Wednesday, June 23, 2010

#2 - Toy Story 2 - 1999

Like I mentioned previously any sequels on my list I am going to attempt to watch in succession with the original therefore last night I watched Toy Story 2. This film was released in 1999, four years after the original. I remember I was living in North Carolina when this was released and I still remember going to the theater to see this one out there. Below is my full movie review on Toy Story 2.

Toy Story 2 starts off with Andy getting ready to take off to summer camp. As he grabs Woody and holds him together debating on whether to take him or Buzz as he pulls Woody away as his choice his right arm tears and the inside patting is visible and he ends up not taking any toys with him. After Andy is gone for summer camp his Mom comes into his room to grab up some items for a yard sale and Weezy the Penguin is chosen to be sold. This is where the story really starts to get going.

Woody and and the new family puppy team up to save Weezy and although Weezy was saved Woody was accidentally bumped off the puppy and left outside on the sidewalk during the yard sale. A short time later Al better known as Al "The Chicken" from Al's Toy Barn is overjoyed to see Woody on a table but is quickly told that he is not for sale. You could tell he was upset and it was evident Woody was valuable to this individual. After being locked in the lockbox by Andy's Mom Al breaks into the box and steals Woody all while the entire toy gang watched from Andy's room upstairs in shock. This sets the stage for Buzz Light Year to gather up the gang and head out to save Woody.

Buzz gets together his team and they set out on a mission to bring Woody back home. In preparing for this mission Mrs. Potato Head said to Mr.. Potato Head that she packed his angry eyes just in case, I thought that was absolutely hilarious!! One thing I found symbolic was the quote "lets roll" as the toys begin their mission. It eerily reminded me of Todd Beamer's same exact quote while on Flight 93 on 9/11 when they attacked the terrorists. To me personally, anytime I hear those words put together I will always think of Todd Beamer and that horrific day and it was so odd to see it there in Toy Story which obviously came out prior to that terrible day. Then again I guess it is a very common quote just made more courageous by Todd Beamer. Ok I went off subject there, lets get back on track now.

Pure chaos ensues as the gang of toys attempt to get to Al's Toy Barn. The two minute scene where all the toys hide under traffic cones to cross the street is awesome. I love how at the end of that scene none of the toys even notice the chaos they have caused. Once they gain entrance to the toy barn some of the best scenes of the entire movie take place. Rex's reaction to the Buzz Light Year Game Guide on how to be Zurg when entering the store is too funny. Then Buzz himself gets into it with another Buzz and a battle takes place but the best bits were when Mr.. Potato Head was driving around a car with Rex, Hamm, and Slinky. They pass a section where barbie dolls are having a pool party and dancing in their bikini's and Mr.. Potato head repeats to himself, "I'm a married Spud, I'm a married Spud", it was too funny. Then all of a sudden barbie jumps into the vehicle taking over the drivers seat and says, "remain seated please" then follows in spanish "permanecer sentados por favor" which is a classic reference to the announcement on the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland in California. Easily one of the funniest scenes of the movie!

As all this is taking place Woody quickly realized that he is a famous doll and had sidekicks, his own tv show, and all kinds of memorabilia about him. This is why he was stolen. With this 2nd film we are introduced to Jessie the Cowgirl (voiced by Joan Cusak), Stinky Pete the Prospector (Kelsey Grammar), and Bullseye (no voice narratives). This new gang is thrilled to see him as they fill Woody in that now with him back as part of the gang they can all be together forever on display at a museum which just happens to be in Japan. This is why Al was so adamant about stealing Woody because it meant mega bucks for him because he had the entire group together and was planning to sell it to a buyer in Japan. Woody had the ultimate dilemma on his hands. Try to get back home to Andy or stay with this new group of toys and be admired by children forever and ever. He was convinced by Jessie and the Prospector to stay with them but this all changed pretty quickly.

Woody's original friends sans the real Buzz who was packaged up by the fake toy Buzz went through elevator shafts and air conditioning units to get to Woody. They eventually break through and locate Woody and the "real" Buzz joins the group. Al comes back into the room to package up the dolls and Buzz and the gang must follow them to the airport to capture back Woody and company. After a brief scuffle with Stinky Pete the Prospector on the luggage lifts and daredevil of an escape by Woody and Jessie off an airplane the entire group is reunited and the movie ends with Woody, Buzz, and the entire group along with Jessie and Bullseye waiting for Andy as he comes home from summer camp.

My favorite overall scene in this movie was when the doll cleaner (reminded me of Dr. Jack Kevorkian - don't ask me why) came to clean Woody and re-stitch his arm. I know I mentioned the attention to detail as something I enjoy so much about this franchise but this topped them all. His little workman's briefcase with all the kick-knacks and accessories in the tiny little drawers were visual candy to me. I also really enjoyed the obvious Star Wars reference when the "fake" Buzz battled it out with Zurg, that was hilarious as well. The villain in this movie, Al, voiced by Wayne Knight (Seinfeld and most notably to me as Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park) was an excellent choice for this character. Heck they even made the actually animated version of him look like the real life one and that made it more realistic, for me at least.

Overall I felt this film was even better than the original. It was a bit longer (11 more minutes), the story was even better, and the characters they added were perfect. I also obviously enjoyed the funny quotes and references throughout and felt this movie was funnier than the original. It is a rarity in the motion picture industry for a sequel to outshine the original but I feel in this case it did just that. With that being said I give this a A!

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