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Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins

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"Never fear, Buzz is here..."
—Tagline

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins is a 2000 direct-to-video animated film produced by by Walt Disney Television Animation and Pixar Animation Studios as a co-production that served as a spin-off to The Toy Story Franchise and is the pilot for the television series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. The film has aired on ABC Family.

Although Pixar was not involved in the production of the movie or TV show, they created the opening sequence for the film with the toys in Andy's room, as well as the main title of the series.

Canonically, this is considered to be the show that exists within the fictional universe of the Toy Story films that inspired the existence of the Buzz Lightyear toyline.

Tim Allen reprises his role as the voice of Buzz Lightyear for this film; however, Tom Hanks does not provide his voice for Woody, who is voiced by his brother Jim Hanks instead. And John Ratzenberger does not provide his voice for Hamm, who is voiced by Andrew Stanton instead.

When the movie was later edited into three parts of the TV show, the Andy's House sequence was removed, and Buzz Lightyear's dialogue was re-dubbed by Patrick Warburton, who does Buzz's voice for the series. The director is Tad Stones, who has also created the Disney Afternoon shows Darkwing Duck and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.

Plot

The movie begins in Andy's bedroom (Sometime after the events of Toy Story 2 and before the events of Toy Story 3), Andy is probably at school and Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Rex, Hamm, Slinky, Wheezy, Bullseye, Robot, Sarge, Troll, Roly Poly ClownThe Toddle tots, The Troikas and The Aliens are about to watch the VHS copy of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. In the film, Buzz Lightyear and his partner Warp Darkmatter are on a mission to find three missing Little Green Men, a noosphere-dwelling race who are the scientists of Star Command's Universe Protection Unit. They discover the lost L.G.M.s in a hidden outpost belonging to the Evil Emperor Zurg. Zurg is attempting to discover the secret of how the L.G.M.s are bound together mentally and emotionally into a single integrated whole, so that he can use it as a method of subjugation. Buzz frees the L.G.M.s, but Zurg escapes and Warp is trapped in the outpost. It explodes, and Warp is presumed dead.

Buzz vows to never take another partner since he believes that he'll just endanger the lives of Space Rangers, despite his mentor Commander Nebula's assignment to him of the psychically powerful Princess Mira Nova. Later, Buzz rescues from disgrace a shy janitor called Booster, who wishes to become a Space Ranger himself.

Zurg's workers are then shown creating in his fortress a new second-in-command called "Agent Z", who is flesh and blood but has a robotic arm that can transform into a variety of weapons. Zurg learns of a huge orb on the L.G.M. homeworld called the Uni-Mind, which is responsible for the telepathic link between the creatures. Zurg sends assault forces to capture it.

Meanwhile, the Star Command L.G.M. have built a robot soldier called XR, who is nearly indestructible. XR's mind is a blank slate; therefore he can learn from Buzz Lightyear, to whom he is offered as a partner. When Buzz and XR set off to defend the L.G.M. planet from invasion, XR mimics Buzz's actions, learning from him. They are confronted by Agent Z, whom they pursue to a rooftop. There, XR is destroyed.

The Uni-Mind is stolen by Zurg; in its absence, the L.G.M.s can no longer think clearly. They rebuild XR, but because of their confusion the new version is frivolous and hedonistic. The L.G.M.s later give him to Booster as a helper.

The Space Rangers, at a meeting called by Commander Nebula, discuss battle strategies by which to recover the Uni-Mind, without which the L.G.M. and therefore Star Command's operations are crippled. Mira Nova suggests that a single Space Ranger might infiltrate and undermine Zurg's operation by use of the experimental Alpha-One spacecraft; Buzz, jumping the bandwagon, offers to go himself. Commander Nebula calls them "both big-headed show-offs" and dismisses their plan, deciding to launch a full-scale assault on Zurg's stronghold.

Zurg, when his technicians fail to do so, suborns the Uni-Mind so that he can use it to control the minds of others. Zurg's people thereafter begin making a "Mega-Ray" that will use the corrupted Uni-Mind to bend entire populations of people to Zurg's will.

Mira and Buzz each attempt to steal the Alpha-One prototype spacecraft; Mira, using her powers of psychokinesis, wins the face-off and leaves with the ship. Buzz pursues her in his own craft, not realizing that Booster and XR are inside it, having entered it to play make-believe. Eventually, Buzz catches Mira and stores Alpha-One in his spaceship's cargo bay. At this time Booster and XR are also discovered.

Zurg's Mega-Ray subverts several planets in quick succession. He then turns it on Star Command, enjoying the irony of watching his greatest enemies become his mouthpieces. Buzz, Mira, Booster, and XR see the Mega-Ray's beam strike Star Command, and enter it to discover its effects. This scene sequence features a reprise of Buzz's famous line from Toy Story "Buzz Lightyear to Star Command: Come in, Star Command!", which he uses to contact their communications receiving center. When the four protagonists discover that all of the Space Rangers have been suborned by Zurg, they flee in Buzz's Star Cruiser. Zurg sends his victims to destroy them, using Star Command's entire arsenal. When one of his men plant a bomb on the Star Cruiser, the protagonists use Alpha-One to escape, just as Buzz's craft explodes.

They land on Zurg's home planet, narrowly escaping the defensive "seeker drones". They crash-land the Alpha-One, which is mistaken by Zurg's technician for a weather balloon. There, Buzz insists on proceeding alone, much to Mira's annoyance. He meets Agent Z and defeats him, only to find that Agent Z is actually Warp Darkmatter, who has been working for Zurg for years. Warp and Zurg hold Buzz captive and taunt him with his error of trusting Warp Darkmatter, which had put Zurg on track of the Uni-Mind. Buzz, admitting that he was wrong to proceed alone, sends a message to Mira, disguising it as a "final entry" in his mission log. Warp accepts the excuse, knowing that Buzz is very rule-bound and therefore likely to make reports even when no one is able to read them.

Zurg sends Buzz to be shot by the Mega-Ray; XR and Booster rescue him at the last moment. Booster and Mira destroy Agent Z's mechanical arm. Buzz and Zurg face each other; Zurg thinks he has won, but Buzz and his three friends surround Zurg and pronounce him under arrest.

Zurg manages to escape. Booster and XR, under orders from Buzz, capture Warp Darkmatter and leap from Zurg's now-exploding tower. Mira and Buzz restore the Uni-Mind to normal, freeing the suborned peoples and leaving Zurg himself momentarily helpless. His last words before being thus rendered are "Curse you, Buzz Lightyear!" — an oft-repeated phrase throughout the later television series. The unity of the L.G.M. is restored. With Mira, Booster and XR, Buzz forms Team Lightyear.

Development

In an interview with Lee Unkrich that was taken after Toy Story 2, he said that Pixar was concerned about the series at first because they felt that the traditional, flatter animation wouldn't do justice to Buzz. They ultimately decided that it wouldn't matter since it would just be a Saturday morning cartoon, and it could actually be the cartoon that Buzz originally came from. In fact, Pixar had always intended for the first Toy Story to open with a Buzz Lightyear cartoon done in traditional animation, so this is probably why they agreed on the series being made. [1]

However, John Lasseter reportedly hated it, according to Tad Stones in an interview. [2]

Voice cast

References

  1. Interview with Lee Unkrich
  2. Tad Stones Podcast

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