Released: 17th June 2022
Director: Angus MacLane
Cast: Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, James Brolin, Uzo Aduba
Crashing into orbit from the deep territories of space is a brand new exciting Pixar movie set with an impressive twist. A Toy Story movie in some ways, Lightyear brings our favourite space ranger back onto the big screen with his own solo movie but not as we know him. This time the batteries are not included as the movie follows Buzz Lightyear, the astronaut with whom the toy from the four Toy Story movies is based on. I really liked the concept and the idea that this was the movie that a young Andy so all this years ago that sparked the intergalactic love he has for the character and toy he would eventually get for his birthday.
I’ll start by saying that I’m surprised with how poorly Lightyear has been received at the box office, barely making back its budget in just under a month after its release. There’s no in-between with this movie though – you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it but I think it’s been so misunderstood which is getting in the way of the praise it deserves.
I went into this with an open mind and enjoyed every single second of it. Maybe it’s because, like Sonic the Hedgehog 2, I seen it with my young nephew so took it for what it was and not what I wanted it to be. There’s so much that this movie gets right from its tone to its characters to the overall look of the film.
Chris Evans takes over from Tim Allen which caused quite the controversy when it was first announced but I mean as replacements go it’s pretty damn good. Evans voices Buzz Lightyear with such a vigorous presence that I wasn’t even trying to compare him to Allen nor was I sitting there wishing that he had returned to be the voice. In fact I’d go to say that this interpretation of Buzz Lightyear is bolder and more heroic than its plastic predecessor.
It’s not your average goofy Pixar movie either, Lightyear explores a lot of compelling ideas and offers a plot that will have you strapped to your seat for the duration. Our hero goes up against a rather threatening yet familiar foe in Zurg and in quite a smart plot twist, their showdown is one of the major highlights of the movie.
Writer Jason Headley and director Angus MacLane really understand the characters they are developing too, we not only care for Buzz but there’s a bond shared with everyone he meets including robotic cat Sox, who he befriends and takes on his adventure. There’s plenty of emotion within the writing and as I said it’s not your typical laugh a minute Pixar movie, there’s complexities to Lightyear that enhance the story further.
It wouldn’t be a daring sci-fi movie without the brilliance of Michael Giacchino who works his magic again with another superb musical score. His theme for the movie is so triumphant that it is fitting for Star Command’s greatest living space ranger. It was so good I couldn’t stop whistling it walking out of the the cinema, that’s a sign of a lasting piece of music and reminded me very much of The Avengers theme by Alan Silvestri.
I am seriously struggling to find any real flaws within the 100 minute runtime, everything feels right with it and at no point did I think they were dragging things out or getting jumbled up in the story.
Why has it performed so poorly though? Did people go in thinking they would get cameos from and references to Woody and the other toys from Toy Story? I really tipped Lightyear to be one of the biggest blockbusters this summer and to me it deserved to be. lt has characters you care for, it looks amazing, it sounds fantastic thanks to its music score and has every element that makes an entertaining movie. Don’t go in with any expectations that you’re there to see a Toy Story movie but instead appreciate it for how it can stand on its on two feet without any blatant references.