Friday, June 17, 2022

Lightyear - Movie Review

The Movie: Lightyear

The Director: Angus MacLane

The Cast: Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, James Brolin,
Uzo Aduba, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Efren Ramirez,
Keira Hairston

The Story: While spending years attempting to return home, marooned Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear encounters an army of ruthless robots commanded by Zurg who are attempting to steal his fuel source.

The Review:
The Toy Story franchise has been one of the most successful and lucrative endeavors that the two companies have ever profuced and I imagine we will keep seeing film after film sprout up in one fashion or another as time goes by. There are so many amazing characters and stories to tell within this universe with the one and only Buzz Lightyear at or near the top of just about anyone's list so it makes total sense that an origin story would be something we get to see. Of course, this is no ordinary origin story since the Buzz we have grown to love over the years is a toy based off of a character from a movie that exists within the Toy Story world.

One of the things about any Pixar movie that you know is going to be true is that the quality of the animation will be beautiful, rich, textured, and full of life and this movie is no exception at all. The attention to detail with these films is just amazing from the costumes and tech designs to the otherwordly backgrounds and sweeping vistas, every pixel that pixar puts on screen is worth whatever effort it took to get it there.

Director Angus MacLane, having directed or co-directed other Pixar projects like Finding Dory and Toy Story of Terror, seems well prepared to take on this material and the whole thing has the pacing, tone, and feel that we have grown to enjoy and expect from the studio's stories. The action is very fast paced and I felt like eveything kept moving along at a very fun and brisk pace which makes it an easy watch for kids or, I guess, kids of all ages.

For this version of Buzz, he's not the toy here, he's a younger version of the movie character that the toy is based on, Chris Evans provides the voice and I don't know if we could have asked for a better actor to take on the role. I think it must have been especially challenging to not only make it his own but also to embody the characteristics of the Buzz Lightyear that we have known over the years. Keke Palmer is on board as Izzy Hawthorne, a young woman who dreams of being a space ranger and we also get great work from Taika Waititi, Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Commander Burnside, and Peter Sohn as SOX, a robot AI cat that steals just about every scene they are in.

Overall the story works really well in establishing the cinematic world that Buzz lives in and there are several payoff moments that fans of the Toy Story franchise and Buzz specifically will really enjoy. Not going to mention any of that specifically here so you can enjoy those moments for yourselves when they do show up. Of course, being a Pixar movie, there is plenty for adults to enjoy thematically to go along with all the kid friendly fun which I think is one of the things the studio does so well. There are life lessons and timely topics that make sense within the story and also give opportunity for discussion.

The Verdict:
Lightyear is a Buzz worthy story that takes the franchise to infinity and beyond while providing a backstory for one of Toy Story's most iconic characters. As with any Pixar production, this movie is a must see on the biggest screen you have available and is absolutely worth a trip to the theater.

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