It’s been forever since I have seen the previous movies. I think I watched the original film sometime in the late ’90s, because of its positive reviews. I have relatively few memories of it. The second film I watched some time in the aughts, at a time when I was certainly unwilling to appreciate it. I can’t swear that I watched the whole thing. Reading the plot now, I think I didn’t actually see it and so I feel little weird watching and reviewing this movie. But here I am, I’ve watched it because it is so highly rated and it was way at the top of my list. I may have no memory of either previous movie, but I’ve seen this as an adult. So, here goes…
The opening does a really good job of portraying a silly scenario a child would dream up. It’s full of deus ex machinas that make no sense. This is really good example of adults understanding children.
The film also does a good job of teasing the children that terrible things have happened to the toys. It happens twice early on and a few more times at the climax. I imagine some younger kids also find it upsetting.
Like so many kids movies of this era, there are jokes that are meant entirely for adults. Like the Gary Wright, “Dream Weaver” cue or the dinosaur messaging joke. But there aren’t that many of them. It mostly avoids that pitfall.
I think this is a pretty good kids movie. And I do think it really didn’t matter that I hadn’t seen the first film in decades and maybe never actually saw the entirety of the second. The film works regardless, which is what you want from sequels (or at least what I think we should want from sequels). I understand why it’s so well regarded.