"Toy Story 2" Review
© 2000 Fontaine L.
- spoilers -

I remember three years ago, after seeing "Toy Story," I came out of the theater mystified, a believer. The film had managed to disarm my natural defense against "animated movies" and capture my heart and imagination. Those of you who know me know I often cite Owen Gleiberman's comment on "Toy Story" when describing a wonderful film: "[It was] the art of dreaming when you're wild awake," or something like that. When I heard that a sequel was being planned, I was doubtful. After all, how many good Hollywood sequels can you name? "Speed II," "The Lost World," "Lethal Weapon IV" certainly do not make the list.

I am overjoyed to report after three years, a high school diploma, and numerous changes in life, I enjoyed "Toy Story 2" tremendously, if not more than the first one, and I trust that adults everywhere will enjoy it too. An old recipe never fails; this time a good result has come out of recycling old formats. "Toy Story 2" features the same characters, the same hilarity, the same bright picturesque scenery, even a similar story. Tim Allen and Tom Hanks again bring their considerable voice talents to the characters; Joan Cusack and Wayne Knight (why am I not surprised :) also join the superb voice cast. This time it is Buzz Lightyear who rushes to the rescue of Woody, the toys are in more danger and they face bigger obstacles, such as a flyaway airplane instead of a runaway moving truck. But basically, the idea remained the same. Toys should look out for toys, and there is nothing more precious than the bond toys share with their owners. Most of my favorite characters, including the T-rex, Mr. Potato Head, Slinky, and the cute little aliens, returned; ingenious new creations also surfaced, such as Andy's pet puppy (which we only heard bark in the original). The film is eye candy itself, needless to say, and it's like putting on 3-D lenses and looking at the world. Everything takes on another dimension, bright dazzling colors and textures, and an ethereal quality.

I will not bore you with inane details, because anyone who has seen "Toy Story" will understand how glad I am that the folks at Pixar stuck to what they excelled at instead of trying to introduce new gimmicks. Yes, I could have done without the Star Wars references or the stock character of Stinky Pete, but in general the film delighted and entertained. There is nothing more joyous than being transported to another realm of complete make-believe, non-stop action adventure, laughs, and artistic wizardry. Children love storytelling time, and apparently so do grown-ups like me. "Toy Story 3" or "The New Adventures of Buzz and Woody"? I sure hope so.

Rating: A- (First viewing, 11/25/99)