Column Two: Electric Boogaloo - Toy Story 2 (1999)

In the fourth instalment of our superior sequels quadrilogy, Helena Buchanan goes to infinity and beyond to look at Pixar’s first ever follow-up film - but is it truly better than the original feature-length computer animated film?

Helena Buchanan
13th March 2017

This article has brought on a mild existential crises. I grew up with the firm belief that I hated the original Toy Story, it was not merely the case that the second was better, but the first was a bad film. Having rewatched both of them however, I see how wrong I was, and indeed wonder where my prejudice came from.

I began by watching the second. It had been a bad day and I wanted to dispel my bad mood and believed that watching the first one would only worsen it. Having cheered myself exponentially, I felt strong enough to sit through the dreaded first and thus, I think, I discovered the source of my prejudice.

“I never realised how much I had underrated Evil Dr Pork Chop”

I am a purist at heart - I find it extremely difficult to ever admit that a sequel or adaptation can be better than an original. Much as I love both the film and the play, I must resist the urge to scream when someone refers to “that song from Mamma Mia!” rather than “that ABBA banger”. But the Toy Story conundrum has never been a challenge, though it contradicts the ‘superiority of the original’ complex integral to my soul. But, as I say, I believe I solved the riddle.

I watched the second Toy Story first. Not just on this occasion but in my life in general; I spent a large portion of my childhood believing Toy Story 2 was the name of the film, rather than an indicator that it was a sequel (I was a child OK whatever shut up) so when I watched the first it was like a weird prequel. (I’m not entirely sure if I’ve now overturned my own argument and ruined this column…)

Much as I have come to accept that the first Toy Story is, in fact, amazing (of course it is; the people who made the second and third could not have messed up that monumentally), I still believe (no, it is not stubbornness) that the second is the best.

Firstly, it’s the scene with Geri the toy repairman. I don’t know what is so satisfying about this, but it is fabulous. Secondly, Jessie. Who doesn’t love her? A sassy lady determined to save the characters at the end who won’t be put in a box. The development of characters besides Woody and Buzz also makes the second that much better; I never realised how much I had underrated Evil Dr Pork Chop.

Therefore, though scenes of Buzz drunk on Earl Grey and having an identity crisis and the moving moment when the conventionally unattractive toys fix rather than eat him, Toy Story 2 still wins. Controversial, I know, but that’s that.

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