Toy Story 2 (1999)

Just so you know, this is another re-posted review, back from my snarkier days.

Right off the bat, let me say that Toy Story 2 ended up being far better than it had any right to be. Originally envisioned by Disney as a straight-to-video sequel, the folks at Pixar decided they didn’t want to sully their good name by lending it to an inferior product. So they expanded on the original sequel idea, pumped up the running time with even more awesomeness and ended up with one of the most underrated movies of all time. I say this despite it’s 100% rating at RottenTomatoes, and its score of 87 at Metacritic. How is that such a critically lauded film can seemingly be so easily forgettable? Perhaps it was just a case of people enjoying themselves but not being able to put it on the same level that they felt after watching the first Toy Story. Whatever it is, people need to get over it because Toy Story 2 is nothing short of excellent and it should be hailed as nothing but.

The entire voice cast of the first Toy Story return to their respective characters, giving them a little more depth and showing off a bit of the knowledge they gained in the past few… well I was going to say years, but it appears hardly anytime has passed at all. Andy (John Morris) is still a kid, his sister Molly is still a baby, and his mom (Laurie Metcalf) is still single, which is odd enough for a Disney film. Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) are getting along famously and the rest of the toys are loving their pseudo-lives. Unfortunately disaster strikes as Woody’s arm suffers a tear just before he was about to go off to Cowboy Camp with Andy, resulting in Andy’s mom retiring Woody to the dusty shelf where broken toys die. All of this leads to Woody being stolen by Al the Toy Collector (Wayne Knight) at a yard sale, and eventually results in the introduction of Woody’s old gang of similarly-themed toys. The story is really deep and amazing actually, I’m not doing it any justice at all here.

If you loved Toy Story, the sequel is just as good – if not better – and takes you on a much greater emotional rollercoaster than the first managed to do. The best example I can think of for this is Jessie’s (Joan Cusack) song, a little musical interlude that for my money is one of the best uses of a song in a movie ever. The fact that it’s a Sarah McLachlan song and l’m still touched by it shows you exactly how powerful that piece of cinema is to me. The song perfectly captures Jessie’s feelings, and just how crazy she may go if things don’t turn out for the best. And it’s not just the song, but the gorgeous Pixar animation and scene-setting, it gets me a little glassy-eyed everytime.

Everything about Toy Story 2 is excellent and awesome. From the Buzz / Zurg storyline to the absolute chaos the toys cause on their way to rescue Woody to the awesome Wheezy the Penguin (Joe Ranft), everything solidly rocks hard. It’s not one of the general cash-in on the name value of the original sequels. The characters grow and mature in ways that usually aren’t ever seen in animated kid flicks. The jokes are funny without insulting anyone’s intelligence, the animation is jaw-droppingly gorgeous and the running time is nowhere near the bloated levels most sequels shoot for. At Pixar, they almost always value quality over quantity, and Toy Story 2 is simply one of the best movie sequels of all time because of that ideal.

5 / 5

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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