The human version of Buzz Lightyear

I Cannot Say Enough Good Things About ‘Lightyear’

5/5 Derics

There are few Pixar movies that don’t dig their claws into your heart and stay there forever, but there’s something about the studio’s work that just also makes you feel warm and fuzzy. (Watch a Pixar movie and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.) So, it is no surprise that the latest in that lineup is Lightyear. Based on the (in-universe) live-action movie that Andy would have watched as a kid that inspired the cartoon that inspired his toy, Lightyear brings us the sci-fi adventure that really started it all.

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For those a bit confused on where Lightyear crash-lands in the grand scheme of Toy Story, let me explain. This happens to be the film that inspired the cartoon that the toy is from, within the story of the original movie. So this movie is like Andy’s Star Wars, a sci-fi movie that he loved. And Lightyear does a great job of giving us an understanding of why Andy would suddenly love this Buzz Lightyear toy more than he does Woody the Cowboy, who had been with him from the start.

The film stars Chris Evans as Buzz, a fictional character who is a member of Star Command and who blames himself for his team being stuck on an “uninhabitable” planet. So, he dedicates his life to getting his team home, and it results in Buzz refusing to accept his own failure and inability to do it all alone.

**Spoilers for Lightyear lie ahead.**

Buzz Lightyear looking determined in 'Lightyear'

The main premise of Lightyear is that Buzz becomes obsessed with the idea of reaching full hyperspace so he can get everyone back home. The problem with that is that every attempt warps time, losing him years with his friends on the planet below. Buzz’s best friend is Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba), and with each new “test,” he loses 4 years with her. And the closer he gets to hyperspace, the more years he loses, and it’s the emotional push that this movie has. He promised Alisha that he’d get them home, and he’s too absorbed in that mission to realize that Alisha found her own happiness.

She found a wife, had a family, and had a granddaughter who loved her and wanted to be a Star Command officer because of her, but Buzz was too busy trying to fix the mess he made. Much like the montage of Up, the display of Buzz losing years and losing his best friend into her eventual death just felt like a punch to the gut. She was the only one who was looking out for him, and he returns to be completely alone—well, alone outside of his robot cat Sox (Peter Sohn).

What this movie has for Buzz that I think the Toy Story movies lacked is the willingness from Buzz to be human. Yes, I’m aware that the Buzz we knew before was a toy, but he was paired with Woody, who was a very empathetic character even if he was a toy that Andy loved. This version of Buzz makes mistakes, and he’s brash, but he’s hurt by the loss of his friend and his own determination gets in his way, and the movie is about accepting help, understanding your own pain, and working to be the best person you can be, even with your flaws.

If you don’t like Buzz, that doesn’t really matter. I was a Woody fan first and foremost, and yet, somehow, this movie changed all my perceptions of Buzz. I understood why Andy would want the toy. I get what this movie means to him, and Lightyear does an amazing job of giving us a look into who Buzz Lightyear is. It’s a nostalgia fest in the best of ways and a must-see!

(featured image: Disney)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.