Toy Story 2 (1999)
Just when we thought Toy Story was the best thing there was – Toy Story 2 comes out. Pixar’s third effort is out to prove that these flicks are way more than just kids’ movies because seriously this movie has got more emotional baggage than Terms of Endearment. Okay, not really, but you get the picture. Toy Story 2 opens with awesome exchange between Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and his nemesis Emperor Zurg (Andrew Stanton) complete with Star Wars references. After Buzz gets his top blown off, we’re initially scared out of our pants. Luckily, he’s actually in his very own video game – and other than Rex’s (Wallace Shawn) short arms things are well in the world of Andy’s bedroom. Our favorite Woody (Tom Hanks) is off to Cowboy Camp, Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) is lovin’ married life, and Buzz is still Mr. Popular. That is, until Woody gets his arm torn and then he gets sold in a yard sale to a crazy chicken man only to find out he’s worth bank and then be sold to a museum in Tokyo… Okay I just got way ahead of myself on that one.
Anyway. Throughout this whole climax, we find out that Woody isn’t just Andy’s favorite toy. He’s a rare Sheriff Woody doll, with a round-up gang and his face on a yo-yo to boot. Woody doesn’t know what to think of his gang at first, but soon bonds with Jessie the cowgirl (Joan Cusack), The Prospector aka Stinky Pete (Kelsey Grammer) and Bulls Eye (a real, live horse I’m sure). Meanwhile, his friends from Andy’s room (Buzz, Rex, Slink, Tater head, and Hamm) are doing everything in their power to rescue him – even crossing the street without adult supervision. In the end, it’ll come down to whatever Woody decides is more important, being loved by a child or being preserved in top-notch condition forever and ever while being pampered with cocktails and other special treatment along the way.
Toy Story 2 is driven by emotion. One of the most moving and sad moments occurs when Jessie tells her tale of being forgotten by her owner, Emily. Man is that heavy stuff. First, Woody’s havin’ creepy nightmares about his being left behind by Andy, then Jessie REALLY gets left behind by Emily, then Buzz gets rejected by Woody … it really makes you think doesn’t it? The boundary between toys and humans thins considerably as we find our eyes watering at the realization that we, too, could be forgotten one day. Morbid.
But this movie is far from depressing – it’s hilarious! Witty one-liners and Buzz Lightyear imposters and married spuds and tour guide Barbies. Oh, and more Star Wars homages. That’s when you KNOW a movie is good. Just kidding. But not really.
On a last note, the animation is incredible. Those cheeto puffs look as edible as any I’ve ever eaten – I am absolutely amazed at the detail. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ve prob been living under a rock in Ghana, but see it. You won’t regret it. 10/10