Toy Story (1995)
Believing he’s found a rocket to help him soar back to the Gamma Quadrant, Buzz Lightyear finds himself falling into a grab-a-prize machine loaded with small, green, three-eyed alien toys.
What could have been a throwaway joke becomes something wonderful as the aliens' society is revealed – they worship the machine’s claw as a god who picks only those who are worthy. Wonderful.
In Their Own Words:
“We had people come in for ‘gag sessions’ to try and come up with fresh ideas,” recalls Lasseter. “Probably the crowning achievement of one of those was this idea that they’d get caught in a crane game.
“We originally had these plastic pizza slices with sunglasses on, and then Gary Trousdale, who did Beauty And The Beast at Disney, said, ‘Buzz will come in there and say, “Who’s your leader?” and they’ll reply, “The claaaaw…”’ and as soon as he said that, we were howling with laughter.
"And we immediately realised that if your life is in this glass case, with that claw, pretty soon you would start worshipping it. It makes sense. People couldn’t believe it, but we loved it.”