Toy Story 3

Inciting Event: Andy—all grown up now—puts Woody in the box he’s taking to college and gets the other toys ready to store in the attic. Mom mistakenly thinks Andy means to throw the other toys away and puts them out to wait for the garbage truck. The main conflict in this story is going to turn out to be escaping from Sunnyside Daycare—but this is the event that incites that. Buzz and the other toys decide that, since Andy obviously doesn’t want them anymore, they might as well jump in the “donate” box that’s going to Sunnyside. Woody is the one adamantly “rejecting” this Call to Adventure as he insists Andy never meant to throw them away.

First Plot Point: The toys—including Woody who got trapped in the van with them—arrive at Sunnyside. This is the “adventure world” of the Second Act, where they meet Lotso the head honcho bear and his sidekick Ken. Woody promptly leaves, since he wants to go to college with Andy.

First Pinch Point: Woody’s journey home goes awry and he’s picked up by the little neighbor girl Bonnie, who takes him home and plays with him. This is really only a pinch in that it gets between Woody and his goal, but it does effectively turn his part of the plot.

Meanwhile, the true weight of the pinch point hits when Buzz and the others discover that the “Caterpillar Room” to which Lotso has assigned them belongs to rowdy toddlers who play too rough.

Midpoint: When Buzz tries to convince Lotso to reassign him and his friends to a more “age-appropriate” room, Lotso shows his true villainous colors by having Buzz returned to his factory settings and using him as a guard to keep the others locked in.

Meanwhile, Woody finds out from one of Bonnie’s toys about Lotso’s tragic past—and that the daycare is not a safe place for Buzz and the rest of Woody’s friends.

We also get a thematic Moment of Truth (which, sadly, isn’t better integrated in the plot), in which Mrs. Potato Head sees, through her lost eye, that Andy really didn’t throw them away and that he still wants them.

Second Pinch Point: Woody returns to Sunnyside and launches a plan to help everyone escape. This is the turning point. The thrust of the “pinch” comes primarily through the telephone toy telling Woody what he’s up against in his “impossible” mission.

Third Plot Point: Just as they’re on the brink of escaping (the false victory), Lotso stops them. Everyone ends up in the Dumpster. Aside from the obvious peril everyone is now in, we also get added emotional force through the confrontation in which Woody reveals to Lotso’s henchman Big Baby that Lotso betrayed him and kept him from their owner Daisy.

Climax: The toys end up in a fire pit, with seemingly no hope of escape—until (in a move that barely escapes being deus ex machina), the Little Green Men save them with “the Claw.” They then return to Andy, where Woody maneuvers everyone into getting donated to Bonnie.

Climactic Moment: After giving all the other toys to Bonnie, Andy hesitates over Woody—his favorite toy—before finally relinquishing him as well.

I’m wavering over identifying this as the Climactic Moment, since this isn’t truly part of the main conflict (escaping Lotso was the main conflict). But this is climax of the thematic conflict and arguably the most important moment in the story.

Resolution: Woody and the other toys watch Andy drive away, while they go onto a great life with Bonnie.

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