John Lasseter and his gang of high-tech creators at Pixar create another entertainment for the ages. Like the few great movie sequels, Toy Story 2
comments on why the first one was so wonderful while finding a fresh angle worthy of a new film. The craze of toy collecting becomes the focus here, as we find out Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) is not only a beloved toy to Andy but also a rare doll from a popular '60s children's show. When a greedy collector takes Woody, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) launches a rescue mission with Andy's other toys. To say more would be a crime because this is one of the most creative and smile-inducing films since, well, the first Toy Story
Although the toys look the same as in the 1994 feature, Pixar shows how much technology has advanced: the human characters look more human, backgrounds are superior, and two action sequences that book-end the film are dazzling. And it's a hoot for kids and adults. The film is packed with spoofs, easily accessible in-jokes, and inspired voice casting (with newcomer Joan Cusack especially a delight as Cowgirl Jessie). But as the Pixar canon of films illustrates, the filmmakers are storytellers first. Woody's heart-tugging predicament can easily be translated into the eternal debate of living a good life versus living forever. Toy Story 2 also achieved something in the U.S. two other outstanding 1999 animated features (The Iron Giant, Princess Mononoke) could not: it became a huge box-office hit. --Doug Thomas
Andy heads off to cowboy camp leaving his toys to their own devices. Things shift into high gear when an obsessive toy collector named Al McWhiggin (owner of Al's Toy Barn) kidnaps Woody. At Al's apartment, Woody discovers that he is a highly valued collectible from a 1950s TV show called Woody's Roundup, and he meets the other prized toys from that show, Jessie the Cowgirl, Bullseye the Horse, and Stinky Pete the Prospector. Back at the scene of the crime, Buzz Lightyear and the other toys from Andy's room, Mr. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, Rex and Hamm spring into action to rescue their pal from winding up as a museum piece. The toys get into one predicament after another in their daring race to get Woody before Andy returns.
Bonus Features include: BE Live, Director commentary, Toy Story 3 Sneak Peek: The Characters, Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: International Space Station, Paths to Pixar: Technical Artists, Studio Stories: Toy Story 2 Sleep Deprivation Lab, Pinocchio, The Movie Vanishes, Pixar's Zoetrop, Celebrating our Friend Joe Ranft