‘To Infinity and Beyond!”
Hello movie fans and welcome to the House Of Macleod’s Movie review corner.
Today we take a look at Disney Pixar’s LIGHTYEAR (2022, PG, 1h 40m) starring Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, Taika Waititi, and James Brolin. LIGHTYEAR is directed by Angus MacLane from a story by MacLane, Matthew Aldrich and Jason Headley.
The movie begins with a title card that tells us that Andy from the ‘Toy Story’ series once had a favourite film about Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and that this, is that movie. It sets the tone nicely for what follows, which I found to be a very entertaining, heartfelt film about not being able to change our mistakes, but living our lives despite them. It also centres on the idea that one man, even the great hero “Buzz Lightyear” sometimes needs to put his faith in others, you can’t do it all on your own.
The story opens on the planet T’Kani prime where we find Buzz and his superior and friend Alisha Hawthorne exploring with their new recruit Featheringhamston (the reddest of red shirts). The crew find out that the planet is inhabited by some not-so-friendly species that cause Buzz and co to try for a daring escape. Buzz, unfortunately, decides to work alone and damages the ship, forcing them to stay in the dangerous world until repairs can be made.
Flash forward a year and the crew are still on T’Kani Prime having built a colony and launch station to test a new hyperspace fuel that will allow them to return to their own world. Buzz, feeling that he is the cause of their situation volunteers to test the fuel and make up for his mistake. He launches into space, and after a near miss on the way back learns that due to time dilation the four minutes he was away took four years on T’Kani Prime. When he returns downhearted, he is gifted a sentient robotic cat named SOX (who by the way, steals the show in every scene he is in) whom he tasks with working out the math for the fuel while Buzz does the physical in-flight tests. He continues to test the fuel until 62 years have passed and the colony has grown, a civilisation has formed and his friend Alisha has married, gotten promoted and had a son with her wife Kiko and eventually passes from old age. Can I take this opportunity to say that although Lightyear took some major criticism for having a gay kiss in its movie I thought it was natural, normal and completely appropriate. It didn’t feel shoehorned in, and if it wasn’t for this being all over the news outlets, I doubt I would’ve even noticed it. Rant over, back to the review. SOX has been working on the fuel composition problem for nearly six decades and finally solves the problem so against the orders of his commanding officer, Commander burnside, Buzz steals a ship and decides he needs to give getting his people home one last try. When he returns from his successful mission he learns that T’Kani Prime has been invaded by Emperor Zurg and his robot army the Zyclops. I’ll leave the plot alone from here because I don’t want to spoil the second half of the movie for you, I'm not that kind of a jerk.
There are things I liked about LIGHTYEAR and there are things I didn’t like. For me, however, the things I liked far outweighed what I didn’t. Fair enough the plot is a little messy and at times it seems like it doesn’t know where it's heading but that didn’t stop me rooting for Buzz, SOX and the rest of the team. There are some great visual gags sprinkled throughout the movie and some nods to Toy Story, but I liked that MacLane didn’t make it a nostalgia fest. LIGHTYEAR tries to be its own movie and for that I applaud it. There are those that say that the voices are wrong and that it should have been Tim Allen voicing Buzz but this is a younger Buzz. It makes sense for that voice to be younger too and I thought that Chris Evans did a wonderful job. LIGHTYEAR is a typical PIXAR movie at its core. It's funny, heartfelt and has a decent story and message that really makes you care about the characters. The animation is top notch and I, for one would absolutely watch the hell out of a sequel. Let us know what you thought in the comments below!
LIGHTYEAR is in cinemas all over the world and is going to find its way to DISNEY PLUS on AUGUST 3rd.
All in all The House of Macleod gives LIGHTYEAR a score of 8/10