit of a nonstarter.

Still, a blurry 3D version of Toy Story is better a pristine version of most other films.