Release Date - November 24
Woody - Tom Hanks
Buzz Lightyear - Tim Allen
Mr Potatohead - Don Rickles
Hamm - John Ratzerberger
Rex - Wallace Shawn
Slinky The Dog - Jim Varney
Jessie - Joan Cusack
Directors: Colin Brady and Ash Brannon
Previews: Bicentennial Man, Dinosaurs
"The difference between men and boys, is the price of their toys"
Now, not only is this a relevant saying because of the obvious toy reference, but it is a fitting in relevance to the escalating animation wars. It isnt just luck that Disney stays on top of their field. It comes from hard work and realizing when their competitors are edging closer, then upping the ante to maintain prominence. What am I rambling about now? After seeing Toy Story 2, I am reassured of their leadership in the field of animated films. The days of regular cartoons are all but gone because these days the animated film is a more fitting description. They focus more on stories using animation for flexibility instead of just as simple images to entertain and distract youthful minds.
Toy Story 2 does not break any ground in the animation field as they have in the past. This time, they show that there can be depth and emotion, behind those figures on the screen.
Originally scheduled as a straight-to-video release, this movie went over so well in prescreenings, that it was escalated, reworked, and sent to theaters, and boy am I glad they did. The story centers around the kidnapping of Woody, by an evil toy collector, and the subsequent rescue attempt by his fellow toys, led by Buzz Lightyear, whom Woody saved in the original. It is so simplistic in its nature. Yet in the hands of the screenwriters and animators, it becomes sheer brilliance. The script is full of one-liners, for comic touch and deep emotional insights, for the parents and guardians roped into coming along. The insights come by probing into the relationship that toys have to their owners, and how they may actually mirror the owner's feelings. It deals with feelings of belonging, attachment, and loyalty. I know, deep subjects for a "cartoon" to be touching on huh? However, there is so much more going on here, that its difficult to describe. My kudos go out to the screenwriters. They have crafted a masterpiece that is in most ways, better than the original movie. They have done so by not succumbing to regular sequel curse of coasting on the laurels of the original. Instead, like the Star Wars series it uses the original only to set up, and establish familiarity with the characters and situations. The movie goes straight into the story, with very little setup necessary. While Im on the subject, fans of the Star Wars series will gain an extra level of pleasure because of the recurring tributes throughout the movie. Also watch for references to Godzilla (shudder) and Forrest Gump. For the first time that I can remember in an animated film, there is an unexpected cameo. For true Disney or animation fans who pay attention, it is just another of Toy Story 2's many hidden pleasures.
I know that performances in this kind of film are kind of a moot point, since they are voices. However as Robin Williams, and Eddie Murphy have proven, a movie can be stolen with the right voice. Standing out here, is new voice Joan Cusack as one of Woodys fellow captives. She exudes the similar kind of frantic energy, yet emotional heart, that she did in her Oscar nominated In & Out turn. She is a joy and pleasure to watch, as well as hear. The rest are just as masterful in their returns.
Ultimately, I cannot say enough good things about this movie. We escape to the serenity of movie theaters for security from the madness that abounds in the world. Lately, it seems as if Hollywood has been reflecting the somber side of society onto the screen, hence making the movie going experience not as pleasant. With Toy Story 2, you cannot help feeling better about things, life, your childhood, that person who cut you off in the parking lot. Smile at them, because when you come out of the theater from this one, I guarantee your face will hurt from smiling. Not just from silliness, that will happen too, but from the smile it puts in your heart, making you feel enlightened, entertained, and generally jovial about the rest of your days. See it, relive childhood, maybe even bring along that doll, or Rock-em Sock-em robot, and share some bonding time together.
Actor and movie information courtesy of theImages courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures
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