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  • Accidental Innuendo:
    "He's selling himself for 25 cents!"
    "Oh, Woody...you're worth more'n that!"
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Some fans believe Emily never forgot Jessie, and did have fond memories of her, but simply felt she outgrew her. It doesn't help that she doesn't get any lines, so you never learn her side of the story. Indeed, this interpretation is popular among those who had similar experiences with their toys.
    • Stinky Pete ends up in the ownership of a girl who likes drawing on her toys, at least one of whom speaks highly of her. Is the girl meant to be a Good Countepart to Sid (innovating her toys rather than deforming them) or is her doll suffering Stockholm Syndrome?
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  • Award Snub: It received only one Oscar nomination, which it lost to Tarzan, making it the only non Oscar-winning Toy Story film. Its critical acclaim was such that it could have even been nominated, and won, for Best Picture. Notably, it is the only film of the original three that couldn't earn a nomination for its screenplay, despite reviews on par with the other two. Granted this was 1999, often thought of as one of the better years for cinema, but it is generally seen as being equal to just about all of the actual nominees. Though it did end up winning Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes the same year.
  • Awesome Music:
    • "When She Loved Me". An utterly heartwrenching song by Jessie that was said to have made both Tim Allen and Tom Hanks tear up during the premiere.
    • Ride Like The Wind. The reprise of the first movie's "Infinity and Beyond" near the end really sells it.
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    • The Cleaner is a solely musical number showcasing the Cleaner's precision and skill in cleaning and refining Woody. After all, "you can't rush art".
    • Woody's Roundup is a cheery western theme with a country tune to hype people for the in-universe show.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Zurg's line "No Buzz, I am your father" followed Utility-belt Buzz's Big "NO!" can come off as this to children who hadn't watched The Empire Strikes Back beforehand, especially given that it has nothing to do with the main plot concerning Woody and his friends, and is quickly dropped off by the time the toys follow Al to the airport, as by that point, Utility-belt Buzz is seen having "reconciled" with Zurg and wants to stay behind to play ball with him.
  • Broken Base: Did Al deserve to lose Jessie, Bullseye, and Stinky Pete after he stole Woody? Some agree, some instead feel sorry for him.
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  • Contested Sequel: A very minor example. No one disputes that the film is excellent, but some fans can't agree on whether this film is just as good as the original, not quite as good, or even slightly better. Mostly the question comes down to personal preference.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: While the Reality Subtext made it awkward enough for Disney to cut it out of future releases, the gag of Stinky Pete flirtatiously offering two Barbies a role in the sequel, with obvious ulterior motives, is still hilarious on it's own.
  • Development Heaven: The film was originally intended to be direct-to-video. But Pixar actually set out to make a movie that was just as good as the first, and Disney milked it with a theater release as a result.
  • Even Better Sequel: This movie is not only considered to be one of the best Pixar films, but also considered by critics to be one of the rare sequels to be better than its predecessor with praise being directed towards the improved animation, deeper characterisation from the cast particularly Woody and Jessie with their fear of abandonment, and memorable heart-wrenching scenes like Jessie's backstory.
  • Faux Symbolism: In Woody's nightmare, the cards surrounding him are all the ace of spades, the card used to represent death in fortune telling.
  • Franchise Original Sin: This was the first Disney/Pixar movie to have a twist villain, which was novel here but would later become a trope that many accused Disney and Pixar of overusing and misusing in The New '10s. The key word there being "misusing", as most agreed it was done very well in this movie and that upon rewatch, the twist reveal all adds up and makes a lot of sense (which was even stated as the intention in the DVD Commentary), and the eventual villain character gets a lot of screentime and development before the reveal. Comparatively, later movies that use this trope do it on a character who is offscreen for a good majority of the movie, the Foreshadowing is either non-existent or vague at best, and the villain ends up thwarted so quickly after the reveal that it ends up lacking any real impact or memorability.
  • Genius Bonus: "What, that's in yen, right? DOLLARS?!" This was done at a time in which not a lot of people in the target audience knew about how Yen worked compared to US/AU/CAN Dollars, which use decimals, unlike Yen. So yes, it really was expensive for Al to check luggage and ship stuff to Japan.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The blooper where Wheezy swallows his squeaker becomes a lot darker when in Toy Story 3, it's revealed that he was lost before the events of that movie took place.
    • The blooper showing Jessie accidentally snapping Woody's pull string becomes harder to watch when in Toy Story 4, Woody loses it along with his voice box for good.
    • The blooper of Stinky Pete flirting with two Barbie dolls, whispering that he might be able to get them a role in Toy Story 3, feels a lot skeevier following director/Pixar co-founder John Lasseter's firing over sexual misconduct. This was enough to get this blooper cut from future releases.
    • Woody saving Wheezy from being put in a yard sale. Sometime between the second and third Toy Story movies, Wheezy was one of the toys lost before Andy left for college, possibly even having been sold off in a yard sale. Punctuated by this line:
      Wheezy: What's the point in prolonging the inevitable?
    • Woody convinced Jessie to come with him back to Andy's by telling her that Andy will love her. Comes the fourth film, Woody is the one not being loved by Bonnie after Andy donated the toys to her in the ending of the third film, which drives the entire plot to happen. In fact, the expectation the toys make that children will always love them is thoroughly deconstructed in that film.
    • This film ends with Woody deciding that even after Andy outgrows him, he'll have Buzz to keep him company "for infinity and beyond". The fourth film ends with Woody saying goodbye to Buzz so he can stay with Bo Peep at the carnival. What's worse is the last lines of that movie, as the vehicle containing what's left of the gang is driving away.
      Buzz: To infinity...
      Woody: ...and beyond.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: A couple of moments after the events of Toy Story 4.
    • When he decides to stay with Jessie, Bullseye and Pete rather than leave them for good, Woody muses to them "Who am I to break up the Round-Up Gang?" In 4, Jessie and Bullseye support his decision to go off on his own and start a new life.
    • One of the film's best jokes is Bo Peep giving Buzz a good luck kiss and tell him "This is for Woody when you find him," which Buzz replies it "won't be the same coming from [him]." In 4, Buzz and Woody exchange a platonic but completely sincere embrace before Woody leave him to be with Bo.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The relationship between Zurg and Buzz (well, second Buzz) is a deliberate Affectionate Parody of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. Disney now owns Star Wars.
    • Pete asks Woody if he honestly believes that Andy is going to take him to college. Come the sequel, and Andy really is planning to take Woody with him when he goes to college.
    • Woody's Large Ham persona when he struts out of a box and "flirts" with Jessie brings to mind the "Creepy Woody" meme.
    • Stinky Pete's punishment is to be stuck at a new home with a girl and her Barbie doll. Three years later, Grammer played as a Big Bad within a Barbie film.
    • One that's downright hysterical in hindsight: while searching for Woody's hat, Ham says, "The lawn gnome next door says it's not in the yard, but he'll keep looking." On the DVD Commentary, Andrew Stanton jokes about a spin-off movie with the lawn gnomes, which John Lasseter jokingly replies "Shhh! Don't give them any ideas!" Not only did Disney eventually produce a lawn gnome movie, but it was actually John's decision not to have it be part of the Disney Animated Canon.
    • During the second 2016 U.S. presidential debate, undecided voter Ken Bone became an overnight meme hero, and several memes revolved around how heavily he resembled Al, and that Toy Story 2 predicted the rise of Bone.
    • The climax involves Woody and Jessie having to escape from a plane during takeoff. This is not the last film with Tom Hanks to have him in peril on a plane; there are the plane crashes in Cast Away and Sully, the latter of which introduced the meme "Never travel with Tom Hanks".
  • It Was His Sled: Stinky Pete's villainy was never indicated in any marketing material until the movie's release. Nowadays the twist isn't so shocking anymore.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Stinky Pete, who spent his whole life stuck on a toy shelf never being sold until Al came along. Once he was finally bought, he was kept in the box as a collector's item instead of a toy.
    • Al is a greedy, hostile and occasionally lazy opportunist who steals a woman's possession despite being told it wasn't for sale. Other than that, he doesn't appear to be a dishonest businessman and his trade with the toy museum was implied to be entirely fair. His visible sadness in his final scene is completely understandable, and even rational. Word of God even gives him a Freudian Excuse that his obsession with toys as an adult comes from the fact that his parents never let him play with them as a child.
  • Love to Hate: Stinky Pete and Al McWhiggin, the Big Bad Duumvirate of the film. Both of them come off as more sympathetic as they seem, with Al in particular also being laughable and entertaining as a Fat Slob.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Emperor Zurg is the Arch-Enemy of Buzz Lightyear. When Buzz is called to Zurg's planet to deal with him, Zurg first sets a trap of thousands of robots. When Buzz escapes that he nearly kills him with a spike trap, a levitating bridge, and even fools him with a fake power source. Finally facing Buzz head on, he kills him in battle, and then laughs maniacally. The film then cuts to the "real world", where Rex complains about how hard the Zurg boss fight in the game is.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The beginning part of the movie gave us "X, X everywhere." It is often in the form of a still of when Buzz told Woody about "delicious hot schmoes."
    • In late 2018, Woody's nightmare (specifically the part where Andy says: "I don't want to play with you anymore") began to see use as an exploitable referencing players dropping an old game for a new and more exciting one (such as showing Andy dropping Super Smash Bros. 4 in favor of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate).
    • In early 2019, a meme of Al looking smug and talking to someone at the garage sale has been used to mock people with excessively strong or nerdy opinions.
    • "You can't rush art!" is a popular phrase used by the fandom to describe certain films or video games.
    • "Endgame spoilers without context!" became quite popular after the 2019 release of Avengers: Endgame. This is primarily due to the Buzz vs. Buzz fight being compared to Captain America vs. Captain America—and it's made Hilarious in Hindsight due to Cap himself slated to voice Buzz in Lightyear.
    • "I can't believe I have to drive all the way to work on a Saturday. ALL THE WAY TO WORK!Explanation 
    • The hallway full of Buzz Lightyear toys.Explanation 
  • Narm: "You really are Stinky Pete, aren't you?"
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The game for both the PlayStation, the PC and the Nintendo 64 combined the similar free-roaming gameplays of Super Mario 64 and Spyro the Dragon to great effect, while following the plot of the movie. This helped a lot in Europe, where the game's rerelease on the PlayStation Network helped to make out for the Spyro trilogy's late arrival (December 2012). Additionally, several movie locationsnote  translate pretty well to functional video game levels.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The cleaner who repairs Woody, played by Geri of Geri's Game.
    • The Rock'Em Sock'Em robots in Al's office.
      Red: HEY! HE WAS TALKING TO ME!
      Blue: NO, HE WAS TALKING TO ME!
      (Both fight, and Blue knocks Red's block off.)
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: The Game Boy Color version of the video game, like its predecessor on the Game Boy, suffers from bad controls and physics, boring graphics, annoying music and a baffling enemy choice (Rex and the Little Green Men are enemies in this game).
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: This game is far easier compared to the first which was rather Nintendo Hard, thanks to the lack of Unexpected Gameplay Change and making it a fairly standard 3D platformer.
  • Signature Scene: Geri refurbishing Woody is well-remembered. More so, Jessie's backstory during the "When She Loved Me" sequence.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Villain Stinky Pete the Prospector has the unambiguously nasty aim of keeping Woody from returning to Andy, whom Woody knows to appreciate him. However, as he's defeated, he screams "Children destroy toys! You'll all be ruined! Forgotten! Spending eternity rotting away in some landfill!" It's a perfectly legitimate concern, and Pete had no way of knowing how good an owner Andy is. His foreshadowing almost comes true in the third movie.
  • That One Boss: The Jackhammer boss from the video game adaptation is remembered by fans as one of the scarier bosses in the game due to his large, intimidating appearance and the creepy laugh he makes if he touches you. And while he is a pretty easy boss by a hardcore gamer's standards, he is one of the tougher bosses in the game, since you can only defeat him with a disc launcher, which doesn't always hit him properly.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Stinky Pete is meant to be a deserving victim for betraying Woody and his friends, but we can really sympathize with him as he spent a lifetime in his box on a shelf watching other toys being sold and never got sold himself and felt like he never been loved. As far as he's concerned, being put in a museum to spend the rest of his existence being admired by visitors is his reward for enduring such isolation and loneliness, and now Woody is going to take it away from him.
  • Values Dissonance: The Casting Couch gag in the Hilarious Outtakes immediately became dated once #MeToo took off in 2017. Even disregarding the fact that director John Lasseter was one of the first people to be directly called out for sexual misconduct, it would be seen as much too sexually explicit for a family film after The New '10s, when the negative long term effects that sex in media has on children are taken much more seriously. Unsurprisingly, modern releases omit this clip.
  • The Woobie:
    • Wheezy. He was shelved after his squeaker broke and left up there, collecting dust, for who knows how long. He gets much better at the end of the movie, though.
    • Jessie. "When somebody loved me..." She's portrayed with mostly realistic anxiety issues, especially abandonment issues and claustrophobia.
  • Woolseyism:
    • In one scene of the movie, Buzz gives a rousing speech to encourage the toys to rescue Woody. Towards the end of it, an American flag appears behind him while we hear The Star-Spangled Banner play, before transitioning to the exact same image on Al's TV. In international versions of this movie, however, the American flag is replaced with a rotating globe with fireworks, and The Star-Spangled Banner with an original piece by Randy Newman called the One World Anthem.
    • When Wheezy is singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" at the end of the film, he's on a stage made up of letter blocks that spell his name. International versions replace the letters with stars.

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