Toy Story 2
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The following review contains minor spoilers...

Toy Story 2 is a Pixar Masterpiece
by Joe Tracy

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!

The Story
A greedy toy collector has kidnapped Woody. It's now up to Buzz Lightyear to lead the way in rescuing his friend. But rescuing a friend who is discovering a new life may not be that easy…

The Great
The quality of Toy Story 2's animation is very good. The shadows, lighting, perspectives – everything – is at near perfection. I had the privilege of seeing Toy Story 2 on a digital screen (El Capitan theater in Hollywood) and I was blown away by the crispness of the entire production.

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.

The Average
Where are the green army men?! The green army men are underused in Toy Story 2. When they are needed the most – to help rescue Woody – they are nowhere to be found.

The Bad
Prior to sitting down to view Toy Story 2, I was aware that one of the characters was going to sing a song. This worried me greatly as Toy Story 2 seemed an inappropriate film for a character to sing. I was sure that I would be able to place the fact that a song was sung under "The Bad" aspect of my review… that is until I saw it. Not only is the song appropriate in Toy Story 2, but it also gives a very important back story to one of the character's that is even emotional! It moves the story forward versus creating a pause. So that leaves nothing bad about this film!

Suggested Changes
Toy Story 2 is nearly flawless. There's very little I would suggest to change the movie. Here are my two very minor complaints:

    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.

Conclusion
Pokemon: The First Movie dropped a drastic 60% in its second weekend. I can guarantee that you won't see such drastic drops for Toy Story 2 because the film is so entertaining that it is easy to want to see it again and again. I wanted to run out of the theater after the two minutes of Pikachu's Vacation in the Pokemon movie, but with Toy Story 2, I wanted to crawl into the screen and be part of the action.

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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