Lightyear 2022 Movie Review
Lightyear is an American computer-animated science-fiction action film jointly produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar animation studios. This spin-off from the Toy Story film series serves as an origin story for the Buzz Lightyear. Angus MacLane directed this flick, and Chris Evans lent voice to the titular character.
The film traces the origin of the fictional human character Buzz Lightyear. A young human test pilot becomes a Space Ranger on an intergalactic adventure and inspires an action character of the same name in the Toy Story film series.
Even though this film is an origin story for Buzz Lightyear, that does not mean it’s a prequel to Toy Story. Since Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story movies is an action figure, this film will focus on the Buzz Lightyear character that the action figure is based on. Here’s the official synopsis:
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. A new poster and images are also available.
Captain America himself, Chris Evans, will be the voice of the film’s titular Space Ranger. Although Tim Allen voiced Buzz Lightyear in the first four Toy Story films and has continued voicing him much of its related media, MacLane, who coincidentally directed Allen in the 2011 Toy Story short film Small Fry and the 2013 television special Toy Story of Terror!, said the following about this new casting:
“I wanted the film to have like a gravitas to it and a seriousness to it, but also have an actor who could bring comedy with that seriousness. He was really the first and only choice. I didn’t have a number two. It was very clear from the get-go. It was like, ‘If you were gonna make a legitimate sci-fi film about Buzz Lightyear, who would you get? Well, Chris Evans.’ You need someone that has that star power. If it had to be live-action, who would do it? He can do both. Although that chin would be so weird in live-action. You could never get around that. But he was the first choice and he’s been such an amazing partner. He totally got the material right away and felt the sense of responsibility to figure out the translation to the character, for this larger context of this sci-fi movie and really deliver on it. He’s just been a wonderful creative partner in the whole process.”
Apart from Evans, Keke Palmer (Scream Queens), Dale Soules (Orange Is the New Black), and Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) have also been announced as part of the cast, lending their voices to other ambitious recruits at Star Command. The voice cast also includes Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez, Peter Sohn, and Isiah Whitlock Jr.
Disney and Pixar offer a fresh look at Lightyear in a new trailer. Lightyear is a spinoff of the Toy Story franchise, which began in 1995 with the most recent entry, Toy Story 4, released in 2019. The Toy Story franchise focuses on sentient toys, which people are unaware of, that overcome adversity in their mission to bring happiness to their owners. The series features numerous recognizable characters, like Woody, Bo Peep, Mr. Potato Head, Rex, and Buzz Lightyear. Buzz, a Space Ranger voiced by Tim Allen in the films, was featured in a spinoff series, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, where Patrick Warburton voiced the character. That series ran for two seasons, highlighting Buzz’s adventures with Star Command as they went up against the evil Emperor Zurg.
Now, Lightyear will feature Buzz in his first solo film that steps away from the toys featured in Toy Story to focus more on his adventures as a Space Ranger, much like the television series. Lightyear is directed by Angus MacLane, who previously co-directed Finding Dory, and it features a script from Pete Docter, who has worked on several Pixar movies, including Toy Story, Wall-E, Monsters Inc., and Up. The film will see Chris Evans take on the role of Buzz Lightyear alongside fellow cast Taika Waititi, Keke Palmer, James Brolin, Uzo Aduba, and Efren Ramirez.
Disney shared a new trailer for Lightyear on Twitter that focuses on Buzz’s mission and even his relationship with his personal companion robot, Sox. As with previous trailers, the new preview utilizes David Bowie’s Starman to great effect as Buzz explains that they have been marooned on a planet for a year. As the trailer builds, it highlights the action while also introducing Sox, the tiny kitten companion that looks to bring levity in intense moments.
Disney and Pixar have become known for telling emotional stories through unique lenses, much like their newest film, Turning Red, which is an allegorical tale about puberty. Pixar’s distinct style of filmmaking is on full display in Lightyear, which looks to continue to studio’s trend of emotional and entertaining animation. Lightyear also made headlines recently when the film was said to add back in a same-sex kiss, easing prior Disney censorship in family entertainment.
As with any Disney animated project, there will also be toys and merchandising, with Lightyear being no different. Some of the toys for Lightyear have even offered a better look at ships and characters from the film. Lightyear is currently slated to hit theaters on June 17, giving audiences a chance to see Buzz in the world he always believed he stemmed from in the Toy Story films. However, given that trailers for Lightyear have offered more of a tease, there is still plenty for audiences to discover when the movie hits theaters.