Saturday, 5 July 2014
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Sequels that are better than the original are pretty rare beasts, but this is definitely one of them. Toy Story 2 has the same likeable characters, clever jokes, and infectious charm of the first film, but neatly side-steps the breaking of verisimilitude that (for me, at least) marred the earlier release.
It is six months or so after the end of the first film, and things are pretty sweet for the toys of Andy's room. They've navigated the arrival of a puppy and Woody and Buzz - originally rivals for Andy's affection - are now the best of buddies.
Into every life a little rain must fall, however, and thus it is for the toys. Andy's mother holds a yard sale. Woody goes out to rescue a toy that is about to be sold, and ends up being stolen by an unethical toy collector who plans to sell him to a museum in Japan.
As Woody's friends set out to rescue him, the Sheriff himself is meeting new toys, who will also be going to Japan, and must come to terms with the fact that kids eventually grow out of their toys, and that one day Andy will no longer want him.
That makes this the first Pixar film to deal with issues of loss, and it does so with considerable pathos, though not quite to the gut punch levels of Up. Or maybe I just had something in my eye when I watched the first ten minutes of Up. Yeah, that must be it.
This is a touching story of the power of friendship and optimism. That it manages to do this without being cloying, and while still packing in piles of jokes for audiences of all ages, is a testament to the skill of the people behind it.