Pixar’s Lightyear has some interesting plot twists and character motivations that prove it’s just Top Gun: Maverick but in the depths of space.
The following contains spoilers for Lightyear and Top Gun: Maverick, both in theaters now.
One of the most surprising aspects of Hollywood this year is how Top Gun: Maverick has taken cinemas by storm. It’s become Tom Cruise’s highest-grossing film, providing the perfect formula on how to meld ’80s nostalgia with modern action. The obvious Americana aside, it really was an excellent take on the Navy fighting off mysterious terrorists, with Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell reminding fans why he’s a badass.
Interestingly, the entertainment industry churned out another high-octane, explosive effort in Pixar’s Lightyear. However, this one’s for kids, with Chris Evans taking over from Toy Story‘s Tim Allen to bring Buzz Lightyear to life and show what he did as a Space Ranger with Star Command. Coincidentally, by the time the film ends, it turns out to be a lot like Maverick but in space.
Now, this comparison isn’t just being made because the two movies were released around the same time. They share common scenes, with Buzz’s hyper-speed test around an alien planet feeling just like when Pete tried to break Mach-10 with a supersonic jet. In Pete’s case, he was trying out new tech to keep the government investing, but Buzz’s run was to test a fuel source to ensure it could take them to hyper-speed and get his marooned colony back to Earth.
Secondly, Buzz used Pete’s big Hail Mary play at the beginning of Lightyear. In Maverick‘s finale, Pete’s crew of jets blew up a base, then made a steep ascent to avoid enemy gunfire. They scaled the cliff’s edge, barely missing the rocks, to head back to their fleet. Buzz did the same, piloting the colony’s ship to escape alien vines. However, he ignored his autopilot and tried to manually climb the cliff, which led to them clipping the sharp edges and crash-landing to kick the story off about them being lost.
In addition, just like how Pete had his diverse array of junior pilots with Rooster and co., Buzz had Izzy, Mo and Steel. Admittedly, only Izzy was young, but Buzz was in Pete’s shoes, teaching inexperienced soldiers what real war entailed. The difference was Pete had to prep his squadron for a mysterious uranium dealer, while Buzz prepped his crew to face Zurg, an alien overlord trying to end their colony. The same way Pete looked at Goose’s son, Rooster, as family, Buzz looked at Izzy, as she was the grandchild of his bestie and Ranger colleague, Alisha. Thus, both men had emotional connections to apprentices they didn’t want to lose.
Last but not least, there was a common spirituality in terms of roguish attitudes. Pete broke the rules in Maverick‘s final act, jumping in his jet to show his superiors in the Navy how to pull off the bombing. They wanted to sack him, but this act of defiance showed them the mission was possible. Buzz learned to do the same in Lightyear, breaking ranks and jumping into his vessel with Sox and a new fuel formula after his program was shut down, too.
This insubordination allowed Buzz to crack hyper-speed to find a way home, although he would sacrifice it to stop Zurg. Ultimately, both men had journeys that educated them about taking risks and trusting their peers. This helped them put their egos aside, inducing a new mentality as teachers whose mission was to now take the next generation forward.
See how Lightyear matches up to Top Gun: Maverick, both currently playing in theaters.
I’m a former Chemical Engineer. It was boring so I decided to write about things I love. On the geek side of things, I write about comics, cartoons, video games, television, movies and basically, all things nerdy. I also write about music in terms of punk, indie, hardcore and emo because well, they rock! If you’re bored by now, then you also don’t want to hear that I write for ESPN on the PR side of things. And yes, I’ve written sports for them too! Not bad for someone from the Caribbean, eh? To top all this off, I’ve scribed short films and documentaries, conceptualizing stories and scripts from a human interest and social justice perspective. Business-wise, I make big cheddar (not really) as a copywriter and digital strategist working with some of the top brands in the Latin America region. In closing, let me remind you that the geek shall inherit the Earth. Oh, FYI, I’d love to write the Gargoyles movie for Disney. YOLO. That said, I’m on Twitter @RenaldoMatadeen. So holler.