demi adejuyigbe’s review published on Letterboxd:
a selection of notes i took while watching Toy Story 2:
• It’s amazing that we were all shocked at how dark the third film was when the first two films in this series are also extremely depressing and existential. The 1st deals with Buzz’s hero delusion and identity crisis and this one deals with obsolescence and where a person belongs. Then you also deal with the conflict of duty towards your genetic family vs. your adoptive family, the preservation of yourself vs. the preservation of a community, PTSD, disability, the us vs. them “takeover” dynamic that also exists in discussions about immigration/race, etc. The entire series also has a premise that involves this nuts ass slave-like subservience for the sake of survival in their need to freeze when people are looking. Am I reading way too much into it? Probably. But also, no– these films are written by a room of people who undoubtedly are thinking about all of these themes for the entire time that they’re writing. It’s astounding how thoughtful this G rated franchise is!!
• The thing about this series that really makes me smile is how the minor mechanics of the toys are absolutely BRILLIANT. Down to the small things– using the Etch-A-Sketch to copy a map they see on TV, turning spilled Cheetos into a mini-minefield, the physical comedy of their obliviousness through the road crossing sequence. I can’t IMAGINE how fucking fun it was to write this! The creative team at Pixar are absolute geniuses and you should all be embarrassed for ever worrying about them making a 4th one!!!
• Gerty cameo!!
• There’s something super depressing about seeing Buzz’s disillusionment with his former identity contested against a version of himself that still believes in his programmed identity
• The B and C stories of these movies would be the GOOD A stories of a lesser film, but Pixar writes these movies like they’re entire seasons of a TV show
• “Beef jerky, very expensive over there”
• man, how can you not love the cute little movie winks they throw in here, like Rex running after the car a la Jurassic Park
• The three-film set up of the claw being in part 1 and the aliens being eternally grateful in part 2, all for the payoff at the end of part 3– absolutely one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever seen.
• I miss the blooper era! Especially when that’s how they made a sequel fun, like in this one and Rush Hour 2.
This is one of the greatest adventure films of all time.