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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No overtly educational content, but kids will learn about the importance of friendship and honesty.
The movie has strong positive themes about loyalty, friendship, courage and teamwork. Characters learn lessons about themselves and others. Strong message about enjoying life's joys.
Positive Role Models
The toy characters once again go to great lengths to rescue a friend in trouble. The movie's villain is clearly motivated by greed and eventually gets his comeuppance. A supporting character betrays one of the main characters due to his own hurts and suspicion -- but this is clearly shown to be wrong. Feisty Jessie is a welcome addition to the gang.
Violence & Scariness
Some tense scenes show the main characters in peril. Some slapstick falls; characters fight/grapple (but no one is seriously hurt). One battle scene turns out to be from a video game. In the 3-D version, a couple of scenes can be briefly scary, like when Buzz's nemesis Zurg is featured. Characters' separation from their friends/loved ones could be upsetting to some younger kids.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Very mild flirting between toy characters.
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Mild insults like "idiot" and "shut up."
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Products & Purchases
Several of the Toy Story characters are recognizable brands (like Barbie, Ken, and Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head). And beyond that, the Toy Story franchise has the potential for the most merchandising tie-ins of any kid-targeted movie series. Toys, action figures, books, party supplies, plush dolls, you name it -- Disney's Toy Story characters are everywhere, especially kid favorites Woody and Buzz Lightyear. A large part of the movie takes place inside a toy store; companies/brands like Playskool and Mattel are mentioned by name -- other toy brands depicted include Operation, Tinker Toys, and Mouse Trap.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Toy Story 2 is just as delightful as the first movie (as is the next one in the series, Toy Story 3). The plot again finds the toys banding together to rescue a fellow toy in peril; the fact that characters are separated from their loved ones could scare or upset the youngest viewers. There are also some tense scenes with characters in danger (though no one gets seriously hurt) and a very poignant sequence involving Jessie the Cowgirl. But there's no sex, strong language, drinking, or other iffy content, and kids who watch will take away positive messages about teamwork, friendship, and loyalty. Note: The 3-D version of the movie includes a couple of brief scenes that might spook the youngest viewers, like the evil Zurg trying to blast Buzz, but otherwise the digital effects are played for laughs (or, as the green squeeze-toy aliens would say, "Oooh ... aaah"). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film is stunning, witty, exciting, enchanting, and very moving, and amazingly, it's just as good as the sensationally entertaining original. The animation is better -- the main characters' facial expressions should have qualified the animators for a Best Actor Oscar, and the backgrounds are more authentically lived in. And the script is excellent. It's very, very funny, with sly references to classic films, and it's also insightful and touching, with a sort of Velveteen Rabbit theme about the important role that a well-loved toy plays in the life of a child.
In these days when 8-year-olds can talk knowledgeably about the extra value that a "mint" tag adds to a Beanie Baby auction on Ebay, it's enormously valuable to think about the issue that Woody faces in Toy Story 2. Should he have a brief but satisfying life as the beloved friend of a child who will eventually grow up and leave him bereft? Or should he remain perfectly preserved and perpetually honored as a museum exhibit? It's a hard choice, but one that gets at the very heart of what growing up really means.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.