The new Disney•Pixar movie “Lightyear” is the origin story of everyone’s favorite space Ranger – Buzz Lightyear. Before we knew Buzz as Andy’s favorite toy in the Toy Story movies, he was a character in Andy’s favorite movie. This was that movie.
Before we even knew that Buzz Lightyear was Buzz Lightyear, he was a Space Ranger in Star Command. Buzz and his commanding officer and best friend, Alisha Hawthorne, explore a habitable planet, with their new recruit, Featheringhamstan. The 2 Space Rangers and their recruit are then forced to retreat to their exploration vessel after discovering that the planet hosts hostile lifeforms. Buzz damages the vessel during the retreat, forcing the crew to evacuate in order to conduct repairs and continue their journey.
Over the course of a year, their new planet is built on and inhabited. Buzz then volunteers to test the new hyperspace fuel, which is important to their future endeavors. The test is supposed to only take 4 minutes, but when Buzz returns to the planet, he finds out that 4 years have passed. And each time that Buzz continues to test the hyperspace fuel, 4 more years pass. The inhabitants of those on the planet age each time Buzz returns, but Buzz does not.
At one point during his return, he finds out that his best friend Alisha had passed away due to old age. But she did leave a video message for him, which is a very emotional scene.
Soon after, he meets a robot cat named Sox. Sox is a very smart cat who has some superpowers. Sox is the one who helps Buzz improve the hyperspace fuel composition. Buzz then uses this new fuel composition for a successful hyperspace test against the orders of his new commanding officer, Commander Burnside. After the test Buzz finds that 22 years have passed, during which their planet had been invaded by a force of robots led by the mysterious Emperor Zurg.
Buzz soon meets Izzy, Mo, and Darby who then help Buzz do whatever they can to take down Zurg and return to their planet to make their inhabitants’ future better. Buzz and his companions are detained by Commander Burnside once they return, but are then selected to revive the Space Ranger Corps. They are sent to parts unknown to complete their duties and mission.
The quality of the movie was very enjoyable. While Pixar movies are computer-animated, they sometimes seem real. And Lightyear definitely had those moments that felt almost 3D and simulated, similar to “Star Tours” at Disneyland. Some of the pacing of the movie seems slow but in no way is this film boring.
Lightyear introduced us to characters we had never seen because it was an origin story. Only one character besides Buzz was familiar to us, and that was Emperor Zurg. Alisha Hawthorne, Izzy Hawthorne, Mo, Darby, and Sox were all great counterparts to Lightyear. Sox, however, may be a new favorite Pixar character for most. While he may be a robot cat, he’s not the stereotypical animated cat, which was definitely refreshing.
The music for “Lightyear” was written by Michael Giacchino. We of course know his scores and music from “Up,” “Star Trek,” “Ratatouille,” “Jurassic World: Dominion,” and several Marvel movies. While the music didn’t necessarily stand out, it was enjoyable and had that space-type-sounding score that we’ve heard in many space-themed movies over the years.
“Lightyear” isn’t a perfect Pixar movie but it’s a very enjoyable Pixar movie. The new characters and an original story definitely keep you entertained throughout the entire film. This was a story that I think we needed to see, especially since it involved Andy’s favorite toy from the Toy Story movies. It’s a fun and entertaining addition to the Toy Story franchise, even if it’s not a prequel or a sequel.
I also found having Chris Evans as the voice of Buzz Lightyear worked well for the movie. This is, after all, an origin story so it wouldn’t have made sense if Tim Allen had reprised his role as Buzz since Buzz in the Toy Story movies was a toy based on Captain Lightyear. And I thought that Chris Evans sounded like a young Tim Allen so that worked for me.
Overall, it was fun to see a Pixar movie on the big screen once again. Pixar movies are meant to be seen on the big screen so if you can, definitely treat yourself to this experience. I give “Lightyear” a solid 8 out of 10! “To infinity… and beyond!”