Movie Review: Toy Story 2 (1999)

Title: Toy Story 2
Release Date: November 24, 1999
Director: John Lasseter
Production Company: Pixar Animation Studios

I love all the Toy Story movies but one of them has to be the weakest of the bunch, and this is it. It occurred to me that the big difference for Toy Story 2 is that it’s the one movie that doesn’t show the connection between children and the toys as Andy only appears at the beginning and end. Instead the main human character is Al, a toy store owner who dresses as a chicken in ads and is also a nerdy rare toy collector. As a villain he is rather, well, cartoonish.

Al steals Woody from outside Andy’s house and in a reversal of the first film, it’s up to Buzz to conduct a rescue. The movie parodies adventure and sci-fi tropes, and it’s clever and funny, but not particularly unique in the 1990s when ironic pop culture references were the rule.

I do really like the introduction of the new toys Jessie, Bullseye, and Stinky Pete. And the revelation that Woody was the star of a 1950s Western marionette tv show for kids – complete with a full line of merchandise – is well done. The show being cancelled because of the rise of space toys is also a nice tie-in with the Woody-Buzz rivalry. I freely admit that there are a lot of scenes in Toy Story movies that bring out “big emotions” from me. But nothing makes me bawl like the flashback sequence scored with Sarah McLachlan singing “When She Loved Me.”

Overall,Toy Story 2 is a good, fun movie but for me it’s the bridge between the two GREAT Toy Story movies.

Rating: ***