#REVIEW: DISNEY AND PIXAR’S “LIGHTYEAR”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
I am the quintessential ’90s Baby, as I was born in ’93, so Toy Story has always had a special place in my heart. I remember vividly seeing Toy Story 3 a dozen times in theatres, so when Pixar announced Lightyear, I cannot deny that I was hesitant at first. Then I saw a Trailer for Lightyear and was less concerned but a little perplexed about why Buzz Lightyear was voiced by someone other than Tim Allen, issues aside. However, after seeing what Lightyear delivers, any worries I had, just disappeared. I was brought back to my childhood, falling in love once again with characters I’ve been familiar with since I could barely speak. Lightyear proves that the spark Pixar is known for, still exists. I keep going back and forth whether Lightyear makes my Top Five Pixar Movies of all time.
Before we dive right into it, first we must take a trip to infinity and beyond! Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear is the first Movie ever to be filmed with a Virtual IMAX Camera. There is no way I can even begin to fathom talking about how it works, but the end result looks absolutely incredible in IMAX. I have not been so blown-away by an IMAX Movie in some time, so this is arguably one of the best uses of the technology I’ve ever seen. It completely submerges you into this world and feels epic. To go infinity and beyond in IMAX is a life-changing experience that everyone should be able to experience.
Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) is on a mission with fellow Space Cadet Alisha Hawthone (Uzo Aduba), where they’re trying to figure out if life is maintainable on a new Planet. Unfortunately, this new Planet certainly is not inhabitable and Buzz decides to go against his Crew’s advice, I.V.A.N.’s (the automated Flight System) advice and ends up getting his Crew standed. Over the next year, they work hard trying to find a way off the Planet, and have to crack the code to make a new fuel. When they think they’ve accomplished this feat, only one Space Cadet is suited for the job… Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. His mission is a failure and when he returns, he realizes it wasn’t the initial four minutes he thought he was going to take. He is gone for four years and continues devoting years of his life to completing the task. Alisha gifts Buzz with SOX (Peter Sohn), after his first return. Skeptical at first, Buzz tells SOX to find the right formula for fuel. As years go by, and several failed tests, SOX finally cracks the code and Buzz thinks he finds a way home.
When Buzz finally returns after his successful mission, he crashes back on the Planet, not realizing how much time he has actually missed. He meets a familiar face, and it turns out it is actually Izzy Hawthorne (Keke Palmer), and she brings Buzz up-to-speed on everything he has missed, including an army of robots working for Zurg (James Brolin), who is hell-bent on stealing the fuel supply. Buzz begrudgingly agrees to work with Izzy, Darby Steel (Dale Soules) and Mo Morrison (Taika Waititi) to stop Zurg.
Aside from its revolutionary presentation, the Voice Actors are giving it their all here. Evans brings a new level of sass and we find there is even more to love about our hero, Buzz Lightyear. Allen and Evans both bring that something special to each of their respective interpretations and can both exist. Sohn however, literally steals the show as SOX who is coming for that favourite Supporting Character in a Pixar Franchise crown. Aduba and Palmer bring sheer charisma and optimism to their respective grandmother and granddaughter roles and Buzz stays grounded because of them. Waititi goes against-type and plays a character who uncharacteristically is lacking self-confidence. Lastly, there really is no other I can see playing Zurg other than legendary Brolin. Originally voiced by Andrew Stanton in Toy Story 2 and Wayne Knight in Series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Brolin truly is the most commanding in the role yet.
Lightyear simply put, is anything and everything a Pixar fan could want. And now we have the definitive standalone Buzz Lightyear Feature we didn’t know we needed!
Walt Disney Studios Canada release LIGHTYEAR in theatres Friday, June 17, 2022.
In case you missed it, here is coverage of the Virtual Press Junket for LIGHTYEAR with its Cast and Creators.