Toy Story 2

Tom Hanks .... Woody (voice)
Tim Allen .... Buzz Lightyear (voice)
Joan Cusack .... Jessie (voice)
Kelsey Grammer .... Stinky Pete the Prospector (voice)
Don Rickles .... Mr. Potato Head (voice)
Jim Varney .... Slinky Dog (voice)
Wallace Shawn .... Rex (voice)
John Ratzenberger .... Hamm (voice)
Annie Potts .... Bo Peep (voice)
Wayne Knight .... Al McWhiggin (voice)
Estelle Harris .... Mrs. Potato Head (voice)


         Buzz and Woody have returned in a 2nd installment of Toy Story. Things have really changed since the original Toy Story was released and made $191 million in the box office plus another $100 million on video. In 1994, it was so jaw dropping. I was amazed by the animation in that movie. Now  in '99, I have been completely shocked by the sequel.


        In Toy Story 2, a collector steals Woody from Andy’s house. He is soon to become the prime exhibit of a whole toy set. A while ago, he had his own TV show called “Woody’s Roundup”  where he was joined by his faithful friends Jessie and The Prospector. Woody has become a collector’s item. Buzz and Co. go on a quest to find Woody. Finding Woody, that is the first problem. The other part of the story involves Woody and the other toys in his TV show's collection. These toys would be nothing without him; the museum that is ordering the collection does not want it without Woody. Woody wants to go home, which would screw these other toys over.  That's the second conflict.


        The plot of Toy Story 2 was very predictable. The search party plot was better than the Woody plot. I did want to use some reasoning and mention thing I noticed that was missing in the story. Who would be the leader at the house with Woody and Buzz gone? Why not have a small subplot involving the house and the remaining toys; maybe involving the mom cleaning the house while Andy was gone? Where was the Muscleman? I love the muscleman. And why introduce Mrs. Potato head and only give her just a few lines? I also think that the plot involving Woody, Jessie (Joan Cusack) , and Stinky Pete The Prospector (Kelsey Grammer) should have been cut a little bit shorter. It just dragged and got boring. I enjoyed seeing “Woody's Roundup” and his toy heritage but his repetitive bickering with Jessie just got dull.


        I'm not going to discuss the acting in the film since their was none instead I'll discuss the animation. You can't review just voices. First and foremost, Pixar, the animation studio that created and made Toy Story and A Bug's Life, has come a long way in its human animation. Woody's captor, Al McWhiggin  (voiced by Wayne "Newman" Knight) is the prime example. He looks almost too real. It's so cool looking. His movements look so real. It's a wonderful sight. The animation of the toys was great as well. That was not surprising. Another thing I enjoyed was the increased number of settings that the movie takes place in and the environments were more active. You are asking what that means. It means that they became not just backgrounds but integral to the story. I especially loved when the toys entered a toy store looking for Woody and Buzz meets a new and improved Buzz with a brand new utility belt. This Buzz is right out of the box AKA right off the bus. He has no idea what's going on. This new Buzz acted like Buzz did in the beginning of the first Toy Story and Buzz acted like Woody, trying to explain the real world to the right out of the box Buzz. The other plot point/animation tidbit, which was interesting was the rip in Woody's arm. I just thought that was rather brilliant. It's very symbolic. He is becoming older, being abandoned and things always change. It was just ingenious.


        Although originally meant for video release, Toy Story 2 deserves to be released in theatres. It is a kid's film that is enjoyable for the adults as well as the children.  There are many pop culture references meant for the adults that the writers know are there.  Plotwise it was weak, animation wise it is one of the best film's, to this point, ever. After a huge $80 million dollar opening, it's a give in that there will be a third installment in a few years. I will welcome it with open arms but hopefully they can do a little bit more with the plot.


Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 4 / 6 out of 10 / B- /  59/100
Reviewed by: Joe Soria
Running time: 92 Minutes
Rated G (Wholesome clean fun)

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