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Toy Story 2

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Toy Story 2

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen
Director: John Lasseter
Rated: G
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: November 1999
Genres: Animation, Kids

*Also starring: Don Rickles, Joan Cusack, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, Jodi Benson, Kelsey Grammer

Review by AlexI
3½ stars out of 4

This is one of the most funny and entertaining comedies of the year and it just happens to be animated. There are some great voice over commentaries from Hollywood's most famous celebrities, some fabulous animation and a compelling story. This is the best we've seen from Disney since "Beauty and the Beast" (1996).

This film begins an unspecified time following the happily-ever-after conclusion to Toy Story. In the aftermath of their earlier adventures, Buzz (voice of Tim Allen) and Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) are now fast friends and all the toys live in perfect harmony, content with their "lives". One day, Andy broke Woody's arm off, while playing with him. Woody is now officially discarged and worthless, left with his nightmares, where he lies in a trash can with the other discards. Later Andy's mother decides to have a yard sale, and she collects a few old toys from her son's room. Since one of these discards is a member of the moving toy gang, Woody goes to the rescue, leaving the safety of the house for the uncertainty of the front lawn in order to bring the toy back. Although his mission is successful, he is placed in a serious predicament when a toy collector named Al (voice of Wayne Knight) spies Woody while hunting through the wares available at the sale. The cowboy toy represents the final collectible needed to complete his collection of merchandise from the old TV series, "Woody's Roundup." If he can acquire Woody, Al can ship everything to a toy museum in Japan for a huge profit. So, after Andy's mother refuses to sell the wooden cowboy, Al steals him, and it's up to the other toys, led by Buzz, to go into the city to save their friend. And so, Buzz, Rex (voice of Wallace Shawn), Hamm (voice of John Ratzenberger), Mr. Potatohead (voice of Don Rickles), and Slinky (voice of Jim Varney), go out on a dangerous journey to rescue their friend, they find themselves confronting things like busy streets and other Buzz Lightyear toys. There are car chases, gun fights and finally the confrontation between Buzz and his Nemesis (who, by the way, resembles Darth Vader). Meanwhile, Woody learns that he was once a TV celebrity and has a family - a cowgirl named Jessie (voice of Joan Cusack), a horse named Bullseye, and a father figure called the Prospector (voice of Kelsey Grammar). They offer him another life, as a celebrity -- a toy in a museum in Japan. He is now forced to choose between being loved intensively by Andy for a little while (before he grows up) and be forgotten, or be admired by children for generations. The problem is, if Woody escapes from Al's clutches and returns home, they will end up back in the lonely darkness of storage.

A real effort is made in the technical department. The animation is rich and colorful, with lots of wonderful details. The "cinematography" is also extremely improved since Toy Story; there are a lot of complicated swings, turns and close-ups that really make an impression. Lighting and filters are used to create a mood (as in a surprisingly emotional moment - Jessie's remembrance of her days when she was a beloved toy) The film contains a lot of in-side jokes (such as the one about videogames), and entertaining parodies on "Jurassic Park" and "Star Wars". The film ends with the "failed takes", the kind of scenes that we are used to see after comedy shows on TV. These outtakes are some of the funniest scenes in the film. But what in the end makes "Toy Story 2" a memorable experience is not the jokes, its multiple parodies or marvelous animation. It is its heart and emotions -- the story about the meaning of friendship, love and even life itself. It is not difficult to predict that "Toy Story 2" would be a huge economical success, but its artistic achievement was unexpected. Unexpected because the first film wasn't much more than a demonstration of special effects. But mostly it was unexpected because Disney hasn't produced anything spectacular in years and is constantly surpassed by companies such as DreamWorks and Warner Brs. But here the director has changed the atmosphere of the film, making it more accessible and interesting for persons older that 9 years. This is a big step-away from the ancient laws of Disney-animation. Off course, this is not "Antz" , it is not as intelligent; this is not a landmark and no masterpiece, but I promise that you'll find it as funny and enjoyable as I have. Whether this is the best animated film of the year, I dare not say. My choice would probably be "The Iron Giant", but (along side with "American Pie" ) this is the comedy of the year.

I almost lost my hopes for Disney, but "Toy Story 2" proves that Disney hasn't lost their ability to entertain.

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