Toy Story 2 (1999)

Toy Story 2 (1999) — The Godfather Part II, The Silence of the Lambs, Terminator 2: Judgment Day: all part of that rare fraternity of sequels that surpass the quality of the original (though some would exclude Lambs due to technicalities).  Toy Story 2 is another.  Toy Story is a masterpiece, and to one-up it would be a Herculean effort.  But not one ever said Pixar wasn’t ambitious.  With all the expository elements of the first movie out of the way, Toy Story 2 is free to go even farther.  When I heard there was going to be a Toy Story 2 I was already a jaded teenager and was fairly certain that the first Toy Story said all that needed to be said.  Bear in mind that 1999 was a different time.  There were only two Pixar movies and while a very good film, A Bug’s Life was definitely not on the same level as Toy Story.  I didn’t have the subsequent decade of Pixar excellence to inform my thinking and thus I remained skeptical about a sequel.  But of course I was going to see it anyway and it blew me away.  The humor and the heart were there in even greater quantity than before.  Plus (as became evident when viewing the two films in a double feature last night) the animation had definitely improved.  I think pretty much everyone has seen this movie so there’s no point in really summarizing, and if anyone hasn’t seen it then they should discover it for themselves.  The 3D is great on the rerelease, but I talked all about that in my recent review of the first movie and don’t feel like repeating myself any more than I usually do.  One thing I really love is how the iconography of (in Woody’s case) western movies and (in Buzz’s case) science fiction movies are projected on to the miniature and unmistakably contemporary setting of the film.  There is a modern spin on the old “cowboy chasing a train” scene that I am just in awe of.  Even though I was a jaded teenager when I first saw this movie, it makes me feel like a kid anyway.  There’s a Toy Story 3 coming out next year.  Part of my brain tells me to be skeptical.  After all after two great movies, the Shrek series fell apart in the third installment.  But Shrek wasn’t Pixar, was it?  I’m eagerly anticipating the next chapter in this excellent story.

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