Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast places visitors in the middle of an incredible battle to save the toy galaxy from the infamous Emperor Zurg. In this immersive and interactive adventure, music plays an essential role in transporting new recruits to the heart of this epic fight.
To compose the soundtrack for this iconic Discoveryland attraction, the Imagineers turned to Disney Parks musician George Wilkins. Heir to pioneer Buddy Baker, who arranged and composed some of Disneyland's earliest music, he became known for his contributions to several Epcot Florida pavilions and attractions, including Horizons, The Land And The Living Seas. We also owe him the music of Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin at Disneyland and several original Disney California Adventure attractions.
The music of Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast was originally composed for the Japanese version of the attraction, at Tokyo Disneyland, in a spirit very close to film music.
The score is dominated by the themes of two songs written by Randy Newman for Toy Story : the iconic "I Am Your Friend" and "Strange Bazaar", which connect the attraction to the Disney-Pixar saga that inspired it, by playing on visitors' memories. Thus, if the music of Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast is totally instrumental, the original lyrics of these songs nevertheless resonate with the spirit of the familiar Space Rangers of this universe and fit perfectly into this new adventure. "Strange bazaar", which we hear from the queue, announces the "strange things" ("Strange Things" in VO) that they will discover during this trip, whether Zurg's robots (using the chorus of the song) or the creatures of Planet Z (this time using the verse). As for "I Am Your Friend", which resonates at the end of the course, it quite naturally celebrates the alliance between Buzz, the Little Green Men and the new recruits which made it possible to defeat the infamous Emperor.
The challenge for George Wilkins was to adapt these mythical themes to the specific story of the attraction. For the original film, Randy Newman had envisioned a jazz/new orleans and rock style that perfectly suited the spirit of Buzz and Woody's early adventures. But as part of our laser battle, we had to arrange them in a totally different way, halfway between a science fiction film and a video game.
To do this, George Wilkins opted for a mixture of live instruments and electronic samples. In this orchestra like no other, the strings are played on the synthesizer, while the brass combines synthesized sounds played on the keyboard by the composer with an acoustic piccolo trumpet. For the queue, "Strange Bazaar" is thus transformed into a real space walk, both dramatic and galvanizing, reinforced by the use of the snare drum, played by nothing less than Don Williams, renowned percussionist and brother of the famous John Williams. As for "I Am Your Friend", it appears here in a version inspired by "marching bands" and other military brass bands, in order to celebrate the victory of Star Command over Zurg and his henchmen. And to add a touch of humor typical of this universe, the composer has incorporated the sounds of the theremin, this instrument very popular in the B series science fiction films of the 1950s and 1960s, which brings a "vintage" touch. of the tastiest in our confrontation with Zurg's robots, in the first part of the adventure.
For his arrangements, George Wilkins also endeavored to take into account the sound effects of the attraction, and especially the high-pitched sounds of the lasers. He therefore favored lower frequencies so as not to interfere with the shots of visitors and thus keep the music legible. Furthermore, in order to make the transitions from one world to another happen as naturally as possible, all the musical sections have been written in complementary keys and tempos. True to the legacy of Buddy Baker, it was important for the composer that the music remain "transparent": that it advances the action, that it inspires emotions, without focusing attention, to that nothing disturbs the concentration of the Rangers during their mission and that they can thus achieve their best scores!
Now that the music of Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast no longer holds any secrets for you, you are ready to embark on a new adventure.