Maybe it was just a general spirit of thanksgiving in the air, but Christian critics rolled out the red carpet to welcome Toy Story 2 with some of their most unqualified praise in recent years. Moviegoers also welcomed the film eagerly, propelling it to the third-biggest opening of all time.

Toy Story 2 ($57.7 million)

Only fellow sequels The Lost World and The Phantom Menace can boast larger opening weekend tallies, but neither can match the nearly universal critical acclaim that Disney's Toy Story 2 is enjoying. Mainstream and Christian reviews alike are trumpeting the film's story, energy, wit, animation, and heart. Jason Murphy, guest reviewer for Christian Spotlight, says "it's rare that I find a movie where I find myself laughing half to death, choking back tears, AND walking out of the theater with a huge giddy grin on my face." The second outing for Woody, Buzz, and the gang (who, if you missed the original, are a collection of computer-animated children's toys) finds Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) on a mission to rescue Woody (Tom Hanks) from an antiques collector who's stolen him to complete a set of "Woody's Roundup" dolls. The film's emotional core centers on Woody's choice between returning to his owner and staying with the rest of his new "Roundup" friends. Critics praised the film for wrestling with such weighty issues as identity and purpose, although it's interesting to note the many conclusions reviewers gleaned from these examinations. Focus on the Family's Bob Smithouser saw the owner/toy relationship as parallel to that of friends: "Parents can use this as a metaphor to help children understand the pain of losing a friend who simply outgrew the relationship or shifted loyalties." For Ted Baehr, editor of ...

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