Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Movie Review - Toy Story 2

Toy Story was a wonderful cartoon, PIXAR’s first feature-length movie, and the first entirely computer-animated full-length to hit the big screen. In my opinion, the sequel builds on the strengths of the original and is a lot funnier to boot. (As with all these things, opinion is very divided between those who prefer the original or the sequel!)

Toy Story was, of course, about toys. Guess what? So is Toy Story 2. Only this time, Woody the Cowboy and Buzz Lightyear the Space Ranger don’t start out as enemies, having of course become firm friends during the first movie by the end. Their owner, Andy, is off to cowboy camp – but Woody ends up getting broken and left behind, and then, in a twist of fate, is “kidnapped” by an evil toy store owner who knows Woody’s true worth to a collector… and then, of course, the race is on to save him, as Buzz, Mr Potato Head, Slinky Dog, Rex the Green Dinosaur, and Hamm the Piggy Bank set out to rescue him against impossible odds…

The storyline is good and never gets too slow, while frequent sideswipes are made at various films, particularly the Star Wars trilogy. (At one point it even takes a pot-shot at the toy stores that didn’t stock enough Buzz Lightyear toys in 1995!) The characters continue to be endearing (the little green aliens won my heart), while the action and jokes come at you thick and fast, and despite the fact that I’d put it in my top ten animated movies list, Istill actually enjoyed it more than I’d remembered!

The animation is, as you would expect from PIXAR, flawless. The colours seem particularly vibrant, with some of the shots having the startling “looks almost more real than reality” look about it. The voice acting is fantastic – I mean, just look at the line-up of talent: Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (amazing as Buzz Lightyear), the always wonderful Joan Cusack as Jesse (a cowboy – someone else voices her yodelling and singing though!), Kelsey Grammer as Stinky Pete (fortunately Smell-O-Vision hasn’t been invented yet, and John Ratzenburger churns out the one-liners every bit as well as he did in Cheers.

The best thing is that this has so many things to enjoy, and each age group will find delight in different things. The parody and ironic humour really appealed to me, but there’s plenty in it for children of any age to really enjoy too. It also doesn’t suffer from repeated viewings – as I said, I actually enjoyed it more this time round. John Lasseter and Co. produced another enduring winner here!

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