Shrek may have seemed like the first animated film to poke fun at other stories and real-life experiences, but it was Toy Story 2 that first opened that comedic can of worms. Toy Story 2 also just so happened to be the first sequel to the industry’s first animated feature film, which put it in the odd position of needing to reflect advancements in animation technology while retaining the original film’s vibe. Yet with its release on Blu-ray Disc, Toy Story 2 finds itself in another odd position: introducing viewers to a D-BOX Motion Code track that’s existed for years.
D-BOX has seen a resurgence with the advent of Blu-ray Disc support and more than a half-dozen theatrical installations. But before movie theaters started equipping their seats with motion-controlled seating, and before home-theater owners started watching 1080p video on their HDTVs, D-BOX had been plugging along in the DVD market with a whole host of films that gave home viewers a rockin’ good time. Toy Story 2 was one such film.
Firing up Toy Story 2 on a D-BOX-equipped Blu-ray player is bound to make people giddy, because from the opening credits it’s obvious the film’s Motion Code track is set to stun. In fact, the opening sequence of Toy Story 2 is about as close to having Star Tours at home as you’ll get, unless Disney decides to release the Disneyland ride A/V for D-BOX-equipped home viewers. (Disney, if you’re listening, I would love to test Star Tours in the living room with the D-BOX setup.) As Buzz Lightyear blasts through Martian valleys, glides through the air and dodges the debris from hundreds of falling robots, the D-BOX chair moves, shakes and reproduces the impacts with grace and ease. It does feel a bit muddled at times, but in general the opening sequence is three minutes of Motion Code excellence.
As the movie progresses, though, the film’s DVD-age Motion Code becomes a bit more apparent. D-BOX has continually excelled in car and car-chase sequences, and the few that exist here are great. The Barbie tour guide scene in Al’s Toy Barn is a particularly fun ride. But many of the non-car effects are mistimed by a split second, and there are a half dozen instances in the film where the D-BOX chair appears to lose contact with the receiver. Unlike some of the early Blu-ray releases, though, the Motion Code is never overdone in Toy Story 2 even though the Code dates back to DVD, and the impact- and movement-related Motion is always subtle enough to justify the action without seeming forced or fake.
Plus, at the end of the day, it’s just great to see Toy Story 2 finally on Blu-ray Disc, and D-BOX code as part of the experience makes it all the better. D-BOX has saved plenty of films from complete and utter failure on Blu-ray, but Toy Story 2 is not one of them. Instead, D-BOX is the perfect complement to an entertaining flick, and the kids in the house will love the Pixar classic even more when they get to feel what it’s like to fly “to infinity and beyond.”
Buy Toy Story 2 on Blu-ray Disc from Amazon.com.
- Score: 8
– Jonas Allen