Disney’s First Lightyear Movie Knocked Buzz off His Pedestal for the Better

Home Technology Disney’s First Lightyear Movie Knocked Buzz off His Pedestal for the Better
Disney’s First Lightyear Movie Knocked Buzz off His Pedestal for the Better
Buzz Lightyear readying his laser.
Buzz Lightyear blasting an alien.
Screenshot: Disney/Pixar

Lightyear, Disney and Pixar’s upcoming animated feature about the “original” astronaut whose life story inspired the line of toys bearing his name, seems very much like the sort of movie that Toy Story’s Andy Davis—who was heading off to college when last we saw him—would be unabashedly excited to see. Even though this “new” Buzz doesn’t quite sound like the one from Andy’s childhood, it’s clear from Lightyear’s first trailer that they’re both pieces of the Buzz Lightyear™ brand and mythos that the studios have been tinkering with for well over two decades.

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One of the curious things about Lightyear is how much surface-level resemblance it appears to bear to Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins, director Tad Stones’ direct-to-video animated feature from 2000. The Adventure Begins, which opens with Andy’s (now Bonnie’s) toys sitting down with Buzz (Tim Allen) to watch it on a VHS tape one day some time after Toy Story 2, delved into the larger universe where the iconic astronaut’s adventures take place—a universe protected by Star Command and its fleet of top-notch space rangers. The Adventure Begins skips past Buzz’s origin story and picks up at a time when he’s already one of the most highly-regarded rangers in Star Command, and really only sees his partner, Warp Darkmatter (Diedrich Bader) as his equal.

Warp, Buzz, and the LGMs looking at something awful.
Screenshot: Disney/Pixar

Together, Buzz, a stickler for rules, and Warp, a less-than-thoughtful hothead, normally make the kind of well-balanced team that Commander Nebula (Adam Carolla), and Star Command’s countless Little Green Men (Patrick Warburton) need to win the war against Emperor Zurg (Wayne Knight). When a trio of LGMs go missing, Buzz and Warp are the obvious choice to track the lost aliens down to a far off planet where they discover three more LGMs stowing away on their ship, hoping to assist with the rescue mission. Though Buzz is The Adventure Begins’ main character, Mark McCorkle, Bob Schooley, Bill Motz, and Bob Roth’s script puts considerable effort into fleshing out the world around him, because it presumes that you more or less know the basics of who Buzz is by the time you start watching.

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