Let’s face it. Most sequels fail to live up to the legacy created by the first movie. Can I hear a “The Next Karate Kid” anyone? When people love a movie they want more of it. Studios, unfortunately, only hear “cha-ching” and rush too many sequels to the screen that lack the heart of the original. Only a few sequels manage to equal their original. Toy Story 2 is one of the chosen few. With heart that equals its predecessor, Toy Story 2 is not only one of the best sequels ever, but also one of my personal favorites.
With the characters introduced in the first movie, Toy Story 2 can jump right into the action. Andy’s room is full of many familiar faces. Back for the ride are Woody (Hanks), Buzz (Allen), Hamm (Ratzenberger), Mr. Potato Head (Rickles), Bo Peep (Potts), and Rex (Wallace Shawn). Mr. Potato Head has forsaken single life as he now has his Mrs. Potato Head (Harris). The movie starts out with Andy heading to Cowboy Camp. This is the most anticipated week of the year for Woody. Unfortunately for Woody, he tears a seam and Andy leaves him at home. Woody is distraught but doesn’t have time for his own pity as Andy’s Mom decides to have a yard sale! While trying to save another toy, Woody ends up in the yard sale himself where an evil man, Al (Wayne Knight), steals him. Al takes him back to his apartment, which is also across the street from his business, “Al’s Toy Barn”. Once there, Woody’s past and future are on a collision course. Woody meets Jesse (Cusack) and The Prospector (Grammar), his co –stars in a 1950s TV show. Al has taken Woody so that his now complete “Woody’s Round-up” collection can be sold to a museum for a nice profit. Woody faces a dilemma. Does he go back to Andy even if he knows Andy won’t play with toys forever or does he go with the Round-up gang to the museum and be behind glass for eternity?
While Woody is learning his past and debating his future, Buzz leads a daring mission to save his buddy from the evil Al. Buzz and the gang head for Al’s Toy Barn in hopes of bringing Woody home before Andy gets back from Cowboy Camp.
Toy Story 2 captures all the elements of Toy Story and exceeds it in many ways. Friendship and purpose are still key themes of the movie. Buzz’s friendship makes him risk his life for Woody. When they reunite, Buzz helps Woody realize what a toy’s real purpose is.
Toy Story 2 is an extension of the original in that the quality of its product never lessens. The writing is as clever as the original and the humor never drops for a moment. TS2 does not exist merely to line the pockets of Pixar and Disney. Its aim is to entertain children and adults alike. It succeeds.
Now, if I can only convince Steve Jobs and Michael Eisner that I need a Toy Story 3.