In 1995, Pixar stunned us with the first fully computer generated movie, Toy Story. It was a great movie, fairly funny, and had great graphics. But that was the beginning. Now, with a strong grip on the computer graphics (and updated), the characters, and more toy licenses than ever, Pixar has brought us Toy Story 2, a much funnier and much more clever film than the original.
As far as I can tell, all the actors have returned: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney (Ernest), Wallace Shawn, and John Ratzenberger. In addition, there are some new voices such as Joan Cusack as the cowgirl, Kelsey Grammer as the Prospector, and two "Seinfeld" alums, Estelle Harris (Mrs. Potato Head) and Wayne Knight (Al, the bad guy).
As for graphics, they are much improved, although I'll be critical just for the heck of it. The toy animations were superb, and the human textures were great, but a more realistic environment would have been better for the movie's cause. The city effects, the cars during the hilarious accident scene, and some of the humans didn't look real enough; since this movie is dealing with real brands of toys in the supposed real world, having the setting be more realistic would have been a plus. But oh well: I could never do graphics like that.
Toy Story 2 is much funnier than its predecessor and it also manages to maintain some of the theme of the first film; Buzz Lightyear's naive outlook towards the world. Of course, Buzz himself knows he's a toy, but when he meets more toys like him, they all think they're Space Rangers. Furthermore, since Buzz is a sci-fi toy, the creators couldn't help but spoof Star Wars. And boy was that funny!
Toy Story 2 has excellent graphics, hilarious antics, and a good story. While it will definitely appeal to kids of all ages, it will also be liked by adults, teenagers, and everyone else.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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