following review contains minor spoilers...
If Toy Story and A Bug's Life are considered good animated films, then Toy Story 2 is a great animated film – a Pixar masterpiece. From the first second to the last, Toy Story 2 is one of the most entertaining animated films ever created. You never look at your watch because you are too busy laughing, getting emotional, or being amazed at the creativity that went into the film. I tip my hat to the entire Pixar team for creating a movie that millions of people, including myself, will enjoy many times throughout the holiday season. I was so anxious to see this film a second time that I wanted to go to two press screenings because I didn't think I could wait until November 24 (its US release date) before seeing it again!
Remember the animated short that appeared before A Bug's Life called "Geri's Game?" Pixar has added a cameo appearance by that character that fits perfectly into the film. Little additions like this and the tastefully done spoofs on Star Wars and Jurassic Park add to the entertainment.
The story is also great and is solid with a beginning, middle, and end that effectively wraps up all the storylines.
1) In one scene, shown also in the trailer, Mr. Potato Head is stuck in the roadway with a large concrete pipe rolling toward him. Pixar was presented with a great opportunity to be creative in the resolution of this conflict. Yet it is one of the only places that creativity didn't show. The film clearly sets it up so that there is no way Mr. Potato Head can outrun (or get out of the way) of the rolling concrete pipe. Yet that is exactly what he does – simply gets out the way just in the nick of time. There was no creativity to this resolution like there is to all the other conflicts throughout the film. Pixar missed a great opportunity here. For example, roads are always full of potholes. Why not have Mr. Potato Head fall into a pot hole just as the concrete slab flattens the orange cone?
2) The green army men were underused in this film! When a strategy needs to be executed for a rescue operation, you would think that the green army men would be a major part of this operation. Nope. They serve little purpose outside of being lookouts at the beginning of the film. I felt they should have played a much more important part of the movie.
These are minor suggestions in a near-flawless film.
It's rare that a sequel is as good as or better than the original movie (exceptions are films like Karate Kid 2 and The Empire Strikes Back), but Pixar and Disney have amazingly created a better movie with Toy Story 2. While the story isn't as strong or intense as The Iron Giant, the entertainment is much stronger (with a surprise blast of emotion along with strong character development) and should easily keep the attention of both adults and kids. That's why Animation Artist Magazine gives Toy Story 2 a five out of five star rating for both kids and adults.
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