It’s been 26 years since we were introduced to the action figure, Buzz Lightyear, in Pixar’s Toy Story; now it’s time to revisit the character and discover the true story and inspiration behind Andy’s favourite toy.
Lightyear is directed by Angus MacLane, who is well versed in Pixar movies as he worked on Toy Story 2 and 3 and The Incredibles. It was his idea to explore the back story of Buzz and make what he calls “Andy’s Star Wars.” And he succeeded. Lightyear is a grand and utterly immersive explosion of a movie that feels nostalgic yet entirely different from the Toy Story franchise. It’s a science fiction that’s action-packed, lots of fun and has the cutest sidekick in Sox (Peter Sohn); in other words, it’s an instant Pixar classic.
The legendary Space Ranger, Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans), his commander and best friend, Alisha Hawthrone (Uzo Aduba) and their Star Command crew get stranded on a hostile planet far away from home. Buzz takes it upon himself to correct this mistake and safely get everyone off the planet. The escape missions don’t go according to plan, and Buzz can’t seem to forgive himself for all he’s lost, but things start to look up when he is offered help by a group of eager delinquents that teach him it’s okay to accept help from others and to let go of the past.
Tim Allen may have originated the voice of Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story films, but Chris Evans truly took this role and made it his own. There could not have been better casting for the beloved Space Ranger. Keke Palmer voiced Izzy Hawthrone, the bright-eyed granddaughter of Alisha, who is willing to go to any lengths (including facing her fear of space) to help Buzz with his mission. Taika Wititi makes an appearance as Mo, one of the volunteers and Josh Brolin voices the big bad villain Emperor Zurg.
While Buzz Lightyear may be the titular role, it is well and truly Sox that steals the show. The robotic cat was given to Buzz by Star Command to ease his transition after his first failed escape mission. The introduction of Sox elevates the film with every scene he is in, providing perfect dry humour. Every hero needs their sidekick, and the adorable cat is the perfect one for Buzz. And Sox is the perfect cherry on top of a stellar cake.
This Toy Story spin-off is visually stunning, and it’s everything you could expect from Pixar and more. Charming characters, funny dialogue and a well-paced story. A must-see on the biggest screen possible!
Lightyear takes off in theatres on June 17
by Kadija Osman
Kadija Osman is based in Toronto, Ontario and is currently completing her undergrad in journalism at Ryerson University. She enjoys writing about film and TV. When she isn’t watching Timothée Chalamet’s filmography, she is probably reading romance and thriller novels or ranting about the disappointing cancellation of E!’s The Royals. Her favourite films include Kingsman: The Secret Service, Lady Bird and Ready or Not. You can find her on Twitter: @kadijaosman_ and Letterboxd.