Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 1999
Directed by
John Lasseter
92 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Toy Story 2

Appreciation of Toy Story 2 fully depends upon whether or not you have seen Toy Story (1995). Even though stylistically it is of a piece with that film, as with any sequel a certain frisson of novelty has been lost. Most of the elements from Toy Story are re-assembled here - the characters, the Randy Newman music, even the plot follows the same pattern and a similar feelgood message lies at its core - so to raise the bar for those for whom familiarity is a problem there are more bangs for your bucks (an extraordinary opening sequence), some new characters are introduced such as Al, voiced by, and clearly modelled upon, Wayne Knight aka Newman from Seinfeld, and overall, the quality of animation is even higher.

The latter alone is an extraordinary achievement but the level of craftsmanship in all departments is remarkable and goes beyond the original. The music is richer and the storyline and its visual expression are relentlessly inventive. My only criticism in the latter respect is that not enough was made of Zorg and the resolution of his character's role in the film is incongruously weak. The moral heart of the story remains similar to the original, now being about savouring the here and now and ordinary things rather than idealising fame and glittering prizes. However, for me in scaling up the toy's adventure, the simple suburban charms and human values extolled, and so effectively captured in a slightly tongue-in-cheek way, in the first film, have been lost here.

Consonant with the bigger scope of action the moral struggle is also now more grandiose but how much of this get through the sensory bombardment and showmanship is questionable. Andy's room is but a distant reference point and the main effect now is the evanescent thrill of a visual roller-coaster. But I may just be old-fashioned. Arguably the audience of the original Toy Story have grown quite a bit since then and like more octane in their entertainment fuel.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst