Toy Story 2 ***1/2

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Toy Story 2” was Pixar’s third feature film.  It is strange to think that this film was originally destined to be released straight to DVD.  Disney has never been a company that releases sequels theatrically but apparently when the executives began seeing some of footage, they decided that it was just too good not to be released in theatres.  We are all grateful that things ended up that way because not only was it another wonderful film, but it paved the way for “Toy Story 3” as well as a slate of sequels to other Pixar films.

The story this time involved an evil toy store owner who steals Woody so that he can sell him to a toy museum in Japan.  This is where we learn about Woody’s back-story as a toy.  Apparently he had his own television show accompanied with a line of toy tie ins.  We also meet some of the other characters from his show which includes Jesse, voiced by the great Joan Cusack and Stinky Pete, voiced by the  invaluable Kelsey Grammar.

After Woody is taken away, the toys in Andy’s room hatch a plan to rescue him.  All the familiar voices from the original film are back, toystory2including Tim Allen as Buzz.  Allen gets dual roles this time as Buzz runs in to another Lightyear toy who believes he is a space ranger.  We also get the addition of the villain Zerg, who harbours a surprising secret about Buzz which is a hilarious homage to “Star Wars”.

Although the story didn’t quite resonate as deeply as the original movie, it was still fun and provided great opportunities for some stunning and exciting animation.  This is one of the few sequels that almost equals the film it was following.

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