David BruceToy Story 2 is an important film, not just because of the incredible technology, artistry and humor, but because of the story itself. Here is the meaning of friendship and community.
-Review by David Bruce
(November 24, 1999)

This page was created on November 24, 1999,
and was last updated on May 23, 2005
Directed by Ash Brannon and John Lasseter
Writing credits: John Lasseter (story) and Peter Docter

Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Joan Cusack as Jessie
Kelsey Grammer as Stinky Pete the Prospector
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Jim Varney as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
Wayne Knight as Al McWhiggin
John Morris as Andy
Laurie Metcalf as Andy's Mom
Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head
R. Lee Ermey as Sarge
Jodi Bensonas Barbie

USA - November 24th 1999, UK - February 4th 2000
Australia - December 2nd 1999, Brazil - December 25th 1999
Denmark - February 11th 2000, Malaysia - December 2nd 1999
Mexico - December 24th 1999, New Zealand - December 2nd 1999
Singapore - December 2nd 1999, Sweden - February 4th 2000

The meaning and importance of friendship and community.
Sequel to the 1995 CG-animated hit. This time around, Andy goes off to summer camp and the toys are left to their own devices. Things shift into high gear when an obsessive toy collector kidnaps Woody -- who hasn't the slightest clue that he is a greatly valued collectible. It's now up to Buzz Lightyear and the gang from Andy's room -- Mr. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, Rex, and Hamm -- to spring into action and save their pal from winding up a museum piece. The toys get into one predicament after another in their daring race to find him and get back home before Andy does.   
I thought it would be interesting to review this film in a little different manner than I usually do. Instead of noting all the spiritual insights, I thought I would note all the secret jokes and tributes. There is so much going on in the film that makes it fun to watch.

On Thanksgiving Day we all went to see this film as a family. We have a wide array of ages. Everyone loved it. It worked at all levels. It is a family film of the highest order.

The bottom line in this movie is that we can all live together in harmony. We can work through our difficulties with the help of friends. We can form a loving community in spite of differences.
A Review by Mark Storm

There is a wonderful, beautiful old piece of wisdom; "To thine own self be true!" Toy Story 2 shows how apt this ancient apothegm is for everyone. Of course, we all have to first of all learn what our true selves are, don't we, before we can be true to it!

Woody learns this the hard way. When offered fame beyond his wildest dreams (to be an exhibit in a Toy Museum in Japan) the lure and glamour of it all go right to his head! Who can blame him? Wouldn't any one of us think the same way if we suddenly discovered that we had a t.v. series and comics and the whole shebang all based upon ones self?

And if we had been through what poor Jesse had been through; once loved, included in every game, favoured... only to be later ignored, and then sold off... and left to rot in the bottom of a black pit... wouldn't we feel betrayed and hurt and ready to jump at the chance to be celebrated again?

The hunger for fame is symptomatic of the deeper hunger for love and appreciation; it seems to be very much a sad indictment of America's corroding values, that so many Americans ache for transient fame. How timely is this movie!

But when the toys realise that being a static object in a museum, a frozen entity, an icon, means really to be as good as dead... then Woody suddenly realises what life (for a toy, anyway!) is all about; being loved, included, wanted and enjoyed.
Do any of us really want to be an icon? An object of fame? A forever frozen snapshot of a past era? Who wants to be kept in a glass case, valued only for their nostalgia value?

In a film with a lot of beautiful moments, my heart sang when Jesse learned that Woody's owner has a little sister: "A little sister!?" she shouts, triumphantly. "Well why didn't you say so!?"

Gee... what a tough choice she has to make. One can imagine her thoughts; "Gosh... let me see now, do I want to be a glass case, forever a fragment of history... ? Or do I want to be part of the game of life again; with all it's strife, and joy, and fear, and sorrow and wonder and beauty?"

This is a choice?!!

Buzz Lightyear learned it in the first installment of Toy Story; you're a toy. Woody re-learns it in the second... Jesse never really forgot it.

We're not toys... but like the characters in Toy Story 2 we are meant to take life for all it is; laughter, pain, sorrow, joy, wonder, grief, loss,
triumph... the whole package.

To thine own self be true. Would we really be happy with any great Toymaker and Owner who made it any other way?
I invite you to send in your thoughts and comments.
Bulletin Board:

Date: Thu, 24 May 2001
From: Jon

Hi there, I have just discovered your website and am really impressed with it. I thought I would send you illustration I have used from Toy Story 1.

In the scene where Buzz jumps into the Claw game thinking it to be a space ship, I see a lesson for all Christians. I see the aliens as being symbolic of many Christians today. We sit in our church, safe and secure, in our beliefs (The claw decides who will stay and who will go, "I go to a better place"). When a stranger comes into our churches we react we curioustity (A stranger, from the outside). The aliens expect Buzz to accept their beliefs without question, when Buzz is chosen by the Claw, they exclaim "you have been chosen".

How often do we as Christians sit in our churches, waiting for someone from the outside to come in. When they do, how often do we expect them to accept our beliefs, traditions, and practises without question. Do we just try to turn them into another clone of us looking, dressing, behaving the same that every other person in our churches does. Surely we should step out of environment to reach the lost, we should accept them as they are, God made us all different, he delights in our diversity. Let's make God ( and church) more accessible to the lost (without compromising the message or our integrity). We need to show a God who loves people for who they are and what he can make them into, not for who they will be if they follow our traditions.

Hope you find this interesting
Jonathan Hardwick
Surrey United Kingdom

Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000
From: Bryon

I am a 19 year old university student at a Christian University. This has probably been the most popular movie of the semester. I, myself have seen it three times. I absolutely loved it. Although I'm sure kid's love talking toy's and all, I feel most of this movie had joke's and things that only older people would get. As mentioned already, the Forrest Gump humor more than likely isn't going to be picked up by kid's. I think these are the kind of thing's that made this movie enjoyable for those tall enough to ride in go-carts by ourselves. The way the directors dropped things in the movie that we weren't expecting. For instance, I loved the way they brought the Old Chess guy into the movie. Or the way the New Buzz had a quality bonding experience with "dad" It was a cartoon, so what?! It was enjoyable! Just wanted to let you know it was ranked # 1 by Southwestern Assemblies of God University!

My response: Everyone loves this film. It was #3 in 1999, 1 = Phantom, 2 = Sixth Sense, and 3 = Toy Story 2

Subject: A few more "secret" jokes and tributes.
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000

After reading through those you offered initially, here's a few more for you:

1. Buzz runs after the Toy Collector after he has taken Woody, however he fails to catch them. As Buzz watches them drive off, a feather (presumably from Al's Chicken suit) floats down to the ground ala the floating feather from Forrest Gump.

2. As the toys contemplate crossing the road to the Toy Barn, Slinky says, "I might not be a smart dog, but I know what road kill is." Again a Forrest Gump reference, "I may not be a smart man but I know what love is."

3. Note that Emperor Zurgg's blaster goes up to "11" - perhaps a reference to the legendary "This is Spinal Tap" scene where the boys from the band rave about the volume of their amplifiers.

Youth Minister - Toowoomba West Uniting Church
49 Wallace St., Toowoomba, 4350.

Subject: REVIEW
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000
From: Mark Storm

Hi there!

It's been a while since I wrote a review of a movie for Hollywood Jesus, because it seems that there are far too many good reviewers out there! Bother and blast... they always beat me to it!

Anyway... many of the reviews pretty well point out the obvious messages of most of the more prominent movies screening lately. Eg; End of Days is a strong reminder to us all that faith in Christ is founded upon the realisation of PERSONAL redemption - and that our relationship to Him should begin and continue henceforth from that perspective. Only when the character played by Arnie realises that, is he able to find strength to resist evil.

Moving on.

My response: The balance of Mark's letter contains a review of Toy Story 2 which I posted above. Enjoy.

Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999
From: Nick

Woody is given the choice of prominent display at a Japanese museum, or an obscure existence within a family where he may be ignored as Andy grows up. Hmmm.... kinda like the struggle between worldly prominence and the family. The film is a tremendous endorsement of giving up worldly recognition so that the family would remain intact. I'm not entirely certain if this is what John Lassetter intended (he has never said so in interviews). But the near-universal acclaim of this film, pointing to the poignancy of the story--both sides offer a good--show that the dramatic tension resonates deep within all of us, and I believe that this struggle between fame (with superficial worldly love) and obscurity (with deep-rooted family love) is the reason. At a time where many prominent religious celebrities are having shattered marriages, this resonates all the more.

Toy Story 2  © 1999 Disney/Pixlar. All Rights Reserved.

Toy Story 2 ©Disney/Pixar
Original Toy Story elements ©Disney. All rights reserved.
Mr. Potato Head® and Mrs. Potato Head® are registered trademarks of Hasbro, Inc.
©Hasbro, Inc. All rights reserved.
Slinky© Dog ©James Ind.