Coming to theatres this week from director Angus MacLane, Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Motion Pictures is the story of redemption for LIGHTYEAR.
Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Chris Evans) is on a mission with partner Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) and when their ship lands, it takes no time at all to realize that there are hostile creatures who do not want them there. Trying to escape, Lightyear tries to fly their odd shaped ship back into space and when they crash land, everyone aboard steps up to create a camp.
Their new mission is to find a way home with the creation of crystals for the hyper drive. The problem is that with each test, Lightyear returns the same age but everyone else gets older and older with every test. Hawthorne encourages Lightyear and even gives him the gift of a techno-cat named SOX (Peter Sohn). Lightyear also sees Hawthorne having a life and creating a family on the planet.
The final test run against orders brings Lightyear back 22 years later even though the flight is finally a success. Realizing everything seems to have changed, he meets Hawthorne’s granddaughter Izzy (Keke Palmer). She tells Buzz how much time has passed and that there are robots out to destroy the base. Referring to them as Zurg (because that’s all they say), the chase is on.
Izzy introduces Lightyear to her team with the nervous Mo (Taika Waititi), and criminally minded Darby (Dale Soules). Believing that the trio have absolutely no idea what they are doing or that they can help, that is going to have to change if they are to protect the base camp and hold on to the precious power source.
It is time for Operation Surprise and prepare for a lot of surprises along the way that even Lightyear’s new team could not have seen coming.
Evans as Lightyear gives a serious side to this character but that does not stop the comedy from coming through whether he likes it or not. Every emotion comes from Evans voice as Lightyear deals with guilt and, in a way, isolation from friendships other than Hawthorne. He grows as a person and everyone is thrilled by the end of the film for that.
Palmer as Izzy is a chip off the space family block, well sort of. Wanting to help save the base camp from Zurg, she is smart and creative even if Lightyear doesn’t see it right away. Palmer gives her character heart and soul.
Sohn as the voice of Sox has ruined me and my granddaughter because we want our cats to be as clever and cool as he is. We love Sox and agree that we both at least want a stuffed kitty in our Disney home collection.
Waititi as Mo is endearing, twitchy, clumsy yet this character fits in perfectly with Izzy and Darby. Speaking of which, Soules cracked me up totally voicing this character who has no problem breaking parole with her skills in three-object bomb making. Calm, cool and collected – I love Darby.
Aduba as Hawthorne knows Lightyear better than anyone which irritates Buzz to no end. Yet, he truly cares for his friend. The messages she leaves keeps her presence in the film that causes a few teary-eyed moments.
Other cast include Mary McDonald-Lewis as IVAN, Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Commander Burnside, Bill Hader as Featheringhamstan, Efren Ramirez as Diaz, Keira Hairston as young Izzy and James Brolin as Zurg.
Pixar has produced twenty-six feature films beginning with TOY STORY in 1995. Earning twenty-three Academy Awards, ten Golden Globe Awards and eleven Grammy Awards just to name a few. They are responsible for beloved family films such as FINDING NEMO, THE INCREDIBLES, RATATOUILLE, WALL-E, UP, BRAVE, INSIDE OUT and SOUL. For more about Pixar please visit www.pixar.com.
Walt Disney Studios continues to bring quality programming to kids and kids at heart. Home of the most beloved animated features including SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO and SLEEPING BEAUTY to name a few is what keeps families coming back for more. To see what is currently available to add to your own family library please visit. www.movies.disney.com for their At Home titles!
There is really a risk in taking a beloved character and try to bring him more ‘real’ to viewers. Most of us know Buzz Lightyear as a straight forward Space Ranger with a mission that is clear from the moment he is turned on. He is also the yin to Woody’s yang making it hard to see one without the other.
That being said, it did take me a bit to fall into the story LIGHTYEAR is trying to tell but it happened. What Disney and Pixar did was fill the screen with sounds, sayings and hints of the Buzz we came to know in 1995. I truly believe that is what brought the audience around. I heard the giggle, ‘ohhhh’s and laughter remembering and accepting – and all from the adults.
LIGHTYEAR is a fantastic family film that I truly believe is fun adventure and humor. Yes, it is a little intense sometimes but once the action roles and the story unfolds, everything comes together wonderfully. The animation is fantastic but then again, we are talking the stellar collaboration with Disney and Pixar.
In the end – to infinity and beyond!