Toy Story 2

on November 19, 1999 by Mike Kerrigan
   Hey fellas, somebody got it wrong. Sequels are not supposed to be better than the original. But not only is "TS2" better than the first outing, it is better than most movies released this year. It works on almost every level. It's funny, it's great to look at--it's even moving. In short, it's wonderful entertainment and not just for kids.
   The guys, gals and assorted oddities from part one are joined by some excellent additions as Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) discovers that not only was his character a TV star but he is valuable, too, and has a corral-full of new friends. The key to the whole thing is great performances--ensemble acting at its very best. The fact that the players provide voices for brilliantly animated characters is almost incidental. It would still work with stick figures or possibly even a blank screen. Hanks and Tim Allen work off each other like the pros they are, and there is not a single weak link in the rest of the star-studded cast.
   That is not to take anything away from the visual magic. Director John Lasseter has set the bar for animation art to a rarefied level. It still has the basic look of the original--just better. Reflective surfaces have a whole new subtlety, and the more authentic-looking greenery obviously profited from the experience gained on "A Bug's Life."
   Some of the biggest laughs come from send-ups of familiar movies. Other grins are garnered by the limbo-dancing Barbies who are unable to bend at the knee, and you will love Wheezy the penguin doing his big-band version of "You've Got a Friend In Me" with voice courtesy of Robert Goulet. Voiced by Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer and Don Rickles. Directed by John Lasseter. Written by Andrew Stanton, Rita Hsiao, Doug Chamberlin & Chris Webb. Produced Helene Plotkin and Karen Robert Jackson. A Buena Vista release. Animated. Rated G. Running time: 85 min
Tags: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Don Rickles, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Rita Hsiao, Doug Chamberlin & Chris Webb. Produced Helene Plotkin, Karen Robert Jackson, A Buena Vista release, Animated, art, magic, toys, childhood

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