Toy Story spin-off, Lightyear, is a delightful romp

Old-fashioned action adventure with sass sounds perfect now.

If there’s one film this year that epitomizes “delightful romp,” it’s Lighttear. He embodies that spirit in its purest, simplest, and most entertaining form.

toy story The spin-off reinforces Pixar as wizards at the peak of family cinema form, skillfully balancing a fast-paced story with emotional punches.

It’s fun, it’s charming, and it’ll get you straight to the heart without overwhelming you – or make you face the meaning of life, as some other Pixar films can. Sometimes you need a cathartic emotional experience, but other times you’re not in the mood for a secret dose of philosophy, you just want adventure.

Light year ostensibly the origin story of Buzz Lightyear, but the easiest way to explain it is how the movie behaves at the beginning in its title cards.

In fact, this reminds everyone that in 1995 (the year when toy story released), a boy named Andy asked for a toy from his favorite movie – Light year this is that movie. If you want to be meta about it, it’s as if Light year existed as a touchstone of pop culture in toy story narrative universe.

Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) is a Space Ranger on a mission 4.2 million light-years from home when he, Commander Alicia Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) and the crew find themselves stranded.

Their ship suffered massive damage, including the hyperspeed crystal needed for the incredibly long journey home.

Not one to deviate from a mission, the unwavering Buzz is determined to find a way to complete the mission, even if it puts him in the path of the dread Emperor Zurg (Josh Brolin).

Filmmakers including Angus MacLaine, who directed and co-wrote the screenplay Light year with Jason Headley, cleverly picked up all the different threads and scattered breadcrumbs to create four Toy Story films to create a fully realized feature film.

When Buzz and Alisha say, “To infinity and beyond,” an involuntary smile spreads across your face, and the last show of the costume brings a sincere joyful sigh.

These references don’t feel intrusive—they’re both fresh and familiar, and Pixar has built so much goodwill over the years that every time an Easter egg comes up, you’re practically cooing.

There is a carefully calibrated nostalgia for Light year with its callbacks, traditional plot structure, and even the fact that the technology in the film is habitable and mechanized, it never falls into the “Oh, wasn’t it better in the good old days” trap.

This story is current and relevant for 2022, even if it should be from the mid-1990s.

If Lightyear were a standalone movie that would be great, but the reason why it’s great is because of Pixar’s legacy.

The studio has spent the last nearly three decades creating universes in which its characters have depth and nuance, in which the imagination transcends the outer limits of what is possible, and in which vivid animation wows even the most jaded viewers.

Light year Fits perfectly into this culture with a great story of friendship, trust, determination, and the greater good. No wonder it was Andy’s favorite movie.

Rating: 4/5

Lightyear is in theaters Thursday, June 16th.

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