PIXAR MASTERPIECE REVIEW: “Toy Story 2” is voiced by Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Saving Mr. Banks), Tim Allen (Home Improvement [TV series], Last Man Standing [TV series]), Joan Cusack (The End of the Tour, Working Girl), Kelsey Grammer (Frasier [TV series], Anastasia), Wayne Knight (Seinfeld [TV series], Jurassic Park), Don Rickles (Casino, Kelly’s Heroes), Jim Varney (Ernest Goes to Camp, Existo), Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride, Don Peyote), John Ratzenberger (Cheers [TV series], Motel Hell), Estelle Harris (Brother Bear, Stand and Deliver), Annie Potts (Ghostbusters , Designing Women [TV series]), John Morris (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Medusa), R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket, Se7en), and Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne [TV series], The Big Bang Theory [TV series]). It is directed by John Lasseter (Cars, A Bug’s Life), Ash Brannon (Surf’s Up, Rock Dog), and Lee Unkrich (Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo), while both Lasseter and Brannon wrote it with Pete Docter (Up, Inside Out), Andrew Stanton (Wall-E, Finding Nemo), Rita Hsiao (Mulan, My Little Pony: The Movie), Doug Chamberlin (Bruno the Kid: The Animated Movie, Weird Science [TV series]), and Chris Webb (Beyond Our Control [TV series], Solo Me [TV series]). When Woody (Hanks) is stolen by a toy collector named Al (Knight), Buzz (Allen) and the rest of the gang will do all they can to hunt him down and bring him back home. That is, if Woody even wants to come home…
Pixar tosses us back into the world of talking toys with their third feature film, “Toy Story 2.” Just like the original, I grew up watching this movie, memorizing the scenes and how they made me feel when I watched this as a younger kid. It took what the original gave us and built on its beloved characters by crafting yet another fresh story to delve into. No, it doesn’t top “Toy Story,” nor does it come close, but it is a terrific movie to watch, as it wows and performs better than most sequels ever would. In discussing what makes this the sequel every franchise should take notes from, you would first have to look at its plot. Like I said, it’s a fresh piece, bestowing us with some new lessons, jokes, and songs that will surely leave a viewer smiling. In this story we take a closer look at Woody and where he comes from. Not necessarily where Andy got him (although that could make an interesting tale), but who he is. Before this release, everyone thought of him as a generic cowboy doll, but in fact he was larger than life back in the day, pleasing audiences with his hit show “Woody’s Round-Up.” How Woody handles this and in his realization of how he is more important than he thinks is interesting to see, especially whenever he starts questioning his loyalty to Andy. With Woody gone, the other toys have to get him back, giving us a separate story arc filled with adventure and fun. Both of these sides to the plot line balance out this film, giving way to smooth pacing and never handing us a dull moment. I was captivated with what was on the screen and I had a good time watching this. The characters are just as good as they were before and the newbies were great additions, those being Jessie, Bullseye, Stinky Pete, and Al (I loved how they foreshadowed his character in the first film, by the way). All of the voice acting was top-notch as always, as each actor gave life to their characters. The animation has improved immensely, with Pixar developing new techniques, like reflections off of wood-flooring. I enjoyed just watching the animation of this as it was really good overall, save for a couple of crude moments (most involving humans and huge landscapes). There’s so much to love in this sequel that it’s very hard to find anything wrong with it, but unfortunately, it isn’t anywhere near perfect as its predecessor. Although I had a good time watching this, I found myself not enjoying it as much as I did “Toy Story.” I’d say the reasoning for that would be because it doesn’t have much of an impact as the previous release. “Toy Story” dealt with many issues and its recurring theme made for a great adventure, while this one was half rescue mission and half lesson. This movie’s strong points were when they touched on their topic of how children grow up someday, and how a toy can be left in the dust. The song “When She Loved Me” made me get misty-eyed. Sure, the other stuff is entertaining and never dull, but it doesn’t hold as much weight as its deep thinking. I could also say that this one wasn’t as adult-oriented as the first flick, but that seems a bit harsh as I did laugh quite a bit in this. Anything else would be considered nitpicks, which I found more in this than the last, but they aren’t too major to discuss in detail. To sum it up, this is a great sequel. It doesn’t match the original, but it creates its own story instead of banking off of the first’s success, which I admire the most. I loved the theme that they touched on in this and it was a blast to see these characters once again. This is one sequel you don’t want to miss out on. FINAL SCORE: 92%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
And now, here is my review for the Pixar short, “Luxo Jr.”
MOVIE SHORT REVIEW: “Luxo Jr.” is a two-minute Pixar short film that is written and directed by John Lasseter. It details a small lamp chasing after a bouncy ball, while his seemingly father-lamp watches.
“Luxo Jr.,” another old Pixar short, was the second short film for them to produce (the first being “The Adventures of André and Wally B.”). It’s roughly two minutes long and there is very little to discuss about it, except for a few notes I have on my mind. What this short essentially did was establish Pixar’s logo of the lamp and the ball with the star on it. I found that to be interesting in watching this and it was actually a good short. The animation was really good for being made in 1986, it had some good humor, and the characters were unique in its simplicity. There isn’t much to it, besides a lamp playing with a ball, and I feel that it mainly served as some revolutionary animated video, bumping up from Pixar’s first and getting closer to their first feature film. I found his to be a nice little video and the credits showing some pictures of how they made it were cool. If you are interested in some of Pixar’s firsts, check this one out. FINAL SCORE: 80%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the full short: