Toy Story 2 Was The Biggest Time Crunch Pixar Had Ever Faced

Any movie that makes it past all the red tape of a major motion picture production and furthermore survives the many cooks in the creative kitchen is a miracle, but Pixar's "Toy Story 2" was miraculous even by miracle standards. In a previous post, we detailed how the third Pixar film and first sequel (after "Toy Story" and "A Bug's Life") was almost lost to the winds of an accidental deletion in the company's computer system forever. However, that is just one setback that the team behind it faced during the film's production. Another major challenge was the accelerated timeline needed for animation.

This is something that Pixar itself has since chronicled in a short video, posted on the company's official YouTube channel, which you can see below. In "Studio Stories: Sleep Deprivation Lab — Toy Story 2," the voice of Lindsey Collins, who has since gone on to produce more recent Pixar films like "Turning Red," narrates the behind-the-scenes woes that occurred for the animators of the first "Toy Story" sequel, released in 1999.

'It was like a psych experiment'

In the video, Collins explains how "Toy Story 2" director John Lasseter and other members of Pixar's braintrust sat down to evaluate "Toy Story 2" in the fall of 1998, only to come away feeling that the movie "needed to get completely rewritten." Making a Pixar film would normally be a 4-year process, but suddenly, the animators of "Toy Story 2" found themselves faced with a 7- or 8-month deadline. Collins says that the team was frequently "working 36 to 48 hours straight." As she puts it in the video:

"It was like a psych experiment. Okay, there's a two-way mirror somewhere with some psychologist in a white coat saying, 'Now make the [system] crash.'"

Den of Geek notes that members of the "Toy Story 2" team were regularly working shifts in excess of ten hours and that 30% of them developed carpal tunnel syndrome or some other form of repetitive stress injury. This created drama in the work environment and left people's emotions running high so that they were "bursting into tears," as Collins describes it. One editor who hated tomatoes even freaked out randomly after finding one in her sandwich.

"Toy Story 2" still holds a perfect 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so at least some good came out of its relationship with that particular vegetable. While these working conditions were obviously far from ideal and in some cases, even detrimental to people's health, Pixar reportedly changed its policies so that its employees would never have to go through such an ordeal again. The silver lining, for Collins, was a tight sequel forged by the fires of enormous pressure. She says of "Toy Story 2:"

"I actually think it's the example of the tightest film that's ever come out of the studio. I don't think there's a wasted frame in it. And if we'd had three years, if the movie would have been any better ... but I think the movie might have actually suffered from having more time."

"Toy Story 2" is now streaming on Disney+.