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Face-Off: Buzz Lightyear vs. Mr. Incredible

06.21.2012by: Paul Huffman
In last weeks Face Off, John Travolta pulled the victory over Nicolas Cage in a score of 7-5. A well deserved win, just get back on track with your career choices John boy.

This week is all about Pixar, Brave is coming up and we've just seen the awesome trailer for Monsters University. Pixar is full of memorable characters, two of my favorites being Buzz Lightyear and Mr. Incredible. Both are strong, resourceful, honorable, have that never say die attitude and go to infinity and beyond and all that jazz. Today is about judging the complete package for both. Let's break it down.
Name
Buzz Lightyear's name was inspired by real life astronaut Buzz Aldrin, a fact Aldrin himself has embraced when he pulled out a Buzz doll during a speech at NASA. Just the name of Buzz Lightyear is as adventurous as the character himself, just has that all american heroic type feel to it and that's the character of Buzz in a nutshell. It also provided some slight gags in the first film (I'm looking at you Woody). Lightbeer didn't get a chuckle from me in 1995, but it never fails watching it today. Adulthood has its perks.
Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible. Superhero names can sometimes lack in the humility department, but dammit Superman really is super, Wonder Woman really is full of wonder, and Mr. Incredible really is incredible. It's simple, it's effective, and it's backed up.
Look
John Lasseter had in mind when he designed this character a toy that he could sell, to say he succeeded is the understatement of the century. I mean, I imagine it going down just like it did in the first Toy Story with the sell of Buzz Lightyear merchandise with the kiddies, with the bedspreads and the whole nine. John pulled from actual suits from Apollo astronauts for the design and used his and his wife's favorite colors for the color scheme of the character.

NOTE: The way the whole team designed the characters movements is a whole other monster. A human like Mr. Incredible is easier to create then guessing how a toy would come across on screen. That has always impressed me in the Toy Story films.
The suits this super family wore was easy to look at, nice and simple...the typical iconic middle symbol in the form of an 'I'...because...well you know. Thank god for NO CAPES!! With that said, I think the most notable and most entertaining about how Mr. Incredible looked was how his physique was used to tell the story. The man started out fit as could be, and when his rights to fight crime were taken away and he had to blend in with the crowd, Mr. Incredible didn't look so Incredible anymore. We got some nice comedic moments, and a Rocky montage as Parr got back in shape to go back to doing what he does best and he definitely looked the part. Mr. Incredible was modeled after director Brad Bird.
Resourcefulness
Buzz Lightyear may not actually be able to fly, but damn if he doesn't have some skills to 'make you believe a toy could fly." In three movies Buzz never hit a road block he couldn't find his way out of, it was a joy to watch that damn astronaut use everything that was around him to get him and his crew where they needed to be. I mean, he was a damn rock star in Toy Story 2. He mastered the wheel, he mastered the elevator shaft, he mastered a toy stores sliding doors. If that wasn't enough he also has the intelligence to put two and two together when Woody initially was kidnapped. Buzz is not bad to have on your side in a tight spot.
What superhero doesn't know how to get himself out of a jam? If you can't, you better start thinking about a new line of work. Even though Mr. Incredible was forced to, when he found himself back in the game even though he was a bit rusty, beer gut and all he prevailed against Syndrome's technological terror he constructed, and again that was done by pure intelligence when he was lacking in physical ability at the time, ten points. Incredible buckled down and did what he had to do and discovered he still knew his way around a fight.
Overall Characterization
My favorite aspect of Buzz Lightyear is that in three movies he never got boring. His clueless dynamic with the rest of the grounded toys in the first film was priceless, seeing a glimpse of that same Buzz again in the second meshed with our real Buzz was entertaining (it's akin to how my parents view themselves thinking back to the 80's), then the third we had tyrant Buzz and Spanish Buzz. We've never had a dull moment with Buzz Lightyear and for me he's in a trilogy that is highly nostalgic, what an unfair advantage Lightbeer.
Mr. Incredible and The Incredibles as a film as a whole was a great homage to superheroes and superhero films that ended up being better than a lot of the other superhero films out there. Mr. Incredible was a very easy character to relate to for me in the sense of his unflinching need to serve a higher purpose and do what he knows he was meant to be doing. Furthermore, he bent the law for the longest time in doing it knowing it was for the greater good, courage up the wazoo for this guy. Move over Superman.
Buzz Lightyear
So there you have it folks, as it stand Buzz Lightyear meant so much to my childhood and the entertainment he as a character provided made it impossible in my eyes for him not to come out victorious. That said, Buzz had a trilogy to etch himself into my heart the way he did. I think of it as a travesty that I can't see Mr. Incredible getting his sequel anytime soon and wonder if he got one this opinion would change for me. Either way it's deserved. So what do you think schmoes, was Mr. Incredible's one film enough to take this victory for you?

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at paulhuffman@joblo.com with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which character is your favourite?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!
Tags: Face-Off

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