Review: 'Lightyear' Another Brilliant Adventure from Disney and Pixar

by JC Alvarez

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday June 13, 2022

'Lightyear'
'Lightyear'  (Source:Disney)

This might be the movie that the Governor of Florida doesn't want anyone to see, the one that's raised all that fuss over the "Don't Say..." well, you know.

The imaginative minds at Disney and Pixar dove back into the "Toy Story" toy box to bring to the big screen the backstory of one of its most popular characters. Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear gets the spotlight all to himself in "Lightyear," starring the voice talents of Marvel's Captain America himself, Chris Evans, and also featuring Keke Palmer and Taika Waititi.

The space adventurer is revealed to have been inspired by a blockbuster motion picture before he was perfectly packaged for the masses. When we meet Buzz in "Lightyear" he is a Space Ranger and the custodian of a crew of over a thousand space travelers aboard a colony ship nicknamed "The Turnip." When a proximity alarm goes off, Buzz (Chris Evans) and his commander, Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Adubo), decide to investigate a strange new world.

While the long-time colleagues investigate the surface of the alien planet, they encounter some hostile native vegetation and insect lifeforms, and while desperately making their escape, Buzz inadvertently crashes their ship, leaving them stranded. They quickly discover that it will take them a significant amount of time to get themselves back on track and into space. In the meantime, Hawthorne leads the colonists to set up shop on the planet, using the resources they have on hand. Buzz, ever dedicated to duty, feels responsible for marooning them on the planet and hopes that, as the test pilot for the missions, he will be successful in helping to fix his mistake — but something goes wrong.

Try as they might, every attempt to get them into infinity and beyond ends up in failure, and with each new mission Buzz undertakes, the minutes that pass for him are years for the people on the surface of the planet, including Hawthorne. While trying to course-correct his folly, Buzz ends up missing out on living and being a part of important moments in the lives of his friends, like when Alisha gets engaged and then marries her wife. Ultimately, Buzz is left with nothing but a recorded final goodbye from Hawthorne... and Sox, a robot cat!

In fact, it's Sox (voiced by Peter Sohn) that uncovers the secret to making the successful space jump, leaving Buzz more determined than ever to try one more time, in honor of his friend and to fulfill his promise as a Space Ranger to get everyone back into space. But no sooner is Buzz convinced he can succeed than the new CMO pulls the rug out from under Buzz, effectively grounding him. To prove he's still got it, Buzz goes rogue and takes to flight, but when he returns from this mission, everything is not how he left it: The human colony is under attack from an aggressive army of robots from space, and Buzz has even lost more time. He has to team up with Izzy (Palmer), Hawthorne's now-grown granddaughter, in order to help save the day and repel the invading forces of ZURG!

Disney and Pixar have once again proven why they are unparalleled storytellers when it comes to effectively creating an animated adventure that will appeal to a broad audience. "Lightyear" is pure popcorn entertainment, filled with fun and excitement, and it's as good as the franchise that inspired it. The endearing portrayal of the film's heroes is heartwarming, and it's just perfect that Disney and Pixar had the vision to widen the lens on representation across the board. There's something very comforting in knowing that the children of same-sex parents are going into a summer blockbuster, where they will see themselves reflected in the story.

And that's just too bad, Governor of Florida, because — like the title suggests — "Lightyear" is way ahead of the curve. Infinity and beyond!

"Lightyear"is exclusively in theaters on June 17, 2022.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".