Lightyear, How Painful Can it Get When Time Stands Still?

PIXAR’s Lightyear is more than a fun filled tribute to the pulp age of space exploration.

Lightyear Movie PosterSpoiler Alert

Buzz Lightyear is a hero for all ages, and the feature film that inspired the toy which Andy from PIXAR’s Toy Story owns is here! While rewatching Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, I couldn’t help but find a few ideas put into the CGI tale.

A few seeds were no doubt sowed concerning season two’s “Lost in Time,” but I’m fairly sure writers Angus MacLane, Matthew Aldrich and Jason Headley were drawing more on the movies of the 70s and 80s–namely Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Flash Gordon–while writing this tale. One detail not everyone will notice is the name of Buzz’s new spaceship, a spaceship named XR-1. It’s a soft nod to the robot from the animated series.

However, this movie introduces Sox (voiced by Peter Sohn), a robotic scene-stealing cat, to lighten up an otherwise dark tale. Chris Evans voices the titular hero, and I think the choice is perfect since he is Captain America after all!

Unlike this pulp hero, Buzz has his faults. He blames himself for destroying the hopes and dreams of many people from a colony ship. After he and Alisha Hawthorne find the world they’ve landed on is hostile to anything alien, the retreat to space resulted in a damaged craft.

Everyone is stuck here unless they make peace with the cannibal plants. I wondered how they found the materials to build their fortress despite the flora wanting to drag them away at any turn. The civilians will have to be careful when considering where they want to set up shop.

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Instead of dealing with life Lost in Space, this film fast tracks itself to being something like Ad Astra. We find Lightyear is the pilot for a ship to test a new fuel isotope.

Everyone hopes it’s powerful enough to allow the big ship to leave this planet. We’re treated to moments, including the latest Top Gun, showing the thrill of what it’s like to fly in outer space. The Star Trek cliches, especially concerning time travel, are there. As for other cinematic references, not every kid will recognize the classics.

The new generation this character meets knows the legend of how he got everyone stuck here. After many years have passed for each test flight due to time dilation, everyone Buzz knew is gone.

That’s when the story takes a dip for the worst. Why hasn’t anyone built a communications tower to send an SOS? Because they are able to build the power plant needed to fuel a growing colony, I’m questioning why can’t they make a long-range radio?

Lightyear movie review & film summary (2022) | Roger Ebert

Not only does Buzz Lightyear have to deal with a colony hostile to him, but also he’s determined to correct his mistakes. However, not everyone wants to help him save for Alisha. Now that she’s gone, the misfits he meets are the next best thing. They are similar to their animated series counterparts because the way they accidentally help is the same! This new Zerg is far more evil, and I won’t say anything about him since it’d ruin a significant chunk of the story.

When Buzz realises changing everything that’s happened via time travel would deny AIisha’s happiness, what he does next is very decisive. It’s good to have a story to ask what right do people have to change destiny? The answers given helps distinguish this film from other works in PIXAR’s vast catalogue of tales. It’s much like Inside Out in that regard and we have a tale that’s as timeless as Star Trek’s “Tomorrow Is Yesterday.”

4 Stars out of 5

Buzz Lightyear Final Trailer

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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