Matt. Regular guy from Tennessee. Electrical Engineering major. Moonlighting as a bad fiction writer....
I dont' get it either. I'm sure we'll get along famously.


Toy Story: An Analysis of Buzz Lightyear


We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to BLOW YOUR MIND.

Toy Story. I’ve always been a big fan of Toy Story, but it wasn’t until I really started to go in depth with film analysis that I realized how amazing the movie is. I’ve been wanting to talk about it for a while, (particularly the character of Buzz Lightyear.) so I guess now is as good a time as any. Here we go.

The narrative is told from the outside looking in (Obviously since they’re toys and you’re a human). Which is genius, in my opinion, because it gives you the perfect view into a narrative that is, in fact, an allegory of your own life and growing up. The irony. Toys growing up.

And you’re Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.

Skeptical? Stay with me.

Buzz “crash lands” on the stable social ecosystem of Andy’s room. Just as you landed in the lives of your family and, eventually, your friends when you were born.

When you were young, you found a dream. Something that inspired you. Something you thought would be great. You believed it to be your very identity. And you also believed that you knew more than you did.


For Buzz, that’s being a universe protection unit from Sector 4 of the Gamma Quadrant. A bona fide SPACE RANGER. That’s you.

Woody- a character who is real in our lives - maybe it’s ourselves, maybe it’s our parents, maybe it’s a peer - but they don’t believe you’re a space ranger. They believe you’re a “toy.”

T-O-Y. Toy.


And when you’re told for the first time, you don’t believe them. The first time you’re told that you can’t. The first time you’re told that there are limits.  Why would you listen to someone who is only going to bring you down? A hater? A nay-sayer? A non-believer?

You got this far by focusing. By tuning out all the negatives. By feeding on the positive energy of your supporters.

And then the worst thing that could possibly happen does: you show them all that you CAN, in fact, “fly.”

With your eyes closed!

Your supporters support you even louder. The jealous voice is nothing more than an annoying squeak.

They’ll try to get under your skin.


But you don’t have to take any of that. Yes. As a matter of fact, you ARE the real Buzz Lightyear. You just showed everyone in broad daylight.

(Even though it was all an illusion…)

And suddenly or eventually, you find yourself in a conflict. Possibly through some action of your own. Like beating up a cowboy who delayed your rendezvous with Star Command. You get lost. And somehow you get snagged up by some deranged “happy child”. And you’re in a jam. A real jam. But wait! You’re a space ranger! You eat jams for breakfast on your toast!

Or do you?


Because suddenly it’s right in front of your face. You have undeniable proof that you’re “not a flying toy.” You’re not a space ranger.


You were made in Taiwan. Undeniable proof. 

Yet you deny it anyway.

You flew. You remember it.

But the proof-

NO! Screw the proof! Everyone said you could fly through any window you choose! 

You prep yourself. Open your wings and take off.


But when you jump this time, you fail to stay aloft.


You’re not “falling with style” anymore.


You’re just falling. 


And smash into the ground…

Your arm breaks off. The navigation and communication arm. The functional one. 

You’ve lost guidance. You’ve lost direction. You’ve never been more lost in your whole life and you sink into a deep depression.

"One moment you’re saving the galaxy… The next you’re sucking down Darjeeling with Marie Antoinette and her sister."


Your identity has been stripped away from you. You don’t know what you are anymore. Everything you thought you were is not.



You’re more than depressed. You’re shattered. Nothing is worth the time. “What’s the point? My critics were right! I’m not a space ranger! I’m just a toy! A stupid, little, insignificant toy!”


And then the best thing that could possibly happen does: You get some perspective from a person who cares. Possibly the same cowboy who told you that you weren’t a space ranger in the first place. Maybe he wasn’t your critic after all. Maybe he was trying to give you advice so you wouldn’t fall. You didn’t listen and you fell.

He’s not back to gloat. Or say “I told you so.”

He’s back to tell you that there’s a different calling. Your true calling. That it’s satisfying Because the person you were made for thinks you’re the greatest. And making them happy? That’s a lot better than being a space ranger.


He’s right, you realize. You’re a toy who has a boy who loves him. And not only have you found that to be a fulfilling purpose, but you’ve got a friend in an old sheriff who shares it.

So you decide that giving up isn’t an option. You’ve got a kid who needs you. You couldn’t get out of this jam yourself, but maybe together, it’ll be enough.

He saves your ass from being blown up when things get dicey and when the time is right, you “fly.”

But this time you know what it is: falling with style.


Right into Andy’s arms. Right where you belong.



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