Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins [2000]

This direct-to-video feature, which serves as a lead-in to the upcoming Disney animated TV series, continues the adventures of Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story films--and introduces the new supporting cast. Buzz battles the evil Emperor Zurg, who steals the "Unimind," a device that enables three-eyed aliens to function as a single intellect. The aliens, referred to as "LGMs" (little green men), form the support crew that keep Star Command running, but as individual thinkers, they're inept. During the course of this tongue-in-cheek adventure, Buzz acquires the sidekicks who form Team Lightyear: Booster, an oversized, overeager alien; XR (short for "Experimental Ranger"), one of the aliens' less successful robot inventions; and the inevitable spunky girl, Princess Mira Nova of the planet Tangeah. The two-dimensional, hand-drawn figure of the three-dimensional, computer-generated Buzz recalls the animated versions of live performers who populated Saturday morning TV during the 1980s. This adventure is typical of current kidvid: it has more special effects and sight gags than the cartoons of 20 years ago did, but the violence-free battles feel very tame. Buzz Lightyear may engage kids who play with the toys, but it won't appeal to the adults who flocked to the brilliant Toy Story features. --Charles Solomon

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