After “Toy Story 2” earned critical acclaim & made a lot of money at the box office, Disney & Pixar worked on a 2D animated spin-off series titled, “Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command.” Both Disney & Pixar completed three episodes and packaged them as an hour and a half film in order to promote the cartoon. Tim Allen reprised his role as Buzz. The only time he voiced him in three episodes is the DVD and VHS version. Patrick Warburton took over Tim’s role for the rest of the show and redubbed the first three episodes in the televised version.
Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command was released on DVD & VHS in 2000. (same year The Emperor’s New Groove came out) The series ran from 2000-2001 on Disney Channel. Back when Disney Channel had good shows, until “Hannah Montana” happened.
Now that “Toy Story 4” earned early reviews with critics giving the latest Toy Story film critical acclaim, I would like to present my thoughts on what’s good or bad about this underrated direct-to-video movie setting up a Buzz Lightyear cartoon in 2D animated format taking place within the Toy Story universe with Woody & Buzz watching the show.
The following review does not feature any very important SPOILERS whatsoever. If you haven’t got a chance to view this underrated film, feel free to read my non-spoiler article. Is Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command a good direct-to-video film or one of Disney’s worst cheaply made direct-to-video sequels? Let’s find out shall we?
Positive & Negative Elements
Positive: Tim Allen did a fantastic job for his voiceover performance as Buzz Lightyear. Again, Patrick Warburton also voices Buzz in the televised version redubbing Tim’s voice.
Wayne Knight who voiced Al (fat guy wearing a chicken suit) from Toy Story 2, provides the voice of Zurg. He did a hilarious job for his voiceover performance as a parody of Darth Vader.
Other Cast Members such as Nicole Sullivan, Larry Miller, Diedrich Bader, Stephen Furst & Adam Carolla all did a decent job for their respective voiceover performances.
Animation isn’t that bad. Turned out to be pretty good lacking errors.
Humor pokes fun at tropes associated with Saturday Morning Cartoons in a self-aware manner. For example, a text tells us the location, then it reminds us how repetitive they have to remind us over and over again, but not in an annoying way.
Sean Hayes (Jack from Will & Grace) voices a brain in a robotic body.
Wallace Shawn reprises his role as Rex in the pre-opening scene.
Tom Hanks’ brother Jim filled in his role as Woody, because Tom wasn’t available to reprise is role as he was filming “Cast Away.”
Action Sequences were pretty decent from start to finish.
The Pacing is fast transitioning one scene to another. For an animated film, it’s fine as long as it doesn’t go 88 mph. Any of you boys & girls get the reference?
Besides Buzz, original characters made for the show have memorable personalities to reflect a Saturday Morning Cartoon in a good way. Larry Miller’s character XR is my favorite.
Mira Nova phasing through walls and floors reminded me of Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat from “X-Men.”
The LGM’s use a claw to pick up a sphere resembling a planet. A reference to The LGM’s line “The Claw” from the first Toy Story film.
Buzz says his catchphrase “To Infinity And Beyond!”
William Shatner sings “To Infinity And Beyond” during The End Credits.
The film is a love letter to Saturday Morning Cartoons known for promoting merchandise driven characters like “Transformers,” “Thundercats,” “He-Man,” “G.I. Joe” & “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
Negative: At the 0:27:51 mark, Buzz shouts, “We got him on the run!” There’s only one problem, his lips don’t move. Animation 101, make sure you fully animate a character’s movements speech and expressions before you let the actors record dialogue.
A Plot Twist never caught me by surprise. Without giving anything away, a character’s name and appearance is painfully obvious. Here’s a better plot twist, “Wilford Brimely has diabeetus!” No offense Mr. Brimley.
A “Deus Ex Machina” happened. If you don’t know what a Deus Ex Machina is, look it up.
The Final Verdict: B-
In my opinion, Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command is a decent direct-to-video spin-off paying tribute to Saturday Morning Cartoons. Despite some blemishes, I found it to be an average film without insulting my intelligence. If you’re interested in this underrated movie, go ahead and give it a watch.