Right off the bat there is a reference to the movie This Is Spinal Tap when one of the characters carries a gun that can be turned up to 11 just like Nigel Tufnel’s amplifier in the Spinal Tap movie. If you caught that then you are in for an interesting movie. Right in the beginning of the movie there is a battle sequence on an alien planet that may sound very familiar to the older movie goers in the audience and even some of the science fiction fans as well. Most of the sound effects for the opening Buzz Lightyear battle scene are taken directly from Star Wars movies and while it is a wonderful tribute, and the effects do fit the scene, if you really think about it it kind of makes the scene a little too campy. But it does work and the references to Star Wars are not hard to pick out. The pizza truck from Toy Story is in Toy Story II and Buzz reprise’s Woody’s role from Toy Story when he says “You are a toy!” There is even a Forrest Gump reference in the movie to shine a little light on Tom Hanks who plays the voice of Woody.
Pixar always uses their movies to put in subtle little references to all of their other movies and the movie they chose to spotlight in Toy Story II is the 1998 movie A Bug’s Life. In these movies it is never really clear if Pixar is just reminding people of their past movies or if they are trying to revive merchandise and DVD sales for the old movies but A Bug’s Life is all over Toy Story II. There is A Bug’s Life calendar, a children’s book, one of the characters from A Bug’s Life can be briefly seen in Toy Story II, and there is even a muzak elevator style version of the theme from A Bug’s Life as well. The references to A Bug’s Life continue but even with the over abundance of references to other movies Toy Story II itself never gets lost or smothered. Oh and see if you can pick out the reference to Who Framed Roger Rabbit somewhere in Toy Story II as well.