Hey Pixar, Why Did You Make Buzz Lightyear Hot?
[REUPLOAD] originally posted June 20, 2022
This time, the offending incident wasn’t a billboard but a bus stop ad, half a walking minute from my apartment on my usual running route. Buzz Lightyear, smoldering out at me. His face older, his jaw broader, his eyes narrowed with intensity. “What the fuck?” I asked George as we passed it on our way to work. “Who the fuck did this?”
Today, in honor of the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been while looking indirectly at a children’s character’s face, I humbly submit to you a list of egregious ways Pixar decided to make Buzz Lightyear hot:
Hot Move #1: They dropped the “Buzz,” and now he’s just “Lightyear.” Fair enough! If “Buzz” is that bow-tied dweeb from seventh grade algebra, “Lightyear” is the slick kid at the cool table wearing an untucked Vineyard Vines shirt, and he’s probably gelling back his hair — I mean, his purple hooded morphsuit — as we speak.
Which brings me to Hot Move #2: He has hair now! This is a heretical choice, but undeniably a hot one. Lightyear is boldly answering the question no one wanted to ask: Is Buzz Lightyear bald under there?
Hot Move #3: He’s voiced by Chris Evans. Now, I have loved Chris Evans from the first Captain America movie, which is the only Captain America movie I have ever seen, and which I have a fond nostalgia for despite its rampant celebration of militarist nationalism. (Whatever! At least Stanley “I Can’t Believe He’s in This Movie” Tucci is in this movie!) I have loved scrawny, poorly CGI’ed Chris Evans getting in fights with bigger men at movie theaters ~for America.~ I have loved digitally twinkified Chris Evans whose head is way too big for his body, and I have loved normally-proportioned Sebastian Stan ruffling his hair. I have loved Chris Evans emerging from his crazy steroid machine as Swole Chris Evans, pretending like he has nooooo idea how he got so big and oily. I have loved Chris Evans being too nervous to ask out Hayley Atell, and I have especially loved Hayley Atwell being all sexy confident Miss Scarlett from Clue about it, and I have, yes, cried at the scene where they confess their love for each other while he Titanics himself but from the sky. Obsessed with all of it. Obsessed with Angry Dystopian Champion of the Proletariat Chris Evans in Snowpiercer, even though I always forget whether it’s Chris Evans or Chris Pine in this movie, because Tilda Swinton is in it and, as always, renders every other performance in her vicinity dull and unmemorable. Obsessed with careless, bulgy, sweatered, and sheltered Chris Evans in Knives Out, but mostly obsessed with everyone else’s obsession with his sweater. To be honest, Chris Evans seems like a likely candidate to be canceled any day now, possibly because he lies in the exact middle of Armie Hammer and Chris Pratt both aesthetically and reputationally. But for now, we can celebrate that Chris Evans is hot, nostalgic, blandly uncancellable, and, weirdly, now attached to this Buzz Lightyear project.
Hot Move #4: According to the Lightyear trailer, Pixar has fully abandoned the whole “Buzz Lightyear thinks he’s a real astronaut who deserves other, lesser toys’ reverence but then must undergo ego death in the form of an Al’s Toy Barn commercial when he realizes there are millions of toys just like him and he is not special or anointed or intrinsically worthier than anyone else” storyline. Now he’s just a typical futuristic space dude in an animated world that looks exactly like both Star Trek and Star Wars and is set to the song “Starman” in case the pop-cultural celestial references weren’t heavy-handed enough. Awesome! Goodbye substance, hello flash! Goodbye, layered exploration of narrative identity and winsome transformation arc that teaches children empathy! Hello, lots of computers with the power to make lasers go pew-pew really fast in IMAX!
Hot Move #5: The way this is totally NOT corporate fantasia about Pixar’s breakthrough hits at the early peak of their stardom! This is NOT a tiresomely self-referential, money-milking attempt to get the original children’s audience of Toy Story to fall for a nostalgia rewatch and maybe pay for their kids to watch too! This is not an insane regurgitation of ideas that grungier people had two decades ago, except stripped of all the human soul that made those ideas radically joyful and curious and heartfelt! This is NOT that! This is NOT a scam! This is hot!! This is sexy!!! This is what the people want, right? They want the little green aliens from Pizza Planet but now they have minimalist tattoos and vape vocal fry, right??? They want Sid the demonic neighbor kid, except give him the Pete Davidson edit, right??????? They want children to learn that the only thing of value in the world is raw and carnal fervor…right??
Pixar, you crazed and broken thing. Please do us all a favor and put Hot Buzz Lightyear away. He’s not appropriate, and he’s not needed here. He already went Spanish Mode™ in Toy Story 3 and spun Jessie around all sexy because he suddenly knew how to dance, and even that was sort of pushing it, especially when he did the eyebrow thing. Hot Buzz Lightyear is weird, and we don’t want him. Just put Chris Evans in a movie about his pecs before he gets canceled, and we can all move on from this incident with our sanity intact. Thank you!