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Toy Story 2 (1999)

Review by Justin Felix

Story by John Lasseter, Peter Docter, Ash Brannon, and Andrew Stanton.

Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Rita Hsiao, Doug Chamberlain, and Chris Webb.

Directed by Colin Brady, Ash Brannon, John Lasseter, and Lee Unkrich.
Featuring the voice talents of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, and Kelsey Grammer.

Rated G (suitable for all audiences; a few surprising sexual jokes will fly over young children).

Synopsis: Space toy Buzz Lightyear leads "the boys" -- Mr. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, Rex, and Hamm -- into the big city to save fellow toy Woody from a rare toy dealer. During their adventure, Buzz Lightyear inadvertantly frees another Buzz Lightyear toy and his archnemesis Emperor Zurg, while the rest of the boys face temptation from Barbie dolls.

Comments: I'm not sure what impressed me more when I saw Toy Story 2 on Thanksgiving Day. I saw it at the new "Cobblestone Square 20", a 20 screen multiplex with "stadium seating". It was not the first time I had seen a film in a setting like this, but it was still a very nice experience. Toy Story 2, easily the best animated feature for all audiences in recent memory, made for very entertaining holiday fare for young and old, but the movie was almost overshadowed by a lengthy trailer for another computer-animated flick called Dinosaurs slated for a May 2000 release. The trailer featured stunning images of dinosaurs roaming a prehistoric landscape, and judging the packed theater's reactions to it, this film is going to have a lot of pre-release interest.

The movie at hand, however, is Toy Story 2, and it is very, very good. This is a sequel to the 1995 hit Toy Story, and, unlike many sequels, this is an equal to (and in terms of animation, the superior of) the original. Releasing this gem during the holiday season was a very good idea. The entire family can enjoy this film. The children at the theater seemed to get a kick out of watching toys come to life when no human is looking at them, and they laughed at their visual gags and slapstick antics. Adults seemed to appreciate the humor that was addressed to them. This included quips about car manuals and traffic cones, and a blatant sexual arousal joke at the end of the film. Science fiction fans, like myself, absolutely loved the opening sequence. In it, Rex plays a Buzz Lightyear video game, and the game parodies several old SF movies, including Star Trek 2 and 2001.

The animation, produced by Pixar Animation Studios and Disney, is absolutely top-notch. It is very rich and catches the audience's eyes from start to finish. A huge pool of comic talent provide the voices of the toys. These include multiple Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, Home Improvement's Tim Allen, Cheers' John Ratzenberger, Frasier's Kelsey Grammer, Seinfeld's Estelle Harris, and Don Rickles. The cast is solid and entertaining.

Some films, like comedies, transfer to the small screen without any significant loss. A movie like Toy Story 2, however, should be seen on the big screen. One gets a better sense of the superior animation of a film like this only if he sees it at a theater. Definately check this one out!


(Out of five)

All of Justin's film reviews are archived at The Internet Movie Database

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