Saturday, June 15, 2024

Review: The Buzz on “Lightyear” Is For a Strong, Entertaining Backstory for Favorite Pixar Character


Remember when Andy from “Toy Story” got a Buzz Lightyear toy from his favorite movie back in 1995?  Well “Lightyear” is that movie, and this film is the prequel to the juggernaut that is the famed “Toy Story,” 

The good news is that “Lightyear” more than charts its own intergalactic, engaging and amusing course.  Directed by longtime Pixar animator Angus MacLane and written by MacLane and Jason Headley, “Lightyear” is a perfect film for the summer. Kids will love it, adults will thoroughly enjoy and be bemused by its whimsical quirkiness.  Dare not to smile every time the words, “To Infinity and Beyond” are uttered! 

“Lightyear “tells the story of the famed Captain Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) a proud, sometimes cocky Space Ranger who has best friend and commanding officer, Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) by his trusty side as they lead the security for a scientific expedition across the universe.  (Note that it’s wonderful to see Hawthorne in same sex relationship, so kudos to Pixar for that.)

Now back to Buzz.  Our hero screws up, and his entire team winds up being marooned on an alien planet.  Indefatigable Buzz is head strong on fixing the problem but nothing seems to work.  One of his ‘mistakes’ though leads up to travel to the murky future where he meets Hawthorne’s granddaughter (Keke Palmer).  Of course, his loyal companion, his robot cat, Sox (Peter Sohn), is glued to his side.  Sox is one of the most endearing characters ever; he pretty much steals every scene he’s in.  Buzz quickly teams up with her and other rag tag characters (Taika Waititi and Dale Soules) to stop the evil robot Zurg (James Brolin) and his evil robot army from occupying the planet they now find themselves on. 

We see our Buzz grow up into a team player, a leader and a guy who thought who knew it all, to a guy who is evolving, into his own ‘man.’  There are plotlines that zig zag all over the place.  But what stays constant is the adorableness, flaws and the wacky resourcefulness of the characters.  Lots of winks and nods to “Toy Story,” “Aliens,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Star Trek” and more, all  Sci-Fi Easter eggs that the kids and adults will happily catch.

“Lightyear “delivers in the best of the Pixar way: it’s big, the visuals are thrilling, and at its core is heartwarming and poignant.  And be prepared to see the singular adorable, irresistible feline Sox everywhere. Add to that a sensational score by Michael  Giacchino. Congrats to Pixar, the talented team there hit it out of their animated universe once again. 

Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney writes from Los Angeles for A seasoned journalist with a long history during the halcyon days of the NY Daily News, Leah is a member of the Critics Choice and Rotten Tomatoes.

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