Bluffers Guide to Toy Story 2 – the story continues

Toy Story 2 exploded onto cinema screens in late 1999/early 2000 (US launched earlier than UK) and was a massive success, easily beating its predecessor at the box office. As the third biggest movie of the year, Toy Story 2 was seen by a massive cinema audience of children and adults alike and there was plenty of film merchandise to coincide with the film’s popularity, including toys, clothes and for the first time a video game.

But it was so nearly a disaster.

Read on to see how the legends at Pixar turned everything around to create a sequel even better than the original.
Toy Story 2
Four years on from the original Toy Story we got the sequel, the imaginatively named Toy Story 2. Sequels to animated movies tend to be Direct to Video efforts, loose tie-ins to previous big hits, showcasing sideline characters from the original movie and with lower production values than the big cinema releases. Originally this was going to be the case for Toy Story 2, but when execs saw how it was turning out they decided to upgrade the film to a cinema release.

When this decision was made the team who’d worked on the original movie were reunited to work on this sequel and they somehow managed to completely re-write the script and produce the movie in just 9 months (an amazing achievement for movies of this type! Some of the team apparently suffered from RSI (repetitive strain injury) from the long intensive working hours).

They did a bloody good job though.

Personally, I think that Toy Story 2 is funnier than the original. The characters are developed further, the humour is a little edgier and the scenarios the toys get themselves into are fantastic.

The Story of Toy Story 2

Andy is about to go to camp with Woody when he accidentally rips his arm (just a cloth wound, nothing fatal) and has to leave him behind. While he is away Andy’s mum has a yard sale (like a car boot sale over here in the UK, but without having to leave your house or get up ridiculously early) and decides to get rid of an old penguin toy which has a broken squeaker.
Toy Story Penguin Wheezy
The penguin is called Wheezy (broken squeaker = wheezy voiced toy) and Woody mounts a daring and successful rescue attempt with the help of Andy’s dog Buster. Unfortunately, due to a slight glitch in the rescue mission Woody is left outside where he is found later, during the yard sale, by a collector of old and rare toys. Andy’s mum refuses to sell Woody (of course!) but the dastardly toy collector steals Woody and drives away into the sunset, chased by Buzz who despite being a space ranger, can’t keep up with a car.

Some investigative work by the toys – that more than equals anything Jessica Flethcher has ever achieved – leads them to the mysterious kidnapper of Woody who they discover is Al of Al’s Toy Barn, a huge toy store across town.

Spoiler alert!

Woody learns more about himself once at Al’s apartment and discovers he’s actually a highly collectible toy from a 1950’s TV series called Woody’s Roundup. He meets his co-stars, Jessie, his yodelling cowgirl side-kick, Bullseye, his trusty horse and Stinky Pete the Prospector. Now that Woody has arrived the collection is complete and Al plans to sell them to a Toy Museum in Japan!

Woody is horrified at the thought of leaving Andy, but after talking to Jessie about her previous owner who had grown up and forgotten about her, Woody realises that the same might happen to him and so he decides to stay with the Woody’s Roundup crew.

Meanwhile, the other toys have managed to get themselves to Al’s Toy Barn, a journey that involves a hilarious road-crossing scene, where they find themselves surrounded by boxed toys. Chaos ensues as we temporarily lose our Buzz for a newer upgraded Buzz Lightyear action figure who believes, just as Buzz did originally, that he is a real stranded space ranger and is very proud of his limited-edition anti-gravitational belt. We also meet Buzz’s arch enemy Emperor Zurg, who it eventually transpires, is Buzz’s father.

Toy Story Emperor Zurg
The toys reach Buzz and persuade him and the other Woody’s Roundup toys (excluding grumpy Stinky Pete) to escape together, but before they can get away Stinky Pete double-crosses them and they are packed up ready to be taken to Tokyo.

The action moves to the airport where there’s action and drama and mild peril. but don’t worry, being a film for kids, there is a happy ending with Jessie and Bullseye joining Woody and the rest of Andy’s toys permanently and Stinky Pete getting his comeuppance as he is taught the “true meaning of playtime” the hard way – by being put in a girl’s rucksack..!!
Toy Story 2
Barbie shows that she’s a girl with some acting ability in this film as Tour Guide Barbie joins the team as they navigate through the store. Momentarily distracted by the sight of a bevy of partying Barbies, TG Barbie joins them in their car and gives them a guided tour while Mr Potato Head reminds himself that he’s “a married spud, a married spud!”

This film is well worth a watch and then a re-watch as there are loads of great little details and jokes that you might miss first time around.