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Click above to purchase "Toy Story 2 (Movie-Only)" at amazon.com

 

Toy Story 2
(Movie-Only)

review by Zach B.

Rated G

Studio: Disney

Running Time: 81 minutes

With the Voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Wallace Shawn, Jim Varney, Annie Potts, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammar, Wayne Knight, Jodi Benson

Directed by John Lasseter

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: "Luxo Jr." Short, Outtakes

Specs: 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, English Subtitles, Chapter Search, THX-Certified

I understand that some people want to own "Toy Story 2" seperate and don't want "Toy Story " (they're both great movies and I have to say if you don't want both, you're crazy but it's all opinion). Still, what Disney is doing with this movie-only edition is pretty much a rip. But more on that later. Let me talk about "Toy Story 2" first, a rare sequel that lives up, or many believe (including me) is better than the original.

Originally planned as a direct to video sequel, "Toy Story 2" turned out to be so good the Disney suits had them add more to it and release it in theaters. There were three versions of the movie: One that lasted a little over an hour, one that lasted about 75 minutes, and finally, the theatrical one, which had more story and more characters crammed into a little over 90 minutes.

"Toy Story 2" picks up right where the first one ended. The toys are settled into Andy's new house, everyone knows their place and they all get along really well. However, trouble begins to brew when Andy's mom holds a Yard Sale, and a little squeek penguin toy named Wheezy gets placed in a box to be bought, Woody goes out to rescue him. It is a succesful mission, but a greedy toy collector named Al notices Woody in the sale. When Andy's mom tells him he's not for sale, he goes out and takes Woody. It's up to Buzz and some of the other toys to get Woody back before Andy comes home from a summer camp. While Woody is with Al, Woody learns he is a really rare toy and from a "Howdy Doody" like show from the past, and Woody meets up with other, rare toys from the same show. While Woody decides about his future, to stay or leave, the other toys are well on their way to find him with some exciting and often really hilarious events. By the time the grand finale is reached, you'll be so impressed at what Pixar has done and by the end of the movie, you'll feel the impossible has been made possible.

Though I enjoyed the first "Toy Story" a lot, I found "Toy Story 2" to be far superior to what already was a cinematic achievment and movie landmark. The animation, which looked great to begin with is even more detailed and colorful. I thought the script was well written and the story more enjoyable than the first, and the whole creative process behind it amazing, plus the voice actors do another job well done, with the whole original cast returning and some nice performances from Joan Cusack and Kelsey Grammar. What also makes "Toy Story 2" such a marvel is the fact that it's no longer confied to a specific area, it's all over the place. The original "Toy Story" was pretty much kept to Andy's house, Sid's house, Pizza planet and a few scenes outdoors. "Toy Story 2" is all over the place. The outside roads with cars, "Al's Toy Barn" toy store, the elevator shaft, outside Al's apartment, Al's apartment, it goes on and on and on. Simply put, "Toy Story 2" goes beyond the original and is one amazing movie, and one amazing sequel.

So many of us were really, really impressed with "A Bug's Life" and the wonderful digital to digital transfer, and "Toy Story 2" uses this same transfer method. It is properly framed at 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen, what you get is probably the cleanest, sharpest, dazzling picture to ever grace the DVD format. Everything is simply perfect and dead on. Blacks are solid, colors don't smear but are really bright and colorful, detail is amazing. I can rave on and on about this transfer. Simply put, it ranks as one of the best transfers ever. I did find a flaw in "Toy Story 2", though: there is some really slight shimmer now and then. Still, it's all jaw dropping and great eye candy. Bravo Pixar!

"Toy Story 2" is 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, and I found surrounds to be more plentiful, wider and more dynamic. You can feel the tension with Woody at the yard sale, when Buzz and Zurg battle it out in the elevator shaft and of course, that excellent opening scene is perfect to show off how breahtaking and exciting the sound can be.

You get the set of Outtakes, complete in 5.1 Dolby Digital EX (but full frame). These were used to lure people back in the theater a month after the movie was released, and I think this is a new Pixar tradition, to have outtakes in their films. These outtakes are pretty funny and enjoyable.

The short Luxo Jr., which was nominated for an Oscar® in 1986, is presented here in widescreen. This short has always been a favorite of mine, as we see the father and son lamp Luxo Sr. and Luxo Jr. play a little ball. Luxo is the lamp in the Pixar logo, in case you don't know.

Disney, Disney, Disney... here's where you go wrong. While "Luxo Jr." is a fantastic short and the outtakes are funny, thirty bucks definently deserves more features. Perhaps the "Toy Story 2" stuff from The Ultimate Toy Box? Considering that Disney put out a two pack, for ten bucks more you can get a whole other movie and the features there. Again, I understand some want to own just the movie, but for this price against the two pack and the three disc set, it seems like a rip. If you buy each film seperate, a bit more than ten bucks more will you get the box.

I heard Disney is stop making the two-pack, so get your hands on that while you can. Great sequel, incredible presentation, but for thirty bucks and a little short as well as the outtakes shown in theaters, you'll definently want more, especially against the other sets that are out on the market (again, check out my features sections how this single disc holds up against the sets). Unless you have cash to blow, don't care about features or other comparisons and stuff, "Toy Story 2" by itself is here for you...

(5/5 - NOT included in final score)

(5/5)

(5/5)

(.5/5)

(2.5/5, NOT an average)

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