A Golden Globe Award winner for Best Picture, Toy Story 2 has become a favorite all across the world, garnering praise from fans and critics everywhere. It's "an instant classic," raves New York Magazine. Now in a 2-disc collector's edition with a sparkling new picture and spectacular home theater mix, this groundbreaking animated adventure is even better!
While Andy is away at summer camp, Woody is toynapped by AI, a greedy collector who needs Andy's favorite toy to complete his Roundup Gang collection. Together with Jessie, Bullseye and the Prospector, Woody is on his way to a museum where he'll spend the rest of his life behind glass. It's up to Buzz, Mr. Potato Head, Hamm, Rex and Slinky Dog to rescue their friend and remind him what being a toy is all about.
Sequels can be scary. The chance of failure is all too real. You may end up taking something people loved and creating a sub-par follow-up, which in turn kills much of the sentiment for the first film that worked so well. So many traps lie in wait for sequels. From introducing too many new characters, to ignoring the ones we've come to love. Will the same humor get recycled? Will the same idea work again, or has it become old news? These are the hazards the Pixar team faced when they embarked on 'Toy Story 2.'
After 'A Bugs Life' was received rather lukewarmly at the box office, Pixar was under pressure to make their next movie a hit. With early test scenes for a direct-to-video follow-up to 'Toy Story' turning out so well, plans were quickly hammered to rework the film for theatrical release. For many fans, revisiting the toy chest so soon seemed like a risky gamble, but to our surprise, it wasn't at all.
As the film opens, Woody is faced with the inevitable fact that Andy will one day grow up and outgrow playing with toys. Should Woody sacrifice the few remaining years of playing with Andy, for a lifetime spent looking out through through protective glass in a museum for collectible toys (It seems Buzz wasn't the only one with a highly popular TV show and action figure tie-ins.)? This is a legitimate concern for a toy. We feel for Woody.
This is the first time real, true drama and sadness is injected into a Pixar film, paving the way for the emotional openings of 'Up' and 'Wall•E.' 'Toy Story 2' set the bar high, not only on a technical level for a CG cartoon, but on an emotional plane that could affect both parents and children.
We knew that 'Toy Story 2' was going to introduce some new characters. It's standard operating procedure for sequels to do so, but nstead of throwing in a few new characters just for additional merchandising opportunities, the new characters of Jessie, Stinky Pete, and Bullseye have a lot of thought put into them without sacrificing sufficient screen time from the characters we had come to know and love.
Storytelling isn't the only area in which 'Toy Story 2' excelled. It had already been four years since the release of 'Toy Story,' yet Pixar's animation techniques already showed improvement by leaps and bounds. As I said in my review of the original film, some of the animation in 'Toy Story' isn't aging well. In particular, Sid's dog looks especially bad compared to the dogs in 'Up,' but that's okay, they were still working to perfect their craft. Here we can see the evolution that Pixar was going through. Andy's new dog looks much better than Scud, and the human faces are beginning to take on a more lifelike appearance.
'Toy Story 2' solidified Pixar's place in cinematic history as a viable enterprise, an animation juggernaut, and a movie company that valued story and character above all else. This film is every bit as timeless and as classic as 'Toy Story.'
Featuring updated techniques, 'Toy Story 2' is a demo material, just like 'Toy Story,' but with the added value of slightly better animation. Like 'Toy Story's video presentation, the colors pop right off the screen. Primaries are bright and vibrant. The greens of Buzz's suit and Rex's body, reds of Jessie's hat and hair, the blues of the sky and Woody's pants are all perfectly rendered and exciting to look at. Edges are exact, and fine detail is crystal clear. From the texture of Al's cheeto dust-covered fingers, to the intricate stitching of Woody's vest, no detail is too fine. Care is taken to make the toys look worn and played with. Smudges of dirt and streaks of black occasionally speckle each character with a sort of chaotic precision. There are no blemishes or artifacts to speak of. This is a perfect video presentation, plain and simple. Demo, demo, demo!
If it's possible, this DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 accompanying 'Toy Story 2' is even more of a sonic delight than that on the 'Toy Story' Blu-ray. The LFE kicks right in during the prologue as Buzz blasts through the air. The rumbling from the subwoofer is perfectly prioritized with the other sound effects and dialogue happening as to never drown those out. Panning effects are smooth and without hesitation. Dialogue is perfectly clear through the center channels. The surround channels are alive with all types of clear, engulfing ambient sounds. When Woody falls through the pile of cards during his dream, the cards click and clack around the room with care. The soundtrack is given ample room to flourish. Suffice to say, this is another demo quality audio presentation from Pixar.
'Toy Story 2' represented a pivotal turning point for Pixar. We all know how successfully it turned out. This is a must own movie, one that we highly recommend adding to your Blu-ray collection, along with the first 'Toy Story.' Together they comprise a dynamic duo of computer animated demo material, one that will delight you and your guests for years to come. 1080p is truly the home for material like the 'Toy Story' franchise.