Directed by John Lasseter
I figured that since I don’t remember a single moment from this film, I should probably go back and watch it over again. In almost every story or critique I have ever read on the “Toy Story” films, it is nearly a unanimous decision that this film is the best of the series. After watching the film again, I’ve found it to be certainly very endearing and creative, but also probably the weakest.
From what I can remember of the first film (and considering that I just watched both 2 and 3, I figure my re-watching of the original is only days away) the creators of “Toy Story 2” basically took the story of the first film and flipped it on its head. So instead of Woody rescuing Buzz, Buzz comes to the rescue of Woody. And instead of learning about the lineage of Buzz Lightyear, we learn about where Woody comes from. It’s a basic enough idea, but the fact that it’s such a rehash of the first film somewhat diminishes this sequel in my eyes. The creators certainly do their all with the premise, creating a number of funny and touching moments, but I can’t help but think that they could have done so much more with a completely new and original premise. (Something that “Toy Story 3” ended up doing a better job with.) This film also introduced Jessie who is probably my least favourite of all the toys. I’m sorry I just can’t stand listening to Joan Cusack’s voice for an hour and a half. She does an admirable job as a cowgirl, (interesting note, my spell check wants me to change the word “cowgirl” to “showgirl”… my computer is sexist) but my ears can only take so much shrieking. However, it also introduced Bullseye so that sorta makes it a wash. Prospector Pete is frustratingly similar to Lotso in “Toy Story 3” (which makes me appreciate the writing in 3 a little bit less) but he’s not nearly as intriguing of a character as that huggable bear is. The best scene probably comes from the toys adventure to try and cross a rather busy intersection. It’s a very broad scene comically speaking, but it’s also fantastically directed.
In the end, “Toy Story 2” is a very well made and entertaining animated film. It’s fun to watch and I can’t imagine it disappointing anybody, let alone children. But as it stands, it’s still the weakest of an (admittedly) fantastic franchise if only because it’s no where near as emotionally satisfying at the other two.