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Toy Story 2 (1999)

2010-01-15 15:50

The first Toy Story was an absolute revolution in filmmaking. Never had audiences seen 3D animation that was so… convincing. Pixar Studios (owned by Disney) were introducing the world to a whole new kind of visual storytelling. You can imagine the briefing from their bosses: "Don’t screw this up. You wouldn’t like Mickey Mouse when he’s angry." And they didn’t. Toy Story was a massive success, a groundbreaking cinematic achievement. In that sense, perhaps it should be our Sunday Classic.

But Toy Story 2 is way funnier.

Toy Story 2 picks up not long after Woody the Cowboy (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), a space-faring action figure, have become friends. There is peace and harmony among Andy, their owner’s, vast collection of toys, novelties and collectibles. But when Woody is stolen by an antique toy collector, the toys must act and they send out a rescue party to complete the dangerous mission.

More so than the first Toy Story, the sequel takes time to dwell on the meaning of being a plaything. When you get down to it, it’s a tragic situation: sooner or later, the fun has to stop. You might even go so far as to see some of your own relationships as 'toys': they’re bound to end, sooner rather than later. Does that mean they’re not worth it? Who knows.

But when Jessie, a discarded cowgirl doll, says: "You never forget kids like Emily, or Andy, but they forget you," I think even a younger audience will begin to ponder the big "whys" of the world.

Soon enough, though, they’ll forget all that and have a nice chuckle. You might too. Like I said before, it’s the 'cast' that makes Toy Story memorable. Who is your favourite? It might be Mr Potato Head, that raunchy rogue of a plastic vegetable who reminds himself "I’m a married spud, I’m a married spud" when Tour Guide Barbie joins them in a convertible. Or it could be Rex, perhaps the most timid (plastic) dinosaur on the planet. "Hey, how do you spell FBI?" Shame, we all have our blonde moments. Probably, though, your favourite is either Buzz or Woody.

In the 90s, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were perhaps two of the biggest names in entertainment. Why? Well, Tom could act, and people thought Tim was kind of funny. So with an Oscar-winning actor leading the cast as Woody, and an outrageously popular comedian in charge of larfs & gags as Buzz, not a lot could go wrong. There have been many good, possibly better animated movies since, but none of them have as dynamic a duo as Allen and Hanks to boast of.

Toy Story 2 was the third official Pixar movie, just as the company really hit its stride with a string of hits including Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Perhaps learning from the mistakes of their first two projects (including Toy Story) made Toy Story 2 what we enjoy it as today: a mirthful jol for young & old alike. In fact, it might be time to dust it off yet again to refresh your memory. Toy Story 3 is set for release on 25 June, 2010. Viva!

* To celebrate the June release of Toy Story 3, the first two Toy Story movies will be re-released in 3D on 19 & 26 February 2010, respectively.

Some quotes:

Jessie: You never forget kids like Emily, or Andy, but they forget you.

Woody: Look Jessie, I know you hate me for leaving, but I have to go back. I'm still Andy's toy. Well, if you knew him, you'd understand. See, Andy's...
Jessie: Let me guess. Andy's a real special kid, and to him, you're his buddy, his best friend, and when Andy plays with you it's like... even though you're not moving, you feel like you're alive, because that's how he sees you.
Woody: How did you know that?
Jessie: Because Emily was just the same. She was my whole world.

[On "Woody's Roundup" TV show, Jessie's animal friends run to Woody to come to her rescue]
Rabbit: [incoherent chatter]
Woody: What's that? Jessie and Prospector are trapped in the old abandoned mine and Prospector just lit a stick of dynamite thinking it was a candle and now they're about to be blown to smithereens?
Rabbit: Uh huh.
Woody: Ride like the wind, Bullseye.

Hamm: You heard of Kung Fu? Well prepare yourself for pork chop

Before the knives come out, let’s remind ourselves that the entire Toy Story universe is a classic of children’s animation. As much as we may have loved the first or second films on their separate merits, it’s the same cast of toys, after all, that keeps us coming back to this delightful world. Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr Potato Head… the list goes on.

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