After its June release marked the first time since the start of the pandemic that a Pixar animated
feature had opened in movie theaters, “Lightyear” is now available to stream at home, on Disney Plus.
“Lightyear,” viewers are told at the beginning, is supposedly the film that inspired the Buzz Lightyear
saga, the film also has unexpected connections to Portland. Angus MacLane, who directed “Lightyear,”
grew up in the Portland area, graduating from Beaverton High School in 1993. In a June interview with
The Oregonian/OregonLive, MacLane said some of the inspiration for the “Lightyear” storyline grew out
of MacLane’s trips back home to Portland after he had moved to California. As MacLane said, when
he was living in California and working on Pixar films, every few years, he would visit Portland, and find
the city “didn’t feel quite the same.” MacLane noticed changes, though people in Portland often didn’t.
“And then I would go home, and Portland didn’t feel quite the same,” he says. People he had known
grew older, and other little things changed, which he noticed, even if people in Portland didn’t.
In “Lightyear,” the Space Ranger (voiced by Chris Evans) makes a fateful mistake, and tries to make
amends by going on test flights that he hopes will help him complete his mission. However, while the
flights don’t seem to last very long for Buzz, for those behind, test flights take years to accomplish.
Each time Buzz returns to planet T’Kani Prime, friends have grown older and are settled into hostile planet.