Where I Watched it: Disney Plus
Audio Description Provided By: Deluxe
Narrated By: Katie Lynn Snyder
So, I think the question on everyone’s mind is, did Pixar take Buzz Lightyear to infinity and beyond? Sort of. They made a valiant effort. But, I’m not sure anyone at Pixar ever stopped to ask why they were making a Lightyear movie in the first place, and if they had, they might have actually thought about that strange space man who crash landed on the bed in Andy’s room. That guy helped to launch not just one of the most adored franchises of all time, but also is largely responsible for why the current team behind the newest Lightyear project have jobs. If Toy Story hadn’t worked, the partnership between Disney and Pixar wouldn’t be what it is today, and likely a handful of really terrific stories would have never been told.
Perhaps, if they had approached Buzz with any level of reverence, Lightyear would have succeeded. It attempts to let us know that this film is actually from Andy’s childhood, and was the film he watched that made him want a Buzz Lightyear toy. Cool. Kind of like Jingle All The Way. But, this Lightyear film isn’t written in a creative way, which would have blended the Buzz we know and love, with an actual origin story that assumes we know nothing about these characters. Let’s take a look at the 90’s Teenage Mutant ninja Turtles film. They were already a craze. That’s why the film was made. Yet, the film still goes to the painstaking task of explaining how the turtles can talk, how Splinter can talk, who Shredder is, how they know ninjutsu, and all of the things you would need to know if you just came from another planet and had never heard of the Turtles.
Lightyear feels a bit more like there is some other media out there that already exists and Buzz isn’t appearing for the first time. His introduction, and any attempt to explain what a space ranger is, or how that program works, was totally dropped. I would challenge these Pixar studio dreamers that the reason Lightyear is failing is because they lacked the innovation to show us an actual Buzz Lightyear training story.
Basically, Luke Skywalker before he was a Jedi. That film was pretty popular. Something called A New Hope? It would also make a lot of sense considering Chris Evans sounds far younger than tim Allen ever did, and makes very little of an attempt at matching Allen’s performance. Perhaps, a Space ranger film where Buzz is in training would have made a lot more sense, than this weird time hopping plot that actually probably just confused a few kids. I’ll give them credit for originality, as the third act of the film is unique enough I don’t want to spoil it.
If this wasn’t a prequel, but rather just a Buzz film, it would be fine. But to say that this is the film that launched a super successful toy back in 1995… No. it doesn’t work. By throwing that little bit at the beginning, Pixar actually shoots themselves in the foot. If this was a stand alone Lightyear film, with no other expectations, my grade would likely be a bit higher (though I’d still have the Chris Evans problem). It’s Pixar’s first true attempt at an animated science fiction action film. It’s not nearly as funny as the Toy Story films.
Along with that comes a host of supporting characters I never need to see again. Even the groundbreaking lesbianHawthorne is so poorly used in the context of the film that her character feels wasted. She’s there for emotional impact, but she’s also only been on the screen for a short period of time, and her dynamic with Buzz is not a Carl/Ellie dynamic, so it just all falls flat.
There’s a lot about Lightyear to not like, but there are bits and pieces here that could have worked. I just think no one involved in this film had any desire to make this film, and had no real vision for what it could be. Somewhere out there, there’s a great fucking Buzz Lightyear movie. If we’ve got multiverses going on, one of them got a kick ass origin story. We don’t live there. We got this.
As far as the audio description goes, it’s hard to say what is wrong when i can’t see what is missing and am using sighted people to tell me things. I believe there is a lot more happening with Hawthorne during her advancements through time that are not relayed through the audio description, because the narration sticks with Buzz. That would be understandable, if what Buzz was doing wasn’t so damn repetitive, yet the other character is living out the entirety of their life.
There’s also the problem with the credits. There’s zero credit description. That tells the average viewer, it’s time to go somewhere else. Except, these animators went to the trouble of making a mid-credits and end credits scene. Neither are particularly memorable in my opinion, but someone might like to hear the narration for them (as those two scenes are narrated). But the silence tells us it’s time to go. Not really the smartest move by Disney/Pixar.
At the end of the day, this guy who grew up with Woody and Buzz, realized that this is not a film i would ahve watched in 1995. Not during the same period as Pocahontas, and less memorable animated films like The Pebble and the penguin. This film just would not have existed, and any toy spawning entity would have come out looking a hell of a lot more like The power Rangers Movie than this. And while I’m supportive of progress being made with animated LGBT characters, it also doesn’t make any sense. Hawthorne would have never been in a same sex marriage in a kids film in 1995.
This never needed to be a movie that Andy saw. It should have just been a movie. From any time period. Without all the other nonsense.
Final Grade: C