Making the Grades
While you anxiously wait for Toy Story 2's October 2000 video release, Disney hopes to pacify you with a direct-to-video knockoff. Although it doesn't quite reach to infinity, this movie certainly goes beyond the usual made-for-video offerings.
Buzz (voiced by Tim Allen) opens his first 2-D animated feature with a mission from Star Command. Apparently three little green men (LGM's) are missing, and Buzz is certain the evil Zurg is behind the crime. With his partner Warp Darkmatter (Diedrich Bader), he discovers Zurg's hideout complete with the LGMs floating in what appears to be a giant lava lamp. But Buzz's confidence is shaken during the ensuing battle when Darkmatter is seriously injured and demands to be left to die.
Zurg's real interest in the LGM's is their Unimind, a universal intelligence that links all their brains together, allowing them to share knowledge and build the technology required by the Space Rangers. Zurg sees the Unimind as the key to brainwashing the universe with his evil plans.
Intent on never having another partner, Buzz strives to protect the LGMs himself, but when Zurg begins to wreck havoc, Buzz reluctantly accepts help from a tiny but powerful robotic creation of the LGMs named XR (Larry Miller), a feisty rookie named Ranger Mira Nova, and a gigantic but lovable custodian named Booster (Stephen Furst).
Of course the many battles result in typical Saturday morning cartoon style animated violence and destruction (which may frighten very young audiences). Yet surprisingly, the movie never loses the Toy Story spirit that we have grown to love. The script is peppered with the usual Pixar wit, and superhero Buzz has enough personality flaws to teach important lessons about cooperation and overcoming setbacks.
With a hilarious opening featuring the Toy Story cast (and Tom Hanks' younger brother Jim providing Woody's voice), this video provides entertainment for children and laughs for adults right up to the credits when we hear William Shatner (a.k.a. Captain James T. Kirk from Star Trek) revive his "singing" career.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.
What important lesson did Buzz learn because he insisted on working alone? What are the differences between wanting to be independent and being uncooperative?
Did you know William Shatner had a singing career? Thanks to the Internet, we can all share in his musical abilities. Check www.shatnerrocks.com to hear a man who has gone where no man has gone before.