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'Lightyear' Review: A Fun, Science Fiction Animated Film

Courtesy of Pixar Studios

Lightyear was directed by Angus MacLane and stars Chris Evans as the voice of Buzz Lightyear, a space ranger for Star Command. When Buzz and his crew get stranded on a planet after a mission, he tries to use hyperspace to find a way off, but continues to go forward in time. Lightyear is the newest Pixar film and the first Pixar film to come out in theaters since Onward in 2020 before theaters got shut down and movies got delayed. This movie is more so about the space ranger Buzz Lightyear that inspired the toy in Toy Story.

Lightyear was one of my most anticipated films of the year. I love Buzz in Toy Story and remember watching the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command cartoon as a kid. Lightyear is not the typical Pixar film. It’s not as emotional as most Pixar films, not just Toy Story. It’s an animated Science-Fiction film that takes inspiration from other known Science Fiction films. The animation looks incredible and beautiful. It’s one of the best-looking animated films in the last few years. Michael Giacchino makes another excellent film score in Lightyear.

The voice acting in the film is great. Chris Evans does a great job voicing Buzz. He fills in for Tim Allen, who voiced Buzz in the Toy Story franchise. I still think Tim Allen is better, but Evans still does well. Keke Palmer as Izzy Hawthorne, the granddaughter of Buzz’s best friend, is also good. James Brolin does well in voicing the film’s antagonist, Zurg. The characters are good in this film. The character Socks, voiced by Peter Sohn, is a robot cat that helps Buzz, provides comedic relief, and is funny.

While Lightyear is not a Toy Story film, it does have callbacks to the original Toy Story and how Buzz was portrayed. The references are easy to pick up. The film right away confirms the producers saying Lightyear is based on a film in Toy Story that inspires Andy to ask for a Buzz Lightyear figure. Another thing to understand is Lightyear is more so of an action-adventure film than what audiences are used to with Pixar.

My big concern is how they handled the twist with Zurg. Zurg was a character I was looking forward to seeing. It felt forced and slowed down what I considered to be a quick-paced film. Toy Story 2 revealed Zurg is Buzz’s father, but they changed it here. I understand they changed it to avoid being similar to Star Wars, but it felt like a thrown-in thing and kind of ruined what was a menacing, strong villain.

All in all, Lightyear was entertaining and a great time at the theaters. Chris Evans is a great successor to Tim Allen in this film. The animation is great to look at, and the action is fun. I wish Zurg was handled better, but when he worked, it was cool to see. I’m glad Pixar and Disney had this one come out in the theaters. It’s nowhere near Pixar’s best, but also nowhere near Pixar’s worst. I enjoyed it more than the last two Pixar films, Luca and Turning Red.

Final Grade-A-

What did you think of Lightyear? Let us know in the comments below.

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