Posted February 7, 2011 by editor in Retrospectives

Pixar: Toy Story 2

The art of the sequel is something that has flummoxed the greatest of franchises throughout the history of motion pictures.  Classics such as The Godfather Part 2 and Aliens are the exception not the rule when it comes to poor second instalments of successful motion pictures.  Pixar entered the fray with the eagerly anticipated Toy Story 2 in 1999. Up until this the fledgling studio had continued to develop new projects and had stayed away from any sequels.

The original Toy Story had re-defined the boundaries for computer animation which was matched by an ingenious storyline that appealed to both kids and adults alike. The follow-up takes us back to Andy’s bedroom where now best friends Buzz and Woody are making sure everyone is safe and to ensure no man is left behind.


The film is essentially a huge rescue movie as the troops, led by the ever alert Buzz, go after their lost comrade Woody who has been stolen by the frankly disgusting Al from the equally repellent Toy Barn. Not content with a simple rescue movie, Pixar continue their dissection of the relevance of toys in our lives, as Woody gets to learn about his heritage as a former TV star as well as meet is co-stars, Jesse, Bullsye and Stinky Pete.

Here we learn about the notion of collecting:  leaving toys in the box and the possible future value of such items for collectors. The bods at Pixar are very much against this as they firmly believe we should play with and thoroughly enjoy our toys. The toys facilitate the creating of brave new worlds occupied by Captain Pork Chop, death by monkeys and the dynamic duo of Buzz and Woody.

The true highlight of the film comes when Buzz meets Buzz. When attempting Woody’s rescue, the Buzz that we know and love is kidnapped and replaced by a new Buzz that naturally thinks he’s an actual space ranger. This leads to the awe inspiring line by a toy of ‘please tell me I wasn’t this deluded’. At this point the universe that Pixar are striving for is completely three dimensional in that we understand that the toys actually learn and adapt to their environment to ensure the happiness of their owner.

The film is a triumph beyond words right down the homage paid to the legendary ‘no, I am your father’  scene from Empire Strikes Back.  A decade on and the studio has become a hallmark of astounding originality and brilliance in creating massive success time and time again. When it comes to discussing the greatest sequels of all time Toy Story 2 has to be included in any discussion you care to have about any franchise made anywhere in the entire world; it’s that simple.
Aled Jones