Toy Story 2
Directed by John Lasseter, Ash Brannon and Lee Unkrich
Written by the above and a bunch more people as well. Gotta love these committees of writers.
Unlike the first movie which is about dealing with change and accepting others, Toy Story 2 is about growing older and moving on (or refusing to). At the start Woody has a crisis over a ripped arm and Andy’s mother saying that toys don’t last forever. He imagines Andy giving him up and vanishing into a trash can. The allegory with Wheezy is very close to the whole putting a loved one into an old folks home kind of thing.
When he is stolen by Al for a collection he initially does try to run home all the same, but it’s easy enough for Jessie and Stinky Pete to convince him that there’s another possible life for him, now that he’s past his best. The character study of Jessie and Pete is pretty fascinating actually. She has claustrophobia and something like bipolar as well, she has a very intense grin and very wide eyes. Pete is, of course, extremely disturbed by the years he’s spent sitting in his box, watching other toys get purchased.
Bullseye is a silent toy, which is kind of unusual, all the other animal toys can speak, but I guess it simplifies the script some. The relationship of Woody to Jessie and Bullseye is a little disturbing, because he’s the central character in their mythos and also in the movie it kind of reads like obsessive hero worship. They only exist around him, which… makes sense in terms of them as toys but less so in terms of characters.
It’s a reversal of the first plot of Woody trying to bring Buzz back. Instead Buzz is leading some of the other toys to rescue Woody. I remember seeing this for the first time and loving the sequence when they’re crossing the road under road cones.
I still love the sequence of Woody getting ‘cleaned’, it’s sad – because the name on the bottom of his boot gets removed, but it’s a very satisfying wee bit anyway. Something about watching a job well done, watching something get fixed and cleaned, it’s nice to watch.
There’s a little nightmare moment in the toy store when Buzz is attacked in the Buzz Lightyear aisle and forced into a box. The camera zooms out, showing him just one amongst hundreds of identical toys, screaming for help with no way of getting himself free. If that’s not horror then I dunno what is.
I know Jessie’s song ‘when she loved me’ is about a girl and her doll but the lyrics aren’t specific, it could work very well as a song about a lesbian break up. The song has a horribly sad feel to it, about endings and loving someone even when they’ve moved on. Jessie is left by the side of the road, watching in horror as Emily drives away. It’s a heart tearing moment of guilt, because haven’t we all had precious toys that we have let go of as we grew? What if all of them felt that way?
I feel like they were stretching a bit far when it comes to the scope of the climax and the action sequence with the plane. I mean, it’s a movie about toys which walk and talk but I feel like it stretches credibility to have them driving and diving out of a plane’s cargo hold. It’s a small complaint though, especially when the end is so sweet.
Does it make me love the people?
Bechdel test: In this installment we have Jessie, Bo Peep and Mrs Potato Head, then Tour Guide Barbie but at no point do they talk to each other. There are also human girls and Andy’s mom but they again, only talk to men.
It’s gotta be this, right?
Emperor Zurg: Surrender, Buzz Lightyear. *I* have won.
Buzz Lightyear: I’ll never give in. You killed my father!
Emperor Zurg: No, Buzz. I *am* your father!
Buzz Lightyear: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
State of Mind: Lovely movie. Still makes me cry every time. And feel guilty about my old toys. And want to hug them. And my news ones. Emotions. (PS. you’ll have to wait ages for my review of Toy Story 3 due to its spot on the list.)