Space L Clottey

Lightyear thoughts

Animation

Obviously georgous. I really believed in the screwiness of the planet.

Story

I was in love with the first ten minutes.

Knowing that basically all movies have to go over a character having an emotional arc or learning somehting, I was very curious to start with what emotional arc they would give to Buzz Lightyear. I was really excited during the first minute when the ship was landing, I thought it was awesome. But then when Buzz started moaning about the rookie… I was worried that it was going to be the generic “I work alone” arc, where the main character learns to not be stubborn and work with others.

But then the ship crashes.

And that made me SUPER happy.

I couldn’t tell what was going to happen when the ship was about to crash, and when it DID I was SUPER happy. And I LOVE the idea of the entire movie taking place on this one planet that they get stranded on. It’s a great setting and a fascinating plot, and I still buy that they’re space rangers… even more so maybe seeing them create something from the ground up during a time of hardness.

I was caught off guard but man it moved my heart when the timelapse started of the humans just starting again and building. This group of amazingly intellegent humans coming together to build something great… I almost choked up.

It was also shot georgously (this movie is full of georgous shots).

When they got straight to the test flight, I had no idea what was about to happen. I thought that if it failed, doing it again would be a double beat, but I didn’t know what would happen if he did successfully hyperspeed around the run, so I extremely excited during the flight.

And everything to do with space in this film is georgous, and so was the flight. When he was first flinging through the deacceleration fields I thought this is real sci-fi.

And it is. It’s proper creative serious high stakes intruiging novel sci-fi.

And he lands and he’s skipped through time and it’s just incredible sci-fi.

When Buzz was going to give up his title I was so impressed by his character and he became likeable then, and honestly he stayed likeable. I love seeing characters who care so much about something. Especially Buzz here who really doesn’t make it about him, but about saving them and flying off into space and returning home.

(Also I love that absolutely nothing is said about Buzz’s family or friends, because it’s not relevant to the story, which is something I have been known to do.)

It did 0.1% damage when I realised he could eventually come back and Alisha would be dead, and I was glued to screen when she really did.

Just a man sacrificing everything in this fascinating sci-fi way to fix his mistake and save everyone from being stranded was such a great novel conflict.

And I loved watching him break in to the chamber with Sox, and the stakes as he was doing the ship, then when he went into hyperspeed, it was absolutely georgous and draw dropping…

These first ten minutes of the film were basically perfect.

And then everything changed.

Story 2

Then the plot became super generic. It went from this cool man vs nature man vs self story to buzz vs the forces of the story trying to teach him that objectively annoying people aren’t actually annoying. And this is such a generic plot.

I liked the Alisha’s grandaughter thing, but I worry that because we didn’t get that much characterisation with real Alisha weakens the blow of her death by having someone who looks almost identical to her become a main character 2 minutes after her death.

But it’s a cool sci-fi idea.

But in general I was unhappy when the movie started being about attacking robots instead of a cool man vs nature man vs self story. And it never managed to sell me on the robot thing.

The stakes were convoluted, between the robots attacking the forcefield and the robots being controlled by the ship therefore they have to control the ship, and it being controlled by Zurg.

There are two big parts of this film I was bothered by:

Zurg

I thought “I wonder how Zurg’s plot is going to mirror Buzz’s?” and I wondered if Zurg was going to be Buzz’s dad. Zurg was rather unmenacing and it annoyed be how slowly the robots walked, especially Zurg’s bot, during the whole film. But it was cool when Zurg was literally Buzz and it’s like yeah of course, it’s a great most obvious way to have the villain’s plot reflect the main’s own.

(Like, I liked it. I wasn’t upset about it.)

And when they were talking it was great. Present Buzz (who I’ll just call Buzz and the other one Future Buzz) was a bit more woke at this point but I was there for it, and I loved how they were just talking and bothering to reason to eachother.

And it was an interesting dillema. It would be terribly grim if you were arrested apon figuring out and proving the way for you to return home and you would go as far away as possible and you were returned only to be arrested. And I believed it given what we’d received on the general’s characterisation. And it makes sense that buzz would screw off as far as he could go. But the time travel stuff was a little weird. They seemed to distort slightly the mechanism we were already familiar with, but it was vaguely okay…

And then there’s the dillemma between going back in time and fixing it, vs continuing on. And the considering of Alisha’s grandaughter and all the lives everyone else made on this planet besides the Buzz’s was a natural conflict, and it mirroring his obsessive desire to correct his mistake is a good conflict.

A very good conflict.

It’s made a teensy bit artificial by the fact that without the general arresting buzz, there’d be no conflict and they could resolve getting stranded without killing anyone in a time travel loop. (Actually when you phrase it as killing it’s a bit more obvious zurg is the bad guy…)

But yeah. The idea of Zurg being Buzz is a strange idea.

But anyway, I was here for it. And I really liked when they were talking to eachother debating the dillemma normally. And I knew that the story required Zurg to be evil again, but I found it annoying when Buzz just ended the conversation, and it’s like obviously Zurg has to use his immenese, immense power over you to rapidly stop you from stopping everything he cares about when you haven’t bothered to explain why he’s wrong to the point where he agrees with you.

And it’s silly and artificial, but whatever.

Post this, the idea of Buzz being the villain stops being intresting or nuanced and he instead starts saying crap like “I’M YOU!” which is super on the nose, and almost defeats all the fun of having a character who’s the same as the hero?

I think I’m being too harsh. I think I’ll enjoy it more on the second watch. I’m definately going to watch it again, because I was confused.

Confusion

I was confused when

Annoying People

The things that Buzz was supposed to learn are worth embracing into his life are objectively annoying either just at the beginning, or throughout the film.

Stealth’s forceful counting down at the beginning of the film was annoying.

The autopilot’s forceful counting down at the beginning of the film was objectively annoying. The cat at the beginning was almost objectively annoying (but then quickly became immensley loveable and one of my favourite, if not my favourite character).

But also the spanish guy and the old lady were annoying only because they were in teh wrong place. Actually I didn’t mind the old lady too much but she was the definition of Stock Character, while the quitter guy was actually relatively annoying maybe. Actually no I mean he didn’t want to be there.

But Buzz had no reason to trust or like them to begin with…

Actually I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too harsh. All I know is that I did not buy Buzz choosing them as his crew at the end. What you’re supposed to do in stories like this is have specific moments where Buzz is proven wrong about their cleverness, showing them thinking of things he couldn’t have or sacrificing things for him the mission and then one specific, high stakes super important time they prove their worth.

Not like random small stakes stuff like the woman randomly deus ex machina-ing zurg when he’s chasing Buzz and her and the spanish guy plopping down that thing when buzz wasn’t there.

Other

The steal mode conflict was poor. You can’t have a major conflict or theme depnding on one character just forgetting to mention something and then making that his fault. Buzz literlaly just forgot to mention about the stealth timer (which is a stupid thing to forget) and they’re making it seem like it’s such a big deal about him.

Another time

The humor was alright I think. Some points it was like “i see you are making a joke” but otherpoints got me and made me laugh, especially the cat.

I thought a couple of Buzz’s lines were delivered slightly poorly but apart from that he was fine and everyone else was totally perfect as is normal for a pixar film.

Conclusion

I liked Lightyear. Most of my problems were it were pretty thinky. I think they kinda gave up halfway through writing it. Buzz Lightyear’s plot from Toy Story is intrinsically linked to Zurg and I probably would’ve have been a bit sad if Zurg wasn’t in it, but it was such an interesting novel concept until he showed up.

I think Zurg being Buzz is great but after he finished talking was abotu the time the movie became actually lazy.

Stick a bit more with the cool novel deep plot of man-vs-mistake! And a little less man vs army of robots and annoying people, unless you wanna focus on that plot in which case make it as good as man-vs-mistake.

But in general it’s a georgous movie that I will think about for a while and defiantely watch again.