A rare cinematic sequel, Pixar's Toy Story 4 is a brilliantly insightful final installment, a worthy successor and richly satisfying conclusion to the franchise. The film finds purpose on Blu-ray with a stunning, reference-quality HD presentation, a great DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack and a nice set of supplements. This BD comes Highly Recommended for the whole family.
You can read our full thoughts on Toy Story 4 in our review of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray HERE.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment brings Toy Story 4 to Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with a flyer for a Disney Digital Copy. The Region Free, BD50 disc sits comfortably atop another BD25 disc containing all the bonus material with a DVD-9 copy of the movie on the opposing panel. Both are housed inside a blue, eco-vortex case with an embossed, glossy slipcover. At startup, the disc commences with skippable trailers before switching to a menu screen with the standard options, music playing in the background and full-motion clips.
The toys reevaluate their purpose and meaning on Blu-ray with a stunningly gorgeously 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode, easily making it the most beautiful and best-looking installment of the entire franchise.
Over the last twenty-five years since the first movie hit cinemas, Pixar has always strived to improve the technology in the camerawork and for rendering the animation, and this fourth entry really demonstrates how far the studio has come. Randomly pause on any given scene and admire the incredibly well-defined stitching in the fabric, the tiny fuzzballs and hairs on the shoulders of some toys, and the razor-sharp lines inside the RV, the interior of the dusty antique shop or small scratches of the various, somewhat aged carnival rides. The most minute feature on Duke Caboom, the Dummies and Bo Beep is striking and highly detailed, and the trivial blemishes on Gabby Gabby and Forky are distinct and unmistakable.
The freshly-minted transfer also displays crisp, spot-on contrast and exceptional brightness balance from beginning to end. The action continuously pops with pitch-perfect, resplendent whites that make daylight exteriors burst with life and energy from the lustrous sunshine, but inside the antique shop, the rays feel harsher and oddly oppressive without ever washing away the smaller details. Likewise, the highlights of the carnival have an intense, radiant snap to them, which makes those nighttime scenes all the more attractive and mesmerizing. At the same time, those same moments are also bathed in darkly rich blacks and silky, raven-black shadows while maintaining outstanding gradational differences and detailing in the darkest corners, providing the 2.39:1 image with a striking three-dimensional feel.
All the while, every scene is endlessly permeated in a gorgeous, hypnotic array of colors. Sumptuous primaries lavish every location and situation with an ecstatic, electrifying palette, especially the reds of lights and the greens of the surrounding foliage. Likewise, lively, animated secondary hues shower the carnival with vibrant pinks, purples and sunny yellows while the antique shop is bathed in earthy-amber tones, except for the scene when the sun's ray's glow through the chandeliers, of course. The last quarter of the movie running through the carnival comes with warm layers of oranges and yellows, easily making this HD release pure reference quality and one of Pixar's most impressive yet. (Video Rating: 100/100)
As arguably the best movie in the series, Toy Story 4 also finds a home and a place of belonging thanks to an excellent if also somewhat slightly baffling DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack. Don't get me wrong. This is a good track with plenty of background effects that smoothly and convincingly moves back and forth between the front channels and into the off-screen space, generating a spacious and highly welcoming soundstage. Vocals are intelligible with outstanding intonation in the voice talents and the more dramatic moments while a palpable low-end provides a hearty weight and presence to the action and music.
The concern is the lack of surround activity, making this a very front-heavy presentation, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. However, the sides and rears are employed not only very selectively but also rather sporadically, sometimes calling more attention to themselves than creating a gratifyingly immersive soundfield. But on the plus side, a few scenes are satisfying and enjoyable with Duke's pinball-machine nightclub and the carnival sequence at the end bringing the room alive.
When pointing out other issues of concern, we turn back to the front activity. As wide and broad as the soundstage can be, the mid-range seems rather lackluster. It's not all that terrible, as there is plenty of clarity and distinction worth admiring here and there, but in order to better appreciate it, the master volume needs to be raised to -5 from reference. More disappointing is the imaging feeling arguably flat and uniform while never really extending into the higher frequencies, making the louder action sequences ultimately feel restrained.
In the end, the lossless mix still delivers a great listen that nicely complements the visuals. (Audio Rating: 84/100)
Blu-ray Disc One
Blu-ray Disc Two
Pixar's Toy Story 4 is not only one of those rare cinematic sequels that's just as good if not better than its predecessors, but it is also a brilliantly insightful and intelligent conclusion to the entire franchise. With a host of new, memorably hilarious characters, this third installment is worthy successor sure to satisfy loyal fans. The film finds a new home on Blu-ray with a gorgeous, reference-quality video presentation and great DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack. Featuring a nice set of supplements, the Blu-ray is highly recommended.