Toy Story had almost cemented itself as a classic in the public mind within a few short years.
This time, they open with a massive space adventure sequence which introduces Buzz’s arch nemesis Evil Emperor Zurg.
When Woody gets stolen by a collector at a yard sale, Buzz mounts a rescue mission. But for Woody, it turns out to not be as simple.
Woody discovers that he is not some random doll…but that he was originally part of a popular fifties toy and TV show combo. And he finds out he was the last piece of the puzzle for a toy collector who plans to sell his collection to a museum in Japan.
At first, Woody is terrified by the notion. But the rest of the collection (A cowgirl named Jessie, a horse named Bullseye and Stinky Pete-a toy still in his box, never opened) slowly convinces Woody that maybe life in a museum would not be so bad.
The film has a lot of fun, expanding both Woody and Buzz’s respective worlds. They also find a new way to advance the story and give us “Buzz Does Not Know He is a Toy” in an entertaining way.
Jessie and Bullseye are engaging and lovable, making it easier to understand why Woody might consider abandoning Andy. Kelsey Grammer gives Stinky Pete just the amount of charm at the beginning to hint there may be more for him than we think. Admittedly, he is a bit of an indictment of collectors, as being left in the box plays a major motivation for Pete.
The animation shows some improvement here, though the human characters look…uh….freakish. However, with Wayne Knight’s toy collector Al and the old man are much more cartoonish. And it works more effectively when we see them on screen.
Toy Story 2 is a terrific follow up to the original, improving some things in the technical aspects and giving us a pretty tale revisiting characters we have come to love.