Pixar is finally heading back to the big screen and Lightyear is the perfect movie for it. Pixar has stepped outside their comfort zone with this action-packed science-fiction adventure while managing to keep their signature emotional punch. Lightyear is a new installment into the world of Toy Story, but not in the usual sense.
This is the movie within the Toy Story universe that Andy saw inspiring him to buy the Buzz Lightyear toy, essentially this is Andy’s Star Wars. With that, Buzz is given a new depth with him not only being a person, but the star of the film. Lightyear features some truly stunning animation, impressive action, a star studded cast, and a perfect balance of comedy and heart.
While this isn’t the first sci-fi story that Pixar has tackled, it is the first sci-fi action adventure. Lightyear clearly takes inspiration from what makes classic sci-fi like Star Wars and Star Trek so phenomenal. Lightyear leans heavily into not only the action with stunning fight scenes, but the the spirit of adventure and exploration, as well as the tense thriller moments of a mysterious technologically advanced villain.
Lightyear also explores time travel with an interesting approach to the concept, giving Buzz a hero-out-of-time feel as the world around him moves forward both literally and figuratively. By leaning into all of these sci-fi elements the movie has the nostalgic feel of classic 70s and 80s sci-fi movies that people love today, while still feeling new and unique.
CHRIS EVANS BRINGS A NEW DEPTH TO THE ICOINC SPACE RANGER IN LIGHTYEAR
Buzz Lightyear is an icon. One of the two main characters in Pixar’s first movie and major franchise, but Lightyear brings out a new side of the character. This is not the comic relief that many fans are used to instead Buzz is carrying the emotional and narrative story. Chris Evans brings a nuance, pathos, and charm to the character while infusing a sense of duty and at times sorrowful longing. Buzz struggles with constantly attempting to fix a mistake he made while the world around him moves on. Evans is able to infuse his performance with an intense and single-minded focus, as well as with elements of longing and regret.
The supporting cast is absolutely phenomenal. Evans’ chemistry with both Peter Sohn who voices Sox and Uzo Aduba who voices best friend Alisha Hawthorne is incredible. The history behind the friendship between Buzz and Alisha is palpable as is the love they have for one another. Aduba brings a confidence, intelligence, and humor to the role that makes her instantly charming. Peter Sohn is a scene stealer as Sox the robotic cat. Adding not only perfect comedic beats, but heart as well. Sox will without a doubt steal audiences’ hearts.
The crew that Buzz picks up along the way made up of Alisha’s grand daughter Izzy (Keke Palmer), Mo Morrison (Taika Waititi) and Darby Steel (Dale Soules) have great chemistry and bring tons of humor. Keke Palmer infuses Izzy with an eagerness to prove herself that shines through while both Taika and Dale bring a hilarious energy to the group. James Brolin brings the perfect amount of terror and determinedness to Zurg leaning into the fact that every villain believes themselves to be the hero of their own story.
The pacing of Lightyear works well. The fast-paced action sequences allow the comedic beats to hit and while still managing to reward the audience with more emotionally driven moments.
As a Pixar film it comes as no surprise that the animation is gorgeous, but Lightyear is a step above. The action is incredibly choreographed and animated while the scenes set in outer space are stunning.
The movement is fluid and dynamic while everything about the planet feels alien. The technology within the movie has a bulkiness to it that harkens back to retro tech while still feeling futuristic. The contrast in how they animate the scenes in outer space are brilliant with a familiar, but beautiful way to show off speed while the vastness and emptiness of outer space is perfectly captured in the more static moments.
Part of what makes Pixar so iconic is their storytelling style and ability to always find the emotion within the story and Lightyear is no different. While the sci-fi, action, adventure, and comedy is important, the emotional backbone of the film is truly the key. Lightyear focuses on a hero forever trying to fix a mistake while the rest of the world moves on. Buzz is so haunted by his action and inability to fix them that he misses the bigger picture. Lightyear focusing on not only a hero’s failing, but showing that sometimes there is no fixing your mistakes and the only way forward is moving on is a unique and heartwarming message.
Lightyear is the perfect movie to bring Pixar back to theaters. The animation needs to be experienced on the big screen with dynamic action and exciting adventure. Lightyear does exactly what good genre filmmaking should: explore humanity through a different lens. Every character has layers with the performances bringing them to life and adding a unique balance of heart and comedy. Lightyear nails exactly what a sci-fi action adventure should be, but the story and the pathos is what makes this so classically Pixar in the bast way.
Lightyear blasts into theater June 17, 2022. Are you excited to see Lightyear? Are you a fan of the Toy Story franchise? Are you looking forward to seeing Chris Evans portray the iconic Space Ranger? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media and check back with The Illuminerdi for more.