After three films (Drunk, Luke, Red alert) directly output on Disney+ without even going through the cinema box, the studio Pixar is about to unveil its brand new film in theaters, scheduled for June 22. We saw it in preview, and we give you our review.
A bit of context
Since the mid-1990s and the release of his first feature film (Toy Story), Pixar has always known how to create the event. It must be said that the lamp studio has long plunged the illustrious Disney studio into the shadows, while the latter seemed trapped in an interminable crossing of the desert. Even after becoming Disney property, Pixar continued to create surprise, accumulating critical and public successes, and winning all the awards. However the early 2020s were particularly trying for the studio : not content with having to manage the departure, following inappropriate behavior on his part, of John Lasseter, emblematic figure of Pixar, whom he directed for a long time, the Covid-19 crisis has been there.
Consequence of the health crisis: the last three Pixar feature films were released directly on the Disney+ platform, whereas they had been designed for the room. Several voices were raised among the studio’s creative teams, and Finally, Pixar finds its way back to the cinema with Buzz Lightning.
A worthwhile spin-off?
Tetralogy spin-off Toy Story, Buzz Lightning is presented as “Andy’s favorite movie, which inspired the toy that will compete with cowboy Woody“. If the film seemed to have everything to scare fans of Pixar’s cult saga (with a Chris Evans replacing Tim Allen in the dubbing of the character), it is in truth an idea that is all in all smart enough not to make this spin-off yet another product aimed at perpetuating a saga which has already had two epilogues. Indeed, this principle of film in the film allows Pixar an extraordinary freedom, which we will discuss later.
Because the first thing we can ask ourselves before seeing Buzz Lightning, is: is this film useful? However, perhaps because the film has the innocence of never answering this question (the opposite would have been suicidal), we forget it very quickly, and we let ourselves be immersed in this terribly effective SF adventure. Because yes, Buzz Lightning is a constant spectacle. Whereas Toy Story plunged us into a miniature world, the new Pixar plunges us into the immensely large, where everything is possible: space travel, inhospitable planets, the most absolute heroism.
A film-tribute and meta
Directed by Angus MacLane, co-director of the sympathetic Finding Dory, Buzz Lightning is a real tribute to a whole section of Pop Culture: the SF of the 80s/90sfrom the space colony landing on an inhospitable planet to the Aliento insects evoking the Starship Troopers of Paul Verhoeven, via the hyperspace journeys of Star Wars. References already assumed by John Lasseter at the time of Toy Storysince the Buzz toy evoked this weapon created by Zurg, his sworn enemy, capable of destroying a planet (obvious reference to the Death Star).
Above all, because he mixes these references to SF cinema with other references, obvious and obligatory, to Toy Storywithout however abusing it, and by his way of iconizing them, Angus MacLane somewhat mimics Steven Spielberg’s meta gesture in Ready Player One : he replaces Toy Story, the matrix saga of Pixar, in Pop Culture. What Tonton Steven was doing with his own cinema.
Once we have this data in mind, we understand that many artistic choices have several levels of reading. Thus, if the very solemn way Buzz has of expressing himself is a tribute to the sometimes pompous dialogues of action heroes of the 80s/90s, the fact that Chris Evans, Captain America of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (a character also very solemn in his manner of speaking), who lends his voice to the character is a fun meta gameand gives it a special flavor.
It is important, when we talk about Pixar, to also mention the technique. Indeed, over the years, the lamp studio has always pushed the limits of animated cinema very far. Here again, Pixar offers impeccable animation. The flight scenes are impressive, and the film has little to envy to current action films. A second viewing may be necessary to find technical revolutions here and there, strictly speaking, but note the impeccable management of light and its effects. We think in particular of a scene where Buzz’s ship approaches a star to go around it.
If it’s not as moving as Toy Story 3, Toy Story 4, up there, Vice versa Where Drunkthe film does quite well with its few emotional sequences. Partly thanks to several endearing characters, including the cat-robot Sox, who almost steals the show from the main character. The film also has a perfect management of its humor. Without abusing it, Pixar offers, as usual, an adventure as enjoyable for children as for adults.
The film Buzz Lightning does it therefore suffer from no defect? We could perhaps have hoped for a slightly crazier film, using its concept to offer a bestiary and a perhaps more inventive and confusing environment. Despite this, we are not disappointed with the trip, and we only ask to see a sequel. Especially since the post-credits scene seems to prepare us for it.
To conclude, if we could fear a completely dispensable spin-off, Buzz Lightning perfectly uses its concept of film in the film, thus the existence of the feature film is perfectly justified. Tribute to 80s/90s SF cinemathe film is not, however, a catalog of nostalgic references to the Stranger Thingsand emphasizes the place rather than the saga Toy Storyand therefore the Pixar studio, occupy in Pop Culture, as Steven Spielberg did with his own cinema in Ready Player One. Fun, playful, benefiting from impeccable animation, the film could have been a bit crazier, but the door left open to a potential sequel allows us to hope for even more inventiveness for the sequel. ! If it is not the best film from the studio, nor its most complex, it nevertheless brilliantly reminds us that Pixar films are often great films period.
If you liked this article, find out what the studio’s next film will be after Buzz Lightning. We can’t wait to see it!