Toy Story 2

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Toy Story 2 Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Stunning, witty, exciting, enchanting, and moving.
  • G
  • 1999
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 54 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 114 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

No overtly educational content, but kids will learn about the importance of friendship and honesty.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.

Sexy Stuff

Very mild flirting between toy characters.

Language

Mild insults like "idiot" and "shut up."

Consumerism

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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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").

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byprotectourkidsnow May 6, 2014

Reference to suicide in a children's movie!!! What is wrong with this world.

When I heard "it's not a suicide mission" in this movie I was mortified. That is absolutely inappropriate for a children's movie. And we won... Continue reading
Parent of a 2 and 4-year-old Written byZubalove July 9, 2010

Perhaps more gentle for children than the first.

Great movie. Maybe better for kids than the first one. In the first film, you had to help your child understand why Woody was jealous. In this film, you may... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 29, 2018

ONE OF THE BEST SEQUELS EVER!!!!!!!!!!

Not as scary as the first movie and great sequel.
Teen, 16 years old Written bycatlover18 December 27, 2019

Great

It’s a great movie for little kids since the violence is not as intense, however, it had a lot of sad parts. The part with the Buzz Lightyear switcheroo was fun... Continue reading

What's the story?

In TOY STORY 2, Woody (again voiced by Tom Hanks) is stolen by devious toy store owner Al (Wayne Knight), who recognizes Woody as a valuable collectable. With Woody to complete his full set of toys from a 1950s TV show, Al can sell the collection to a toy museum in Tokyo. Woody is delighted to discover his origin and value -- and to meet up with Woody's Roundup co-stars Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl (Joan Cusack), Stinky Pete the Prospector (Kelsey Grammer), and faithful steed Bullseye. They tell Woody that he'll be better off in a museum than waiting for Andy to outgrow him -- and he starts to think they may be right. Meanwhile, Woody's friends organize a rescue mission led by Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) -- a series of hilarious and breathtaking adventures naturally ensues.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what the characters learn in Toy Story 2. Why does Woody worry about his future? What do Jessie and Pete the Prospector teach him? Are they right? 

  • Kids: What's your favorite toy? Why? Would you ever want to save it instead of play with it? Why is collecting stuff for its own sake a hollow pursuit?

  • How do the characters in Toy Story 2 demonstrate courage and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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