Woody, Buzz and the gang are back in the first sequel offered by Pixar and it’s a better movie than the first. “Toy Story 2” gives us a backstory for Woody, introduces us to some fun new characters and gives Buzz Lightyear the chance to show Woody the meaning of friendship.
While I will always maintain “Toy Story” will always be the most important Pixar movie, “Toy Story 2” builds on the world and gives us more to look back on and enjoy. We see how Woody would risk everything to save a friend from being sold at yard sale and then get stolen from the home himself. Then, Buzz leads the rest of the friends to save Woody before he’s sold to a museum in Japan.
I remember seeing this movie and thinking how much more it was able to do with the characters. The first “Toy Story” had to establish the world which hampers what the filmmakers could do creatively. In this film, the world is already established, so the filmmakers are able to make a more well-rounded movie that grows the world rather than building it from the ground up.
In the first “Toy Story” film, Sid is an okay villain, but the stakes are low overall. But, in “Toy Story 2,” Al McWhiggin’s willingness to steal Woody and Stinky Pete’s battle to keep the set together to send Woody to Japan raises those stakes. In the first film, while Woody and Buzz go to Pizza Planet, the rest of the toys stay behind. This time, the toys head out to the toy store to help save their friend making the rescue a more inclusive endeavor and bringing the entire gang together.
“Toy Story 2” helps build on the issues presented in the first film with the introduction of the evil Emperor Zurg and a Buzz Lightyear fresh out of the box that truly believes he’s a space ranger just like Buzz did in the first film. This adds an intriguing element to the film while bringing back the parts of Buzz that were downright hilarious from his first interactions with Woody.
Part of the reason for the success of the “Toy Story” franchise is the amazing cast. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Wallace Shawn, Don Rickles, John Ratzenberger and Jim Varney are all back bringing each of their toy characters to life. But, this film’s new additions do a lot to improve the story. Joan Cusack perfectly encapsulates the role of Jessie. She’s the right amount of excited and naive to sell the character. And, Kelsey Grammar truly shines as the prospector, Stinky Pete. Grammar is able to give off the gravitas of a wise and friendly old toy while and then turn a switch to come in as the villain of the story. All in all, this was a perfectly cast sequel and a big reason I enjoy it more than the original.
Ranking: 5 stars out of 5
What did you think of “Toy Story 2?”