Movie Reviews

Toy Story/Toy Story 2

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Rating: 10 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody (voice)
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear (voice)
Joan Cusack as Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl (voice)
Kelsey Grammer as Stinky Pete the Prospector (voice)
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head (voice)
Jim Varney as Slinky Dog (voice)
Wallace Shawn as Rex the Green Dinosaur (voice)
John Ratzenberger as Hamm the Piggy Bank (voice)
Annie Potts as Bo Peep (voice)
Wayne Knight as Al the Toy Collector (voice)
John Morris as Andy (voice)
Laurie Metcalf as Andy's Mom (voice)
Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head (voice)
Jodi Benson as Tour Guide Barbie / Barbie on Backpack (voice)
Joe Ranft as Wheezy the Penguin (voice)
Erik von Detten as Sid (voice)
R. Lee Ermey as Sergeant (voice)
Sarah Freeman as Hannah (voice)

Summary:
The 3-D treatment breathes new life into the "Toy Story" movies. Whether you've seen them before or you have a young kid that has only seen them on DVD, it is well worth seeing them on the big screen again.

Story:
The 1995 classic "Toy Story" and its 1999 sequel "Toy Story 2" are being re-released on the big screen in the 3-D format. It's being done as a double feature that will have a limited engagement. Unless you've been living under a rock, you have seen the "Toy Story" films and already know what they're about!

"Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" are both rated G.

What Worked:
We know that the "Toy Story" films are modern classics. There's no question about that. The real question is how do they look in 3-D? The answer is they look amazing. I was stunned that they could take Pixar's animation from 14 years ago, redo it in 3-D, and have the end result look as cool as it does. It truly breathes new life into the animation. It also gives you greater appreciation for what they accomplished back in 1995. You start seeing new details that you may have never noticed before. As many times as I've seen "Toy Story," I never noticed that Buzz Lightyear's wings were translucent, that the moving company was called "Eggman" (a Beatles reference!), or that rain collected on a window could be such a complex image to create. Of course the 3-D does accentuate the flaws of the film like Rex's lower jaw or the crude animation on Scud and Sid. But the story is so engrossing and the characters are so perfectly executed that you overlook any problems it may have. Even at its worst, these films are better than most CG films that have come out between 1995 and now.

As good as "Toy Story" looks, "Toy Story 2" looks even better. The opening scene where Buzz Lightyear is flying through the asteroids, battling robots, and facing off with Zurg will blow your mind. It looks like it was created for 3-D. In the sequel you start noticing more details in the animation such as reflections in glass, texture on costumes and skin, and complexity of branches and leaves. You get the best 3-D effect when the camera pulls way back and you see the tiny toys walking through the big world. This is particularly the case when the toys are trying to cross the busy street under traffic cones.

My kids never got to see "Toy Story" on the big screen. They've seen it on DVD over and over, but the movies got lost under the onslaught of other kiddie films in our collection. So I got a tremendous kick out of seeing my 4-year-old, who has seen "Toy Story" before, diving in his mother's lap and looking quite concerned as Buzz and Woody raced along the street on the RC car trying to catch the moving van. It was all new to him. In fact, he went home, cut out a window in a cardboard box, put it on his head, and called himself Buzz Lightyear. My boys have also dug out all their old Buzz and Woody toys from under the "Star Wars" figures, "Transformers," and Marvel superheroes. That made it fun for us and that's how Disney successfully regenerates interest in an old franchise. Even my daughter who is 9 and too cool for "Toy Story" enjoyed watching it 3-D.

What Didn't Work:
As you would expect with any double feature, screening two films back to back with young kids is a bit of a challenge. Each film is under an hour and a half, but with a potty break in the middle, you'll find yourself at the movies for 3 hours. And you'll probably find yourself spending a ton of money at the concession stand during the intermission. In the end it's a big investment of time and money. But then again I suppose any trip to the movies with a family is.

The Bottom Line:
The 3-D effect makes "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" feel like completely new films. If you're a fan of animation, go check it out. If your kids have already seen the movies, take them again. If you don't have any kids, go see it anyway. You'll be glad you did.

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