Director: John Lasseter
Writer: Andrew Stanton, Rita Hsiao, Doug Chamberlain, Chris Webb, Doug Chamberlin
Time: 92 min.
You know what’s weird with movies? They can be so many things to so many people at the same time, you know, sometimes you don’t even know anymore. Let me clear this out. “Toy Story 2” is a wonderful movie that made me go through lots of shades of emotions, but at the same time I couldn’t quite get into it as much as I wanted to. Maybe that’s the over-hype syndrome. Subconsciously, when everyone’s saying nothing but nice things about a movie, my radar is up for any flaws. Lord knows that ain’t the right attitude to have to watch a movie. My bad. “Toy Story 2” doesn’t do anything particularly wrong; in fact, it does a lot of good, and it sometimes got right to me. But I didn’t fall for it like I fell for, say, “The Iron Giant”.
In 1995, John Lasseter and the dudes at Pixar dazzled the world with Toy Story, which wasn’t the richest movie ever storywise, but technically, you can’t deny the sheer achievement of it. Well, the sequel is even more impressive. Lasseter and cie take computer animation to a whole new level. It’s all so smooth, and so realistic! It must take forever to craft a movie like this. The reserve I sometimes have with films like that, though, is that time has proven that there will always be a more impressive flick down the pipe. I think the Pixar heads are aware of that, so they put a lot of stuff for everyone to enjoy in their movie. You won’t necessarily love it all, but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a bunch of moments that make you laugh out loud and others that made you go ‘aaah!’
Tom Hanks is back again as Woody, the toy cowboy. I really love Hanks more and more. I like actors who reinvent themselves. Between Forrest Gump, Paul Edgecomb and Woody, there’s a whole world. The common thing with them is that they all have Hanks’ contagious charisma. I can’t believe a man can be as decent as this guy. Good for him. The sequel has him caught in a dilemna. On one hand, there’s statu quo, staying with his buddies in little Andy’s room, but knowing that someday his owner will outgrow him and leave him to dust. On the other hand, he can take the risk of leaving those he loves for a new family that might be more fulfilling. That whole questionning comes up when a geeky loser (voiced by Wayne “Newman” Knight) snatches the doll from Andy’s mom (voiced by Laurie Metcalf). Turns out Woody is a rare, collectable, near-mint piece of merchandising from a 50s puppet show, as he learns when the big fat geek stores him in a room where he meets other action figures inspired by the show. There’s Kelsey Grammer, very Sideshow Bobesque as Stinky the Prospector (!), and Joan Cusack who, for my money, totally steals the show with her oh so enthusiastic, oh so lovable performance!
Meanwhile, Woody’s former competitor-turned-buddy Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen and his very expressive and grandiloquent voice) gathers up the old gang to rescue him. There’s Mr Potato Head, who inherits from some of Don Rickles’ irreverence, and his Mrs, voiced by the hilariously nagging chick who played Estelle Costanza on Seinfeld, Slinky Dog, voiced by Ernest himself, Jim Varney, the big goofy dinosaur and maybe a few others I don’t recall at the moment. Add to that Buzz’ evil but sorta cool nemesis Zurg, and you got a satisfying adventure-packed extravaganza.