LIGHTYEAR – Review by Gadi Elkon

From the shelf to real life, Pixar gives Buzz Lightyear a fully realized backstory in LIGHTYEAR.  Here is my review of the latest Toy Story tale.

The definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the hero who inspired the toy, “Lightyear” follows the legendary Space Ranger after he’s marooned on a hostile planet 4.2 million light-years from Earth alongside his commander and their crew. As Buzz tries to find a way back home through space and time, he’s joined by a group of ambitious recruits and his charming robot companion cat, Sox. Complicating matters and threatening the mission is the arrival of Zurg, an imposing presence with an army of ruthless robots and a mysterious agenda.

Lightyear marks the first spinoff, and only the 2nd prequel, of an existing Pixar film or franchise.  The team behind this story spent years cultivating just the right tale to tell us.  Lightyear as an origin story is handled well and captures the rogue mentality that made Tim Allen’s version of the Buzz toy so intriguing.  The idea is that a bold superhero ranger relying only on himself and yet constantly failing harps on his need for help.  This notion is seen throughout the Toy Story universe and Pixar films as a whole.  Relying on others or asking for help can be a positive not a negative.

In fact, people/others can be surprising to you when you least expect it.  The SOX character in the film is the ultimate example, as this “pet” is absolutely pivotal to the Lightyear saga.  Not only is Peter Sohn’s hilarious noises and feline sounds so infectious, but SOX actions literally showcase mixing in just the right amounts from all options leads to perfection.  Without SOX there would be no Buzz Lightyear!  Meow.

Pixar has always done wonderfully in getting A-List talent to voice their roles with the right supporting talents.  Having Cap America himself, Chris Evans, as Lightyear seems totally fitting.  Now the booming growl of Tim Allen’s epic version of Buzz isn’t quite reached by Evans.  The rest of the cast help make this a wonderful ensemble.  Taika Waititi, Dale Soules and Keke Palmer make for a lovable group of not so “rookies” for Buzz to mold.  James Brolin and Uzo Aduba are the real highlights as Zurg and Alisha Hawthorne are the other “leads” to Evans’ Lightyear.

The story is heartfelt while still being exciting and entertaining throughout.  Add in the magical touch of Michael Giacchino musical notes and the Pixar mystic is totally on point.  I was apprehensive for this spinoff departure for Pixar but Lightyear hits on all levels.  Whether you can actually reach “beyond” after infinity doesn’t cloud the epic adventure you’ll go on.

So grab your family or group of besties and set out to find infinity and well you know.

Oh and for that “little” kiss causing problems…I’ll let Buzz tell you the truth about those haters,

#PullMyFinger kidding its #Lightyear

LIGHTYEAR

Directed by: Angus MacLane

Written By:  Screenplay & Story by Jason Headley with Story by Angus MacLane & Matthew Aldrich from Characters By John Lasseter, Pete Doctor, Andrew Stanton, & Joe Ranft.

Rated: PG

Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars

Running Time: 1h 40min

Animation / Action / Adventure

Only In Theaters this Friday June 17th.

Starring:  Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, James Brolin, Dale Soules, Uzo Aduba, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Bill Hader and Peter Sohn.

 

The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

MAKING SPACE – In Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear,” Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans) and Alisha Hawthorne (voice of Uzo Aduba)—his long-time commander, fellow Space Ranger and trusted friend—are marooned on a hostile planet. Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), the sci-fi action-adventure opens in U.S. theaters on June 17, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
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