After denying the existence of the series The Adventures of Buzz Lightyear aired in 2000, Disney and Pixar went to great lengths to introduce audiences to the real space ranger Buzz thought he was at the start of the first Toy Story. The film is therefore a new derivative product Toy Story which justifies its existence by wanting to justify that of Buzz as a derivative product. This mise en abyme, however, required betray the film sagastarting with his far more down-to-earth Star Command operative.
What a truly depressing curious character
What partly characterized Buzz in the first Toy Story was the fact that he thought he was a real space ranger on a mission for Star Command, without being aware of being a simple articulated piece of plastic. It was this discrepancy between his overzealousness and his simple condition as a toy that was humorous and made him immediately endearing and sympathetic. In Buzz Lightningthe ranger is still as opinionated, pretentious and formal, but his delirious personality has been smoothed out to play a believable mainstream blockbuster hero. But he inevitably suffers from the comparison with his battery-powered counterpart: he fights little, is less funny and dynamic and does not perform preposterous stunts.
It’s making new Buzz a confusing, rather unlikable main character with his disproportionate ego and his rigidity, to the point where it is hard to imagine him triggering the hysteria of 8-10 year old children as was the case with Andy and many children (out of stock of the toy in 1995 like Barbie the precise in Toy Story 2).
“I don’t call it crashing, I call it falling with panache”
The film also had to rethink the character of Zurg, as the latter could not be Buzz’s father beyond the parody of The Empire Strikes Back in Toy Story 2. This time he had to find a real place as an antagonist in the story, represent a real threat in the eyes of the public and simply be less anecdotal than in the second part of the franchise.
If he does not have the aura of Darth Vader, the new version of Zurg – and in particular his hidden identity – nevertheless allows the two characters to be affiliated and to make this sworn enemy the embodiment of loneliness, guilt, and obsessive behavior that stand in the way of Buzz. This revisit of the character therefore has a particular interest, failing to make sense with the rest of the franchise or to be impressive as a big bad guy.
Buzz Lightyear to the rescue
In a galaxy far away
After punctual science fiction demonstrations – The underestimated Treasure Planet, the lovely Lilo & Stitch or and the dystopian Wall-E -, Disney and Pixar are holding their first real big science fiction show. Like the fictional universe of Buzz in Toy Story which borrowed heavily from Star Wars, the film happily dips into the imagery and concepts of classic SF, Star Wars at star trek Passing by Interstallar Where Alien : giant insects, creeping plants, derivatives of lightsabers and blasters, hyperspeed or even time dilation which also serves as a metaphor for the fact that Buzz is meeting a new generation of fans.
The film being supposed to have been released in 1995, it resumes a popular retro-futuristic aesthetic like the huge spherical spaceship, kit meal trays, antiquated computer equipment, smart droids or all sorts of gadgets like the autopilot that looks like a Super Nintendo cartridge.
But Buzz Lightning applies himself so much to pastiche his references that he forgets to develop its own imagery and a more singular universe. The film does not offer anything original and does not risk finding its specificity, not even in its soundtrack composed by Michael Giacchino, who explained in an interview that his scores are “a mix of all the space operas and series with which [il a] grown up. This is star trekit is Star Warsit is Aliensit’s all mixed up [..]“.
This first part, which unsurprisingly calls for a sequel, is also an anti-epic. The story is set on a single planet and features few spacewalks, keeping your feet on the ground more often than your head in the stars – so viewer can share Buzz’s frustration and Izzy’s fantasies about intergalactic travel.
The film therefore has trouble being self-sufficient, the contours of the universe still being very vague for lack of context on Buzz’s mission, his identity, his feats of arms (other than a quick mention of an operation) or even the famous space rangers whose role is never clearly defined. Even the Star Command entity is quite cryptic, mentioned several times, but whose specter remains elusive for now.
After Woody without his hat, Buzz without his jumpsuit
Pixar has, a priori, presented only the premises of its universe, with the intention to fill in the storyline gaps later. This sequel, if it actually sees the light of day, could thus rectify the inconsistencies of the film – in particular the fact that Andy’s Buzz is equipped as at the end of the film, in particular the wings and the laser shield. Zurg meanwhile is apparently not yet known as “the infamous Emperor Zurg”. His coronation could thus be at the heart of the sequel or serve as a starting point to make Zurg a great intergalactic threat.
Just hoping the movie doesn’t further reinforce its Star Wars similarities (which would be particularly boring and uninteresting) and finds its own way, to infinity and beyond, if that’s not too much to ask.
Yoda is said to hang around
For its return to theaters, Pixar wanted to impress with an almost flawless animation and artistic direction. But while the film is once again a visual gem, it ultimately doesn’t have much exciting to offer other than clever fan service that picks up some lines, including the beginning of the film which replays the arrival of Buzz in the first Toy Story and puts at the heart of the scenario elements mentioned by the toy such as the crash of the ship on a hostile planet, crisfofusion or hypersomnolence.
The film also presents the rangers in their sleeping pod, which is reminiscent of the scene in Toy Story 2 where Buzz discovers all his colleagues asleep in their box and arranged in the big department of Al the toy farm. Finally, the scenario also transforms the line ” to infinity and beyond into a sort of collective mantra with a more dramatic meaning. More generally, the film is more melodramatic than the animated series since it is thought of as a general public blockbuster and not a simple Saturday morning cartoon.
The new Mira, XR and Booster
The film also turns out more mechanical and less inventive than Pixar’s more conceptual films like Vice versa, Drunk or even Toy Storybut also less sensitive and emotional than recent Luke and Red alert which nevertheless follow equally marked intrigues. Past the emotion sequence which retraces the life of one of the characters, and in particular his family life with a rhythm and an editing close to the sequence of up therebut a weaker emotional impact.
After halfway through the feature film, the script becomes more generic and predictable with his hero in search of redemption and his band of broken arms who wants to prove himself and struggles to exist independently of Buzz. The film is therefore a more difficult object to apprehend than a priori given that it is one of the Pixars that least resembles a Pixar (alongside Rebel or Arlo’s Journey). However, he manages to arouse interest, or at least curiosity, for this universe which only asks to be extended and personalized.