“Lightyear,” a 2022 Pixar film, is a spinoff of the “Toy Story” franchise, and tells us the story of a character from Andy’s favorite film, the fabled space ranger, Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans). Director Angus Maclane, together with his co-writers Matthew Aldrich and Jason Headley, does not only create a children’s fantasy film, but builds a narrative that tries to explore human behaviors and the meaning of life. Often, we do not realize when our persistence gets transformed into obsession, and we start seeing life in a very different tint. Being passionate is not a vice, but there are multiple facets to our lives apart from that one thing that we are overly passionate about. Everybody has that one big goal, that one ambition, that he or she wants to achieve no matter what. But if we start assessing life through the success or failure of that goal, then the essence of our existence loses its luster. Life is not just about completing a task or being successful in your mission. It is about all those countless moments where you feel loved, where you have a sense of belongingness, where you make small efforts just to see your loved one’s smiling, and all those intangible and diverse feelings and emotions that you end up experiencing that make you feel satisfied and fulfilled when it all ends.
As humans, we don’t often believe that a different perspective could also exist in the same world as ours, and often we end up labeling any contradictory beliefs as being fallacious in nature. What we don’t understand is the fact that different individuals do not have identical experiences, and what they take from them becomes the foundation of their sensibilities. Just because somebody holds a conflicting view doesn’t mean that they are wrong. So let’s see whether Buzz Lightyear is able to complete his mission or not, and more importantly, is he able to find the key that leads him to eternal happiness.
‘Lightyear’ Plot Summary – What Is The Film About?
Buzz Lightyear liked to record his mission logs. Though nobody listened to it, he did it because it helped him focus. After the fatal accident that led to the crash landing of their vessel on the alien planet named T’kani Prime, the residents had built a base with electric fence wires on the perimeter that stopped the creatures from breaching the premises. They had been stranded for a complete year before they were ready to test the hyper-speed flight. The hyper speed crystal was finally developed by the scientists, and Buzz Lightyear was positive that he would finally be successful in his mission and once again be stationed as a space ranger in outer space. It was supposed to be a 4-minute flight, and commander Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba), was hopeful and had full faith in Buzz. During the first test flight, the crew had their eyes glued to the skies. In space, a time dilation had happened, and though Buzz had only spent minutes in his flight, back on the planet, 4 long years had passed. Buzz was not able to achieve the speed required, and the mission was a failure. He was coming extremely close to achieving the target every single time, and that was the reason he became even more restless and obsessed. His life had become all about these missions. He failed to build any relationships on the planet and focused on a single agenda for years. Hawthorne found a partner back on the planet and had become accustomed to Buzz not being there for most of the time. Every time Buzz came back after a span of four years, he saw a new development in the life of Hawthorne. She raised a family, and had kids and grandchildren too. When Buzz came back from one such mission, he found that Hawthorne had passed away. It was a strange feeling for the space ranger to see his colleagues turning old, their hairs becoming gray and wrinkles becoming more prominent on their faces. It was as if he was witnessing the eternal truth of life unfolding in front of their eyes. Buzz hadn’t aged even a bit because of the time dilation. Alicia Hawthorne, before leaving, had left him a feline robot to give him company. It was named Sox (Peter Sohn) and though Buzz didn’t want a nagging companion, he was unaware about the fact that it would help him devise the perfect formula and develop the hyper-speed crystal, which would help him get off the planet. They steal a plane as the new commander in charge, Burnside(Isiah Whitlock Jr.), who had replaced Alicia Hawthorne, had prohibited any space ranger from undertaking any mission. Buzz, with the help of the formula, is, for the first time in all these years, able to achieve his target, but when he returns back to his base, he realizes that he has been gone for almost 62 years. Buzz had gone back and forth in time, and that had created an anomaly that he was yet to encounter. The planet was under the attack of alien robots, and their leader, named Zurg, was posing a threat to the existence of all the residents.
Who Was Zurg?
After landing back on the planet, Buzz encounters a robot who scans his aircraft. He was clueless about what was happening and who these robots were that were trying to kill him. He meets Izzy Hawthorne (Keke Palmer), granddaughter of Alicia, and realizes that she has a crew of highly trained experts in place. But as soon as the robots from the alien ship attack them, he realizes these were no experts; in fact, they were amateurs who didn’t have a clue about what they were doing. Izzy’s amateur team consisted of Mo Morrison (Taika Watiti), an under confident individual, Darby Steel (Dale Soules), an outlaw who had the knack of making anything explode, and a good for nothing robot named D.E.R.I.C. They located a warehouse from where Buzz was supposed to get a spare part for his jet, and then it was decided that they would part ways. They are attacked by huge bug-like creatures, and Izzy and her colleagues accidentally land up inside Buzz’s aircraft. More and more robots keep pouring from the alien ship, and finally, they get a hold of Captain Lightyear. They take Buzz inside their ship, where he meets Zurg, the menacing commander, and is shocked beyond any measure when he gets to know his real identity. Zurg was an older version of Buzz, who had voyaged far into the future and then came back to the planet using advanced technology that he found there. Zurg had figured out a way of traveling back to the past, and now he had only one aim: he wanted to stop the Star Command ship from crashing, which was the reason for the 1400 crew members getting stranded on the planet. For a moment, Buzz entertained the possibility, but then he realized that everything would change if they changed the past. Alicia would never meet her partner and wouldn’t have her children and grandchildren. Izzy would cease to exist, and those countless moments of joy and the fond memories would be erased forever. Buzz didn’t feel that it was the right thing to do. Just because Zurg was adamant about stopping his failure from happening, didn’t mean that he had the right to snatch their enamored memories. Buzz decides that he is not going to let it happen. He puts up a fight against Zurg but finds himself in desperate need of help, as the alien ship commander was too powerful for him to handle alone. Izzy and Sox come to his rescue. Even though Izzy suffered from astrophobia, she plunged into the dark, vast sky to save Captain Lightyear. They are able to take the hyperspeed crystal from Zurg’s ship and come out of it alive. The alien ship explodes and they assume that Zurg must have died inside it.
‘Lightyear’ Ending Explained: Does Buzz Complete His Mission? What Did The Post Credit Scene Mean?
Buzz, together with Izzy, Mo, and Darby, comes back to his planet. He is honored by Commander Burnside, who asks him to join the Universe Protection Unit. He offers him the chance to choose his own crew from the able soldiers from the existing protection unit, but Buzz respectfully declines. He decides that Izzy, Mo, and Darby will be a part of his crew. The trio were exhilarated beyond any measure, as their dream of becoming space rangers was now going to be fulfilled. He was never able to complete his mission, but he realized that his obsession and ambition had put a blindfold in front of his eyes and that he had never lived or cherished even a single moment. It was about time he accepted his life and the failures that came with it. There are multiple post-credit scenes in Lightyear, and specifically, one of them hinted towards the possibility of the menace returning once again to the planet. Commander Burnside was proud of the fact that they had created a laser shield that didn’t allow the creatures to breach the perimeter of their base. D.E.R.I.C on the other hand was still trying to ascertain the directions but couldn’t find anyone around him to pay heed to whatever he was maundering. And then, finally, we see Zurg drifting through space, whom Captain Buzz and his team believed to be dead. But suddenly, he opens his eyes, and we realize that, in all probability, the commander will return to the planet to go back in time and stop the Star Command Ship from crashing.
“Lightyear” is a 2022 Adventure Animation Film directed by Angus MacLane.