Jason Headley, Angus MacLane
Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Dale Soules, Taika Waititi
Animation, Action, Adventure
Rated: PG for action/peril
All media used courtesy of Disney/Pixar
I had reservations about ‘Lightyear’ the moment I knew it was being released. In fact, I had reservations back when Toy Story 4 had been announced and up until it was released thought, “Why does this exist other than money”? Not only did the concept sound rough, but choosing to go with Chris Evans instead of the classic Tim Allen voice for Buzz seemed to be even more perplexing. To say I was not looking forward to this film would be appropriate.
The beginning of the film set’s up the what of this film. It’s the film Andy watched, leading him to want a Buzz Lightyear toy. Immediately that presented a few continuity questions, but I preferred it to my interpretation of what the trailers had espoused to be a real-life take on the character. From there, I found myself not only more open to the story, but by the end ended up really enjoying myself, yet praying they never mine from Toy Story again.
First, the voice acting by Chris Evans is great. He suits the role of space ranger, and he makes it his own while also paying tribute to Tim Allen’s performances. Keke Palmer, Dale Soules, and Taika Waititi are hilarious in their supporting roles, and the message of teamwork was utilized well and had an impact. There is a supporting animal character that will be a favorite for his humor and cuteness, but it’s the film’s sci-fi adventure tone that reaches for the stars.
A mixture of Star Wars, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica, is present in some way with ‘Lightyear’. We know that in Toy Story 2, the story of Buzz is a parody of Star Wars, and while they may throw a curveball for fans expecting a specific moment, it holds true to the inspiration, and keeping to that genre makes it unique in the Pixar universe.
Here’s the thing though, I love playing Jenga (just like Pixar, apparently) but I don’t want them to continue to take risks mining into this universe, pulling out piece by piece, before the entire thing falls over. I’m overjoyed that I had a good time with Lightyear, but much like Toy Story 4 with Woody getting his swansong, this should also be the case for Buzz, and the franchise.
Overall, Lightyear is a fun homage to sci-fi adventures with great humor and performances. The visuals of course are astronomical, but it’s the fact that Pixar once again stuck the landing that makes it out of this world.
To infinity, and beyond!