Review by Robert Mann.
Following the re-release of the first Toy Story film in three dimensions late last year, Disney are now delivering Pixar’s only sequel to date in the 3D format as well. Of course, as with its predecessor, this 3D version of Toy Story 2 is really little more than marketing for the upcoming release of the long awaited Toy Story 3 in cinemas this summer, providing the opportunity for those unfamiliar with the Toy Story films to become acquainted with the series prior to the third film’s release. So, the question remains as to whether it really is worth spending your hard earned money to see it, particularly with the additional surcharge for the extra dimension. After all, many will have already seen the film many times or perhaps even own it so, while the film’s quality is certainly not in doubt – it is as much an animation masterpiece now as it was in 1999 – there might not be that much to make paying so much to see this film actually worthwhile. Still, regardless, it was a masterpiece of animation then and it is still a masterpiece of animation now.
Many people reading will likely know the plot of Toy Story 2 already but for anyone who doesn’t here is a recap: When young Andy (voiced by John Morris) heads off to Cowboy Camp, Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen), Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and the rest of Andy’s faithful toys – Mr. Potato Head (voiced by Don Rickles), Slinky Dog (voiced by Jim Varney), Rex (voiced by Wallace Shawn), Hamm (voiced by John Ratzenberger), Bo Beep (voiced by Annie Potts) and Sergeant (voiced by R. Lee Ermey) – are left to their own devices. Their happy routine is shattered when an obsessive toy collector named Al McWhiggin (voiced by Wayne Knight), owner of Al’s Toy Barn, kidnaps Woody. At Al’s apartment, Woody discovers that he is a highly valued collectible from a 1950s TV show called ‘Woody’s Roundup’, and he meets the other prized toys from that show – Jessie the cowgirl (voiced by Joan Cusack), Bullseye the horse and Stinky Pete the Prospector (voiced by Kelsey Grammer). Andy’s toys must mount a daring rescue mission and, as Buzz Lightyear finally meets his match, Woody has to decide where his heart truly belongs.
As with the re-release of the first Toy Story film in the 3D format last year, this 3D re-release of Toy Story 2 heightens the aesthetics of the animation but doesn’t bring anything new to the fold. The animation has held up extremely well, still looking amazing ten years on and gaining from the crisp, clear digital presentation it gets here but due to the fact that the film was never made to be shown in 3D, the extra dimension doesn’t add as much as in many other recent 3D films. This isn’t to say that the 3D isn’t good, as the effects are much better than they were in the film’s predecessor, but it does highlight the limitations presented in converting a 2D film into 3D. 3D aside, however, the film has lost none of its impact. The story and humour are still superb, with memorable and humorous characters who we can really care about – an impressive feat considering that they are toys – a truly fleshed out plot and a combination of hilarious gags for the younger viewers and witty in-jokes for the more observant. Be sure to stay through the credits, as well, for some truly hilarious ‘outtakes’ featuring the characters – it’s really saying something that the credits are the funniest part of the film because the film as a whole is hilarious. The voice cast too is no less excellent, with everyone doing a great job of humanizing their toy characters. However, though, these are aspects which are just as present on the DVD and BluRay of the film so, while the film looks amazing in 3D, if you already own Toy Story 2 at home it may not be worth forking out the inflated ticket price to see it in 3D.
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