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Toy Story 2

Toy Story 2

What She said:

She

Sometimes when I hear a movie sequel is being made I simply sigh and roll my eyes; they’re rarely any good.  When Toy Story 2 came out, I was enthused but also a little concerned.  I didn’t want the movie-makers to create anything so bad that it would tarnish the original.  Fortunately, as I felt back in 1999, and continue to believe today, Toy Story 2 is a well-done, worthy sequel that remains true to the original.

Woody, Buzz, Potato Head, Hamm, Rex, and all our friends are back and Woody is beginning to feel the heat as Andy goes off to cowboy camp without him.  He worries that his days as a useful toy may be coming to a close, and that he soon might be forgotten as he begins to physically age and fall apart.  His concerns are amplified when he encounters Wheezy, a forgotten toy.  When Wheezy is put out for a yard sale, Woody goes to save him, but he finds himself stolen by Al from Al’s Toy Barn.  Woody is introduced to a new world, one where he is a rare collectable, not to be played with, but to be treasured in a museum.  Turns out he was a big children’s icon in the 1950s.  He meets members of his TV entourage, including the emotionally scarred Jessie and Stinky Pete.  Woody must decide whether he’s still needed in Andy’s life, or if he should move on with his new friends.  In the meantime, Buzz and crew are on a mission to save Woody and bring him back home.

Toy Story 2 is as fresh and enjoyable as the original flick.  The characters have their same flair and unique personalities.  The humor is also very well done—the right kind of laughs for kids, but also a little something in there for parents.  The plot of this movie is a bit more complex than the first film, but not so much so that a child couldn’t understand it.  I think it really allows the film to be fleshed out in a way makes it very well-rounded.  I was a bit concerned by the idea of separating Buzz and Woody for so much of the movie, but the secondary characters are solid enough to allow things to still work well.  It’s very funny to watch Potato Head, Hamm, and Rex have to interact with Buzz, and of course, there’s a Buzz identity crisis, which seems to pop up in every film. 

This isn’t just a worthy sequel, it’s a great sequel, and it also stands the test of time.  It’s a wonderful way to spend time with family, regardless of age.

Thumbs up.

What he said:

He

Toy Story put Pixar on the map and took audiences everywhere by storm. So it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise when a sequel was announced, however I’m sometimes skeptical of sequels to successful movies. As much as you are excited about the possibility of seeing more from characters you know and love, there’s always a concern that it’s being made for the wrong reasons. Sometimes studios phone it in when it comes to sequels. They know the brand name will make them money, so they will cut corners and put out an inferior product. Thankfully, that has never been an issue with the Toy Story franchise.

Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) and the rest of the gang are all back for more adventures from Andy's room (though they're not actually in his room that much, but that's beside the point).  There are also a few new characters along for the ride. Mr. Potato Head now has his Mrs. (Estelle Harris of Seinfeld fame) and Woody ends up meeting a few new toys along the way, which plays a big part in the storyline.

When Woody ends up in the hands of a toy collector (voiced by Wayne Knight also of Seinfeld), he meets fellow old west themed toys:  Jessie the yodeling cowgirl (Joan Cusack), Stinky Pete the prospector (Kelsey Grammer), and Bullseye the horse. He also finds out that he's the last piece in a collection that has been built for years. It turns out Woody is a very old toy from a TV show that has been off the air for quite some time. He along with these other characters were members of the old TV show Woody's Roundup and Al (the collector) has plans to sell them all to a museum.

While feeling appreciated for his sudden celebrity status, Woody wants to simply go home. He misses his friends and Andy. Stinky Pete tells him Andy will not be a child forever and he will eventually be forgotten. Jessie reiterates the point by sharing her own sad story (which is ridiculously heartbreaking considering toys don’t have feelings). That’s one of the great strengths of the Toy Story movies. They have this way of making you feel sympathy for a bunch of toys as if they are living beings with feelings. The humor is fantastic, but this is the strength of the series in this movie reviewer’s opinion.

Meanwhile, Buzz, Ham, Rex, and Slinky Dog all set out on a mission to rescue Woody. First they end up at Al’s Toy Barn; the business of the very same Al who is planning on selling Woody to a museum. There they encounter several more toys; the most memorable being another Buzz Lightyear. Remember all the jokes in the first movie about Buzz not realizing he was a toy? Well imagine that aspect being repeated, but with new depth added to it. The Buzz we know and love is embarrassed by his counterpart’s behavior. He simply cannot get over the fact that he used to act the same way. It makes for some really funny stuff.

They eventually find Woody, but by the time they do Woody is torn over whether he should return to Andy or become “immortal” and be idolized by people forever in a museum.  As much as he loves Andy, Stinky Pete – and particularly Jessie – have convinced him it would be better this way.

If you pay attention, there is a lot about this movie that is the same to the first one, but it’s presented with enough new elements to make you forget about it. The addition of Mrs. Potato Head alone is hilarious. They couldn’t have picked a better person to voice than character than George Costanza’s mother. The idea of bringing in a 2nd Buzz was genius. On its surface it seems like a recycled joke, but the dynamic between the two Buzz’s was hilarious.  There’s also the addition of some new characters; all of whom worked very well. Stinky Pete was a very well thought out villain. He is something of a tragic character. Jessie was extremely popular too. I was actually just reading how big a seller her toy was in ’99. Personally, I thought Bullseye was wonderful. I’m a sucker for a good sidekick character. Clumsy, puppy dog eyes, loyalty, the character had every that one in that role should and he didn’t even talk! I love when they are able to pull that kind of stuff off. Very creative.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on June 4, 2012.