What to Watch This Weekend: Lightyear

Lightyear is the story of one of the greatest Space Ranger pilots of Star Command. Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) was escorting a bunch of civilians through the galaxy on a mission to deliver them to a new planet world. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented Buzz from finishing the operation and his entire crew found themselves marooned a hostile planet. Determined to succeed, Buzz teams up some unlikely allies to find a way home.

What works in Lightyear is the humor, heart, and adventure. Writer/director Angus MacLane has been a mainstay at Pixar as an animator for years, but with his first full-length feature he demonstrates he clearly knows how to craft a good time. The pace of Lightyear is speedy, but chockfull of joy in every moment. Whether it’s Buzz’s humorous chemistry with a fantastic (and diverse) supporting cast, or exciting sci-fi battles that conjure up memories of the 1980’s version of the genre, there’s something to put a smile on audiences’ faces of all ages. Notable is Evans (Avengers: Endgame, Knives Out) who somehow finds a way to embody Buzz Lightyear the toy without feeling like he’s doing a Tim Allen impression (who voiced the plastic version of the character in the Toy Story franchise). This Lightyear is also warm, heroic, and naïve, but in his own way. In the end, Lightyear is a wonderful frolic through the cosmos full of laughter, touching messages about friendship and failure, and memorable characters. And while it’s been said several places: yes, Sox the cat (Peter Sohn) is hilarious.

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Those less familiar with the lore of the Toy Story universe are unlikely to enjoy Lightyear as much as others. While the film is not a sequel, it consistently makes cheeky references to Buzz’s adventures with Woody including lots of dialogue and even some specific plot developments. To the film’s credit, Lightyear is still perfectly enjoyable without knowledge of Toy Story, but given all the subtle nods and homages those who remember the previous movies will laugh and smile a bit more frequently.

Lightyear is pure family fun. With stunning visuals, a snappy script, and even a glorious score by Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Star Trek), it’s hard not to recommend Lightyear to all audiences. Highly recommended.

You can find Lightyear in theaters starting on June 17th.

Recommended if you Enjoyed: Toy Story 2, The Incredibles, Onward

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