Friday, August 22, 2008


Sequels are notoriously tricky to pull-off. On the one hand, people who go to see a sequel want to see the same thing that they saw before. They want to relive the adventures of the same characters and experience a similar feeling as they did during the original. On the other hand, they want something different. If there is any hint of 'copy-catting' the first one then the audience will feel simply bored at best. Needless to say, this creates a tough balancing act that has seen very mixed results in the history of cinema.
This movie is one of those rare times (Dark Knight being a notable recent example) where the sequel very well may be better than the original! What an accomplishment! As this movie begins, we know the characters, we know their weaknesses and their strengths, and we know what is important to them; so where do you make a character arc from there?! Well, Pixar answered that question with flair.
In this film, Woody is presented with a choice. He can either choose to live forever in a loveless, sterile world; or he can live with his owner who loves him. Seems like an easy choice, right? Well, what if there was no guarantee that the owner would always love him? This then, is the decidedly adult choice that this 'kids movie' character must face, and it resonates with the audience because it is a decision that we all must face at some point in our lives. Do we give our hearts to others even though they may at some point break them, or do we keep them locked up; safe, sterile, and hard? 
This heart and pathos is what gives the movie its core. It makes the jokes funnier, the stakes higher, and the characters more endearing. For most of the movie, you don't even seem to be watching toys anymore, but old buddies who you actually care for! One last thing; with the recent announcement that there will be a third film in the series one has to wonder if the trend will continue. The history of successful 'thirds' is positively elite compared to simply sequels (in fact, off the top of my head i can only think of Harry Potter, Bourne, and Lord of the Rings). However, i have learned to simply have faith in this studio, as they have yet (in my opinion) to make a single bad movie...

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