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Toy Story 2

Director: John Lasseter, Ash Brannon and Lee Unkrich
Screenplay: Andrew Stanton, Rita Hsiao, Doug Chamberlain and Chris Webb
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, Wayne Knight and R. Lee Ermey

John's Review

   If anything this movie is more of a continuation of the first film and a sequel in name only. Disney was smart to not release this one straight to video, as was their initial idea. John Lasseter returns as Director to this witty, inventive animated film. His previous works, Toy Story and It's a Bug's Life have already made me a huge fan, now I'm beginning worship the guy. His latest work is absolutely phenomenal.

   The story begins right where the last one left off. All of Andy's toys are getting along in Andy's room, everything is just swell. Then Andy goes to Cowboy Camp and can't take Woody with him, because Woody's arm was partially torn while playing. Unfortunately Woody mistakenly gets put into a box of junk that is going outside to a yard sale that Andy's mom is having. When a toy store owner sees Woody he's immediately smitten. He takes off with Woody. You see, apparently, Woody was the star of a 1950's children's show. Complete with records, and "co-stars". There's Jessie the Cowgirl (Cusack), Stinky Pete the Prospector (Grammer), who has never been out of his box and finally Bullseye, Woody's trusted steed. Al (Knight) of "Al's Toy Barn", a local toy story, has plans to sell the complete set for huge amount of yen to a Japanese collector. Woody was the last piece to complete the set.

   Buzz meanwhile decides that he has to save Woody. He enlists the help of Rex (Shawn), Mr. Potato Head (Rickles) and Hamm (Ratzenberger) and they decide to storm Al's Toy Barn to find Woody. What ensues is a hilarious romp through the toy store, complete with jabs at Barbie, Disney and even Star Wars. The scene in which Buzz inadvertently opens the box of another Buzz is downright hysterical! They finally locate Woody across the street in Al's apartment building. When they locate Woody, he's now, not sure if he even wants to go back to Andy's room. Andy will grow up one day, and then what's the point of being a toy if you aren't going to have the love of a child.

   While the first movie concerned itself with acceptance and being open minded, this one concerns itself with living life to the utmost and perhaps to a lesser degree, mortality. The voice characterizations are aboslutely outstanding. The facial expressions are more real this time than last time. Andy's dachshund is the most lifelike dog I have ever seen in an animated film. The jokes are funny to adults as well as children, the action is taught and tense and keeps the film moving at a delightful pace.

   I highly recommend this film, it is one of the best family movies I have seen in the movie theater. Both of my sons thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and so did I.

Grade: A

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