Toy Story 3 (2010) takes place about 11 years after the second film; Andy (now a teenager) heads to college, and the plot follows the adventures of Andy's childhood toys as they are accidentally donated to a daycare center for a new generation of kids to enjoy, much to the toys' dismay.The film, like the previous entries in the Toy Story series, received critical acclaim, and was a box office success. It grossed $110,307,189 on its opening weekend, breaking the record for the highest grossing opening weekend for a Pixar film. Overall, it made $1.063 billion worldwide, making it the first animated movie to gross over $1 billion at the box office.
"Trope Story 3":
555: Andy's cell phone number is 555-0112, written on Buzz's wrist for use in "Operation: Playtime."
Accent Adaptation: Given the very clear nature of Buzz' Spanish dance moves, some of the Spanish-language dubs keep him Spanish, but give him a thick Andalusian accent, of the "huge lisp" variety (Like the one the Puss in Boots has)
Actionized Sequel: With this being number 3 in a trilogy fifteen years in the making, character introductions are almost moot point, with even more dramatic escape sequences taking place in comparison to its predecessors.
Advertised Extra: Stretch the octopus is displayed prominently on the DVD cover, despite having about ten minutes of screen time.
Anachronism Stew: The opening scene. There's Woody and Jessie, the cowboy and cowgirl, chasing Potato Head on a 19th century style steam train. Then a pink sports car turns up, then spaceman Buzz Lightyear and later Slinky Dog is some sort of high tech forcefield dog contraption. Hamm has a pig-shaped spaceship, with a cockpit filled with computers, lights and a teleporter and a Wave Motion Gun in the snout. Finally, there's Rex, the dinosaur. Justified in that this is all a story made up by a six year old and the ludicrous nature of it is clearly powered by his sense of Rule of Cool.
This scene is a retelling of the first two movies' opening sequences blended together.
Be Careful What You Wish For: At the beginning, the toys want nothing more than to be played with again. When they get to Sunnyside, they get what they want. Boy howdy, do they get it. And considering how disgruntled they were at the prospect of being stuck in the attic, by the end of the adventure attitudes seem to have changed somewhat in-between courtesy of Sunnyside and the Dump:
Mr. Potato Head: You know all that bad stuff I said about Andy's attic? I take it all back. Hamm: You said it.
Berserk Button: Lotso really should not have broken the name tag in front of Big Baby.
Beware the Nice Ones: Lotso, after he hears the concept of family love, shifts into his darker side and becomes one of the most nightmarish villains Pixar has ever made.
Do not threaten Barbie's friends if you know what's good for you.
Big Brother Instinct: At the end of the movie Andy gives all of his toys to Bonnie, with the prompting of Woody writing her address on a sticky note which he put on top the box of toys initially meant for the attic. When Bonnie is initially scared of the strange older boy approaching her, Andy kneels down at her eye level to introduce himself and describe all of his toys to Bonnie. The scene ends with Andy and Bonnie playing with all of their toys in Bonnie's front yard before Andy drives off to college.
Also with his own sister. After some light back-and-forth bickering, when Andy sees Molly having trouble with a heavy box he helps her out at once, dropping the trash bag the toys are in.
Book Ends: The film begins with a shot of a blue sky with uniquely shaped clouds (the one of Andy's old wallpaper). It ends with a shot into the blue sky with the same uniquely shaped clouds. (Also, the first Toy Story begins with the same sky, making this a series-wide Book Ends).
Especially awesome when you remember the line from the first movie, "The claw chooses who will go and who will stay." They were right!
The triceratops is one as well; at the end of the first movie, Rex was talking about how he would love for Andy to get an herbivore so he could play the dominant predator. Look who he ends up paling around with during the credits of the third movie?
Call Back: God bless the poor soul who watched this movie before the first two. Some references to the previous films are quick and may not even make sense without that context. A partial list:
To the first movie:
Many lines in the film's opening are taken directly from the original film's opening, including One-Eyed Bart, his "ha ha ha, money money money!" line, his "attack dog with built-in force field", and the opposing "dinosaur who eats force field dogs."
Andy looks over Woody and Buzz, picks them up, and chooses one. The framing echoes when he was putting toys into the chest during the "Strange Things" sequence. This time he chooses Woody for college.
Woody's "It doesn't matter how much we're played with, what matters is that we're here for Andy when he needs us." is invoked in the beginning.
Woody hosts a staff meeting and asks Slinky to gather everyone (only this time Slinky doesn't have nearly as many toys to gather).
The Army Men (or what's left of them) go on recon missions for the other toys, this time getting Andy's cell phone.
Andy's mom finds stuff that Andy left lying around, and gets upset: the army men in the first movie (though he didn't do it) and a trash bag in the third.
Trixie reminds us about how Rex wanted a plant-eating dinosaur to be one of Andy's presents.
A little girl (Bonnie instead of Sid's sister Hannah) inserts a main character (this time Woody instead of Buzz) into a tea party she's having with other toys.
When Bonnie hugs Woody and the toys after playing with them after the imaginary spaceship, Buttercup winking at Woody is a callback in the first movie when Andy picks up Woody and Buzz when they land in the car and Woody and Buzz wink at each other.
The truck Lotso, Big Baby, and Chuckles ride on the back of is the Pizza Planet delivery truck.
Buzz's dialogue after Woody and the others attempt to reset him is the exact same as his dialogue when he first came out of his box... except in Spanish. Also, he aims his laser right at the center of Woody's forehead... which is exactly what he did upon meeting Woody for the first time in the first movie. You can also see that the sticker that represents the radio he has on his wrist is no longer there, because Buzz himself peeled it off in the first movie.
One scene during Andy and Bonnie's playtime is Andy carrying Woody on his shoulders, which he did at the start of the title sequence for the first movie.
The last shot we see at the end of the film is a bright blue sky with clouds, the exact same as Andy's wallpaper which introducedToy Story.
The wing section of the Buzz Lightyear manual ends with "NOT A FLYING TOY", a warning flashed in a Buzz Lightyear toy commercial that caused Buzz's Heroic BSOD.
The last toy Woody holds hands with during the Incinerator Scene is not Buzz, but Slinky, Woody's friend before Buzz showed up.
"THE CLAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWW!" was originally mentioned by the aliens in the first movie.
To the second movie:
Evil Doctor Porkchop and Death by Monkeys in the opening.
Jessie commenting, "It's Emily all over again!"
Jessie yodels multiple times and calls for animals, which is mildly confusing without knowing those were her character traits on the show within the movieWoody's Roundup.
Woody tries to ride Buster to yet another rescue mission, but Buster has gotten too old and chubby to do this anymore.
Woody attempts to slide down the drainpipe in order to save the rest of the toys. He fails. Epically.
While Woody and Buzz are looking at a young picture of Andy, Woody comments that they'll be together "For infinity and beyond".
Hamm claims dibs on Barbie's Corvette car when she's thrown into the Sunnyside box. He enjoyed driving the car around the aisles of Al's Toy Barn.
Using Slinky as a bungee cord: When the toys reach Andy's house again, they climb to the roof of the garage, which leads to his bedroom window. The camera angle is the exact same as when the toys leave to rescue Woody in Toy Story 2.
Zurg was referenced in the first movie, but you wouldn't recognize him in his cameo unless you saw Toy Story 2.
Jessie's panic attacks at the thought of going into storage, again.
A tiny one: Golf clubs are instrumental in the rescue of a toy in both films. With varied results.
A Freeze-Frame Bonus in the Buzz Lightyear instruction manual. The Accessories section mentions that the Buzz Lightyear Utility Belt is "coming soon!". The other Buzz from the second film had a utility belt.
If you look carefully at Woody's right arm, it's got red stitching different from the left along the shoulder, which is where Andy sewed his arm back on.
In The Climax of the second film, Prospector asks Woody if he thinks Andy will take him to college. The opening of this film has Andy preparing to leave for college...guess who he plans on taking with him?
Stinky Pete fulfilled his end of the deal to get Barbie a bigger role in Toy Story 3.
To both films:
A very good portion of the film's soundtrack is itself a Leitmotif throwback to each of the films. The opening sequence, for example, uses Buzz's theme from Toy Story (Buzz's arrival uses a version of Buzz's themenote from when he was "falling with style" in Andy's room near the beginning and the climactic soundtrack from Toy Story.), while scenes like where Woody is found alive by his friends are from Andy's return home in 2 , and when the toys finally arrive home.
Woody mentions that several toys from the previous two films (such as Etch and Bo Peep) have been given away in the time between 2 and 3. (The mentioning of Bo, in particular, appears to mildly dishearten Woody, due to the romantic relationship they shared in the previous two films).
The looping orange racetrack Buzz used to "fall with style" in the original and Jessie used to help Buster in the sequel is mentioned to be stored in the attic.
Lotso's backstory. Him getting lost on a trip out and having to make his way back home to the owner he is intensely loyal to: That's the plot of the first movie right there. Him being replaced and his If I Can't Have You: Hey, Woody, remember when you pushed Buzz out the window? His philosophy that all toys are destined to be treated as garbage: Remember when Woody was more willing to go to a museum than to Andy because he was afraid he'd be thrown out eventually? Lotso is Woody from a bad future.
The quick series of shots over which Chatter Telephone narrates all the obstacles the toys will face in their escape from Sunnyside recalls a similar sequence detailing the plan to escape the fish tank in Finding Nemo (both are Mission: Impossible parodies and visual shout-outs to the films of David Fincher).
Big Baby resembles the creepy baby who fell victim to the Uncanny Valley in the Pixar shortTin Toy. In that short, a number of toys hide from said child. The same toys are also shown hiding from the toddlers of the Caterpillar Room before the kids return from recess.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: Andy's board has a postcard from Carl and Ellie of Up; his posters feature the Omnidroid of The Incredibles; fish from Finding Nemo are seen in stickers on his wall and in paintings at the daycare; Sunnyside has toy versions of Nemo's Mister Ray and some of the characters from Cars (non-anthropomorphic Snot Rod on Andy's calendar (August) and Finn Mcmissile from Cars 2 on a poster, also, when the children burst into the room for the first time, one of the them is wearing a "95" shirt). Buzz Lightyear is powered by batteries from Buy n Large.
The locomotive at the start of the movie is also numbered "95"; these are references to when the first Toy Story came out.
There's a little girl in the Butterfly Room who looks suspiciously like an older version of Boo from Monsters Inc. She is playing with a purple and blue kitty.
The Cameo: A doll of Studio Ghibli's own Totoro is a minor character in the film, and the first Toy Story character to also be a character from another movie. And yes, he still has his trademark Totoro grin.
It's also worth noting that Lotso's theme is played with a harmonica.
Celibate Hero: Woody in this movie as Bo Peep is said to be one of the many characters that were either sold off at a garage sale, thrown in the trash, or donated between the second movie and this one.
Character Development: Mrs. Potato Head. She went from a background character in the second movie to having a crucial role in the plot by having the ability to see through a missing eye.
Bonnie can be seen playing with The Monkey during the first scene showing her in the day care.
A second viewing of the film sees all the major characters in the first daycare scene, before they're active. Try to spot them!
There's also Mrs. Potato Head's lost eye, which proves to Andy's toys that he really didn't throw them away.
Children Are Innocent: Bonnie — unlike the Caterpillar Room children at the daycare who harshly play with or deface their toys, she lovingly plays with and cares for her toys similar to how Andy did when he was younger.
The older children at the daycare are the same way.
He even asked Woody if he was classically trained, in regards to his "performance."
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Blue is safe (Andy's room, the Butterfly Room, the conveyor belt off switch), red is unsafe (Caterpillar Room, Lotso, incinerator), and sickly green-yellow is corrupted (the vending machine "gambling parlor", the daycare dumpster). Bonnie's color is bright "happy" green.
Continuity Nod: A beautifully subtle one — Woody still has the red stitches on his right arm from Andy's fixing him at the end of Toy Story 2.
Buzz is also still missing his arm readout sticker, which he peeled off during his nervous breakdown in the first movie.
Convection Schmonvection: The incinerator is obviously really hot but the plastic toys remain unmelted. Considering how terrifying the scene was already, this is for the best.
Cool and Unusual Punishment: Barbie's way of interrogating Ken is by ripping each of his sets of clothes until he speaks, which he does when Barbie starts to rip Ken's Nehru jacket.
Crap Saccharine World: Sunnyside Daycare seems like a bright, colorful heaven where there are always children to lovingly play with the toys, but actually it's a brutal dictatorship ruled by Lotso the bear. Most of the daycare's toys get subjected to rough playtimes with the toddlers rather than the loving playtimes with the older children, and any defiant toys get imprisoned in cubbies, forced to stay the night in the sandbox, interrogated, brainwashed, or thrown into the daycare's dumpster to go to the landfill.
Also possibly a case of Vile Villain, Saccharine Show; Lotso is revealed to be a genuinely monstrous villain, but once he's gone the daycare centre becomes a genuinely sweet place under Ken and Barbie.
Cute Giant: Lotso and Big Baby are each considerably larger than the protagonists.
Cymbal-Banging Monkey: When night falls on Sunnyside Daycare, he sits at the front desk, watching all the surveillance screens. If a toy tries to escape, he turns on the center's P.A. system and screeches into it while banging his cymbals. Lotso and crew are on top of the poor toy in moments.
Darker and Edgier: Is considered much more intense than the first two, as well as unusually dark for a Pixar movie. This is one of the more justified examples, though, since the concepts introduced earlier in the series leave room for Fridge Horror. The third has a more intense feel because it calls attention to a fair bit of said fridge horror. That, and it's a Prison Episode rife with disturbing elements like Lotso, an Ax-Crazyteddy bear, and cymbal banging monkeys. Considering the time gap in between each movie's theatrical release, this seems somewhat appropriate. It's almost as if Pixar directed the film at an older audience who grew up on the older films. The way Toy Story 3 ended, it felt like Pixar wanted to give the now Teen/Young Adult audience of the first movie some closure on the series they came to love when they were kids.
Dance of Romance: When Buzz is in Spanish mode, he makes the move on Jessie with a dance. And they do it again in his normal form in the credits.
Dark Reprise: Of 'You've Got a Friend In Me' at the beginning of the film. The song ends at the line 'Our friendship will never die!' The background music stops, and we just hear 'never die' echo over and over.
Demoted to Extra: Slinky. His role in this movie is much smaller compared to his part in the first and second films; he is a background character for the majority of the time and his only real standout scene is helping old pal Woody defeat the Cymbal-Banging Monkey, as well as briefly jumping across the trash chute to the dumpster before being thwarted by Lotso.
Den of Iniquity: A humorous example with the 'bad' toys hanging around in a vending machine, betting with Monopoly money and triple A batteries. They use a "See-N-Say" toy instead of a roulette table.
Deus ex Machina: THE CLAAAAAW! A literal example, as the DVD commentary points out.
Diabolus ex Machina: Since it's considered a Deus ex Machina in both Toy Story 1 and 2, the Pizza Planet Truck could definitely be considered this in Toy Story 3, since it is responsible for transporting Lotso to Sunnyside.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: A great number of the toys have been sold, broken or lost in the time period between 2 and 3 making for a Darker and Edgier feel. Especially saddening is the absence of Bo Peep, Woody's love interest- when she is mentioned, Woody looks utterly miserable.
Lotso appeared way in the lower-left-hand corner in a short scene in Up.
Easily Forgiven: Lotso's minions were pretty much all but forgiven in the end.
End of an Age: A small-scale case which leansheavily on the fourth wall. In-story, the toys are moving on from their time with Andy; on a meta-level, the children (and parents) who grew up with the original Toy Story are grown up and leaving behind their childhoods (or seeing their children go). Watching this film at any college ever is a sure Tear Jerker.
Eureka Moment: When the toys are in the trash bag, Mr. Potato Head says "What's the point?" Buzz sees Rex's tail poking the bag and says "Point... point... point!" and realizes they can use Rex's tail to puncture the bag.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Lotso cannot fathom Ken's loyalty to Barbie or Woody and Buzz's loyalty to their friends after the latter declined Lotso's offer to join the Butterfly Room without his friends.
Evil Counterpart: Lotso's resentment over being replaced and his extremely possessive feelings toward his owner (if he can't have her, no one can), mirror Woody's character arc in the first movie. Like Woody, he also becomes a leader of a "family" of toys, only kept in line through threats and bullying instead of friendship and love. Whereas Woody decides he wants what's best for Andy, Lotso has grown to hate children for their constant destruction and abandonment of toys. Like Woody, he also faced the prospect of being replaced (Lotso with a replacement Lotso, Woody with Buzz), but where Woody eventually found an accord with Buzz, Lotso sank into bitterness and maliciously took his rejection out on the world around him.
Eye Spy: Mrs. Potato Head is missing one of her eyes for most of the movie. However, whenever she covers up her one eye she can see plot-important events from her missing eye's location such as Andy getting upset with his mom for throwing the toys away, since he meant to put them in the attic instead, contrary to what all the toys sans Woody believe.
Fate Worse than Death: Lotso ends up crucified to the front of a dumpster truck working the landfill, implying he will be stuck that way for the rest of his existence. Even if he frees himself, he's still in that landfill with no way of getting back to 'his' daycare.
Subverted when it comes to Chunk and the other Sunnyside toys. At first, it seems that the villain's toadies are condemned to rough-and-disgusting playtime with the toddlers as karmic justice; instead, Chunk simply tags out when he's had enough and another toy willingly leaps into the fray.
Faux Affably Evil: Lotso. He may act affable at first, but it's really just a front to get you to trust him. He's agreeable enough when you're on his good side. Disagree with him, however, and he smirks as he has you set to Demo Mode or sends said Demo-Mode'd buddy to lock you up.
First Toy Wins: The first toy we see Andy playing with at the start of the first film was Woody. Guess which toy is the only one Andy decides he's going to take to college with him.
Subverted at the end when Andy sees how much Bonnie loves Woody, he lets her keep him.
Foreshadowing: When we first see Lotso, he's riding in the back of a toy dump truck — and he's seen doing this several more times in the film. He later causes the toys to get trapped inside a dump truck during the climax. His ultimate fate is to be tied to the front of a dump truck for the rest of his days.
At the poker night, the veteran toys predict the new toys (Andy's) are headed for the "landfill", and are "toddler fodder." Obviously, the former proved correct, and you could interpret the latter as the toys eventually joining Bonnie.
Freudian Excuse: Lotso was lost and replaced by his original owner. When he discovered this, it made him believe that he hadn't been special to her and that the love between him and her hadn't been real. Thus (in his mind), all the love between kids and their toys isn't real. To him love is for suckers because for toys it eventually leads to abandonment and being thrown away.
Simple: Pluto and Bullseye are directly based on real animals (a horse and a dog). Buttercup and Goofy are a mythological creature and an anthro respectively.
Or maybe toys' ability to speak depends on if they could on their show. Bullseye couldn't talk on Woody's Roundup, so his toy can't talk. Buttercup, however, had no show, allowing him to talk. This would explain Totoro's silence as well.
Genius Ditz: Aside from her various awesomeness, Barbie gives a rather verbose and sophisticated critique of dictatorships, which weirds everyone else out. People might be forgetting that there's been a few President Barbie dolls over the years, so she'd know political science topics.
Green-Eyed Monster: Spanish-mode Buzz, after seeing Jessie hug Woody, becomes pretty jealous of him, and tries (successfully) to one-up him later.
Immediately followed by a great aversion. Having been so thoroughly upstaged, Woody cheers on his buddy's awesome stunt, showing just how far he's come from the jealously insecure toy of the first movie.
Grumpy Bear: Taken to the extreme with Lotso, although he hides it behind a pleasant facade.
That rule and this trope are averted by Demo Mode Buzz, who, though placed in charge of guarding Jessie, refuses to listen to her pleas of "Buzz, we're your friends" and tells her that he will not be swayed by her "bewitching good looks."
Then again, Demo Mode Buzz does fall for Hamm and Rex's "let's stage a fight so we can distract the guard" ploy, so maybe he isn't the sharpest knife in the... place where... they keep the knives.
Handshake Refusal: Woody refused to shake hands with Buzz as he was leaving Sunnyside.
In a very, very abstract sense, the Claw. In the first film, since it was Sid who was controlling it, the Claw seemed much more menacing as it brought both Woody and Buzz to the danger zone, being Sid's House. However, in Toy Story 3 since it's the aliens who are controlling it, it actually saves the toys from danger, being the incinerator.
Held Gaze: One happens between Buzz and Woody after Woody is climbing back up through the trash and sees the others holding each other to give one another strength. Buzz meets his eyes and then extends his hand and then they hold the scene for a moment before Woody reaches out to grasp Buzz's hand and join the others.
Hey, Wait!: When Barbie masquerades as Ken (in his face-obscuring "Mission to Mars" spacesuit) to get back Buzz's instruction manual, the Bookworm notices her high heels as she turns away... then rolls his eyes and sighs at "Ken's" effeminate fashion sense.
Humans Are Cthulhu: The kids on Caterpillar Room. Or did everyone miss one of them trying to swallow Buzz, while the others treated the rest just like the Eldritch Abominations in Lovecraft's stories treat humanity?! The only thing needed to turn Toy Story 3 into Lovecraft-Kids Version was them going mad from the revelation. Cue to Lotso resetting Buzz to his first film persona and making him his puppet.
The Load: One could interpret the LGMs in this role, as they exist either as superlatives or hindrances to the toys escaping from Sunnyside. From almost alerting Big Baby to getting stuck in the dumpster and (indirectly) causing the toys to get sent to the dump, they're neglected characters until they become Big Damn Heroes in their Crowning Moment of Awesome.
The French dub skirts around this by making Barbie say "Quel petit curieux!" (basically, "Curious, aren't you?") and linger on the first syllable so that it sounds like "Quel petit cul" (complimenting him on his small/firm buttocks).
Love Redeems: Played with for Buzz: Buzz rejoins the team because of being physically reset by Rex. However, Ken's love for Barbie was key to getting the instruction manual. Buzz did eventually get back to his regular self through his love for Jessie: the television hit Buzz, giving him reverse amnesia, because he was more worried about Jessie's safety than his own.
Missing Trailer Scene: Compared to the Oct. 2009 trailer, a few lines were re-spoken in the final film, and Spanish Buzz doesn't spin around and jump immediately after pressing a button to make his voice box say a line. A few shots were done in different angles as well.
Mood Whiplash: Perhaps the first Toy Story 3 trailer uses this. It starts out sentimental, the middle is semi-serious, and then it ends with humor.
In a trailer, how a very heartfelt scene where Andy is praising Woody is suddenly cut short with Woody hearing a threatening voice from a telephone.
In the movie, the toys have joined hands, accepting that they are about to die a terrible, painful death, burning (or melting?) alive in a fiery pit of- ahahahaha, THE CLAW! WOOOO!
This scene really takes the cake for this trope: Any time where a scene from Bonnie's playtime is interspersed from scenes with the daycare. Examples: The Toys being utterly destroyed while Woody is having a nice tea time with Bonnie; Bonnie asleep and Woody looks up Andy's address while Buzz is being brutally Demo-moded. Jeez, are we supposed to be heartfelt or seriously freaked out?
Happens unintentionally when Woody meets Chuckles. The mood was serious and sombre (Woody finding out his friends are living in a nightmare), and then the audience saw this morose little clown sitting on the windowsill and everybody cracked up.
The ending is kind of like this. It's very much a Bitter Sweet Ending, followed by a breather in the thankfully very cheerful closing credits.
Although at the point where that line is emphasized (The end of the prologue) it seems more like a tragic irony, contrasting youthful idealism with the onset of adulthood, one of the film's main themes.
Never Trust a Trailer: Most of the trailers and TV spots heavily imply that Buzz gets broken while trying to escape from hitting a window or wall too hard. Never happened. That was a shot of him getting used as a hammer on a wooden hammer-peg playset thrown WAY out of context.
A trailer implied that the telephone toy was one of the baddies. And the whole Andy's toy fantasy at the beginning of the flick looked like it would be the climax of the flick.
One of the trailers, in fact, shows Buzz attacking the bridge followed by Woody and the train falling into the canyon. Coupled with Rex emerging from the ground and Woody being pursued by plastic monkeys (both present in most trailers), it looks like Woody's having a nightmare where every other toy is trying to kill him.
Non-Ironic Clown: Chuckles the clown doll, who shared the same former owner as Lotso Bear and Big Baby, turns out to be the only one of the three toys not to turn villainous from the incident of being accidentally abandoned by their former owner. In a flashback he even tries to console Lotso Bear, but Lotso bear ignores him and turnsevil. In the present, Chuckles is a Stoic Woobie despite being one of Bonnie's beloved toys. But by the end credits, he begins to smile again.
Nonstandard Character Design: The toys have a lot of variety in their looks, but Ken and Barbie are noticably less cartoonish than most of them.
Not So Different: Lotso's devotion to Daisy and his determination to get himself, Big Baby, and Chuckles back to her (as revealed in the flashback) is certainly reminiscent of Woody's love for Andy and his determination to get back home in all three movies. Additionally, Lotso at the beginning comes off as a benevolent ruler of Sunnyside much in the way that Woody is the leader of all of Andy's toys. Lotso is Woody gone bad. Not stated directly in the movie but Lee Unkrich points this out in the DVD commentary.
The Old Convict: Chatter Telephone has been at Sunnyside Daycare Center even before Lotso Bear took it over. To help Woody and his friends escape the daycare center, Chatter Telephone detailedly describes the layout of the daycare center and warns Woody that the only way for a toy to escape is to neutralize the Cymbal Monkey's surveillance system.
Blake Clark also was in Home Improvement as Harry, with Tim Allen, who voices Buzz.
In the game, Buzz and Woody are both voiced by Jim Hanks and Stephen Stanton, respectively. Wheezy and Stinky Pete also makes an appearance, but are instead voiced by Charlie Adler and James Patrick Stuart, although the former is also due to Author Existence Failure.
Our Hero Is Dead: Woody loses his hat during his escape, which is taken to the trapped toys as a threat. Jessie and Bullseye have a split-second tear-jerking moment.
Outdated Outfit: Ken has a roomfull of them, dating from the late 50s to the early 80s.
Out of the Frying Pan: In the dump, when the toys wind up on the conveyor, they escape from the shredder... only to wind up in the incinerator.
Palantir Ploy: Let's just say Lex Luthor should have hired whoever installed Sunnyside Daycare's surveillance system.
Perspective Reversal: Earlier on, Woody and Buzz try to encourage the rest of the toys to get ready to go into the attic. Towards the end of the movie, Woody is more skeptical of the attic idea, while the rest of the toys are more open to it; though Buzz's attitude seems relatively unchanged. As things turn out, none of them end up in the attic anyway.
The Power of Love: The scene where SpanishBuzz saved Jessie from the garbage, got hit with the TV, and reverted to being normal Buzz by Jessie pulling him to the side of the truck and crying in his chest.
Prison Episode: Toy Story 3 itself, or at least a significant portion of it, arguably counts what with Sunnyside being portrayed as essentially a prison. Bonus points for the shockvalue of having a prison episode in a G-rated Pixar series.
Punch Clock Villain: Lotso's minions are mainly following his orders because they're scared of him. Once Lotso is deposed from Sunnyside, they perform a mass Heel-Face Turn.
Put on a Bus: It's established that Bo Peep, Wheezy, Lenny, RC, and many of Andy's other childhood toys have been sold or given away. This is an interesting variation of the trope in that it would be very hard for any of them to ever come back.
Record Needle Scratch: Ken and Barbie are just meeting each other. "Dream Weaver" is playing, and then Lotso comes in [insert scratch] and says "Come on, Ken. Recess don't last forever."
Reluctant Gift: At the end of the movie, Andy is giving away his toys to Bonnie, introducing each and handing them to her. But when he gets to Woody, he grows hesitant and even pulls him back from her outreached hands. He does finally give it to her.
Reset Button: Woody and the gang make it back to Andy's house with no toy left behind.
Played figuratively and literally with Buzz Lightyear, even though it's a falling television rather than his reset button that restores his memory.
Romantic False Lead: Spanish Buzz briefly viewed Woody as this when he sees Jessie hugging him.
Bonnie wearing a tutu at the end, might be a shout out to the original Brave Little Toaster where the appliances are adopted by a Ballerina at the end of the story.
The bee on Bonnie's backpack is Wally B. from the very first Pixar short, "The Adventures of Andre and Wally B."
The scene where brainwashed and re-programmed Buzz is bossing around all the toys being held captive at Sunnyside Daycare is a clear reference to Cool Hand Luke. The film has a scene where any infraction (losing a spoon, wearing dirty pants, messing up laundry cycle) is punished with "A night in the box." The toys meet the same fate, except in this case "the box" is filled with sand. Befitting for a Great Escape movie.
Big Baby might also be a shout out to the baby from "Tin Toy"... scary movements and all!
Woody being dragged into the dumpster by Lotso is a shout-out to Hudson's death in Aliens.
Much of the film takes its inspiration from The Brave Little Toaster, which had many future Pixar employees working on it, including John Lasseter, Joe Ranft, and others. It even had the usual A113 moniker in it.
Barbie and Ken's outfits during the dance sequence at the end is a reference to Saturday Night Fever.
When Mr. Potato Head was first invented, he was, indeed, just a set of eyeballs and hands and things that kids could stick into real vegetables. The company introduced the plastic potato a few decades later when parents became worried that the poles needed to stick into a real potato were too pointy and sharp.
Lotso Huggin' Bear himself is a Shout Out. Between the name, nature, appearance, and the Viral Commercial for the toy, he's obviously meant to be one of the Care Bears gone horribly, horribly wrong.
In the opening scene, when Woody and Mrs. Potato Head are fighting atop a moving train, Woody lands with his heels over the edge of the end of the train, tries to regain his balance but falls backwards, and then lands safely on his horse ridden by his female friend. Replace "train" with "truck", "horse" with "car" and "Mrs. Potato Head" with "Agent", and you get what happened to Morpheus in The Matrix Reloaded.
Also from the opening sequence, Rex's roar is taken straight out of Jurassic Park.
Which was also referrenced in the second film.
The scene where Barbie and Ken see each other for the first time, and the song Dream Weaver is playing is highly reminiscent of the scene where Wayne sees Cassandra for the first time in Wayne's World.
Shown Their Work: All of Ken's outfits are actual outfits released for the doll over the years.
Smarter Than You Look: The Squeeze Toy Aliens. For all their times yelling "Ooohh!!!" and "The Claw" it turns out they are actually fairly intelligent. Not only can they learn how to operate heavy machinery within a matter of minutes, find and locate a small group of toys within a trash compound, but they actually do know that the "Claw" has to be manually controlled and is not self-choosing.
Also Barbie — political philosophy out of nowhere!
Notably, real-life toys with a language switch option don't require such a strange procedure to change the language, let alone not having instructions to change the language back in the original language. Chalk this one up to Rule of Funny.
Start of Darkness: Chuckles the Clown's flashback segment outlines exactly why Lotso turns out to be the cruel despot of Sunnyside. It doesn't nearly excuse his actions though.
Buzz: Hold on. This is no time to be hysterical. Mr. Potato Head: This is the perfect time to be hysterical. Rex:(hysterically) Should we be HYSTERICAL?!? Slinky: No! Mr. Potato Head: Yes! Buzz: Maybe! But not right now!
¡Three Amigos!: Woody, Jessie and Buzz in young Andy's playtime imagination.
Time Skip: Essentially. None of the movies are sequential but Andy is still a boy in Toy Story 2 (maybe an early "tween", but that's it) and a young man about to depart for college in the third. Meant to reflect the long distance of time between 3 and its predecessors.
"The most important thing is that we stick together. No matter what happens, we stick together."
Too Dumb to Live: The LGMs are dumped in a landfill and the first thing they do is run towards what looks like the claw. Immediately they get swept up with the garbage. Then subverted when they turn up later in the incinerator scene, none the worse for wear.
If Buzz's Spanish mode really was supposed to be a comedic twist, it was sure spoiled well ahead of time in many of the previews.
One TV spot even showed a clip of the epilogue, loosely spoiling the fact that the toys (or at least Buzz and Jessie) don't die in the incinerator. That scene of their brief dance together during the escape sequence, instead, likely would've worked just fine.
On the Disney channel's trailer for the premier of the movie on their channel they show Lotso being evil by removing Mrs. Potato's mouth.
Translated Cover Version: The movie ends with the Gipsy Kings performing a Spanish-language cover of "You've Got a Friend in Me".
True Companions: If the scene in the incinerator where Andy's toys hold hands to be together in their final moments isn't a great demonstration of this, then what is?
Villainous Breakdown: Lotso is cheerfully calm until Woody mentions Daisy, Lotso's previous owner. After that, he slowly becomes less charming and more furious, to the point where he rants that children and toys are incapable of loving each other, until he goes too far and pushes Big Baby's Berserk Button.