Toy Story 2

1999, Movie, G, 92 mins


Look out toys: There's a creepy collector on the prowl! Sweaty nostalgia merchant Al McWhiggin (voiced by Wayne Knight) has his mercenary sights set on Woody (Tom Hanks), because unbeknownst to anyone — including Woody himself — the lovable pull-string cowboy isn't just any old toy. He was once the star of a TV puppet show called "Woody's Roundup," and Al's already assembled the rest of the roundup gang: rootin' tootin' cowgirl Jessie (Joan Cusack), lovable horse Bullseye and cranky prospector Stinky Pete (Kelsey Grammer) — mint in box, yet! With Woody in place, McWhiggin can sell his whole collection to a museum in Japan for a pretty penny. With so much at stake, toynapping seems a small risk to run. And so it falls to Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), piggy bank Hamm (John Ratzenberger), plastic dinosaur "Nervous" Rex (Wallace Shawn) and Slinky Dog (Jim Varney) to retrieve Woody from McWhiggin's lair before Andy (John Morris), the youngster who owns and loves them all, gets home from cowboy camp. The story is simple enough for young children to follow, and the computer-animated images are both bright and surprisingly complex. Adults won't find the action heart-stopping (it would take a four-year-old to believe there's actually a chance that Mr. Potato Head might be crushed by oncoming traffic), but they'll find plenty to smile at in the film's clever homages to films ranging from STAR WARS to JURASSIC PARK, droll digs at obsessive toy collectors and Barbies-a-go-go. Unlike many sequels, it's neither an unimaginative retread nor a second-rate follow up. Pompous space toy Buzz has learned his lesson (though there are plenty of deluded space rangers just like he used to be waiting in line at the toy store), Woody goes through a crisis, and the pain of toys abandoned by growing children is enough to tug at the tightest heartstrings. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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