Lightyear [Grade: 93.3%]

Director: Angus MacLane

Story By: Angus MacLane, Matthew Aldrich, & Jason Headley

Cast: Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, Uzo Aduba, Dale Soules, & Taika Waititi

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Awwwwww… very cute. 

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Theme & Story: A

Pacing: A-

Character: A

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Entertainment Factors

General Public: Worth the $$$

Film Enthusiasts: Don’t Watch

Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Interesting Enough

Adventure / Sci-Fi Animation Fans: Worth the $$$

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1. When a determined, self-reliant/maverick-esque space ranger causes his crew to be stranded on a planet, he vows to do everything in his power to right his wrong, complete the mission, and get everyone back home…

This is Lightyear. 

The theme is quite interesting depending on how you look at it. There’s one interpretation that resonated with me so much, especially as I am getting closer and closer to 40—We shouldn’t let ourselves get so consumed with our work that we miss out on living our life, and experiencing the lives of those we care about. 

The other interpretation, which is something related to what Emmanuel Acho said on Ellen, [paraphrased] “Don’t put so much of your energy on a set goal that you miss out on opportunities where you could’ve done and been so much more…”

Act One introduces us to Buzz immediately, giving us rationale behind some of the personality traits we are familiar with that have an impact on both the conflict and the theme. Additionally, through the intentional use of a time lapse, the theme takes center stage showcasing the impact of Buzz’s goal/work consumption and energy on everything around him (seemingly unbeknownst to him due to his main focus being the mission).

Act Two brings in some engaging characters that help to continue the thematic focus by planting the seeds that can help our main character shed and grow in areas of his own personality and mindset through a series of plan mishaps, and also through interactions with a close connection that’s a result of Buzz’s Act One focus. 

Act Three is like the reflection act of the story, in more ways than one. The theme becomes actualized through our main character, and there’s now a focus on this second chance to “right his wrong” from Act One in a new way. It’s a really nice summation of the story and theme. 👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾

2. I was like, “Hol’ up! Is that KeKe!?” Yeeessssss👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾🙌🏾

3. The visual effects were BEAUTIFUL! 👍🏾👍🏾

4. Sox was hilarious! 😂

5. Lightyear has a runtime of about 95 minutes, and it keeps your attention. I personally didn’t feel any dead space, nor did I have a moment where I felt like things moved too fast. It was smart for the film to go through that first hyper-speed scene and discussion to indicate how time moves in order for the time lapse in Act One to not feel as fast as it could’ve came off for me. 

If anything, I would say that pacing didn’t give enough time for me to care about the characters as much. I recognized how they fit with the purpose of the plot, but wasn’t able to connect with them throughout the plot. 🤷🏾‍♂️🥴

6. “Bread, meat, bread? That’s too much bread.” 😂😂😂

7. I love how natural and normalized LGBTQIA+ representation has become in animation films.👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

8. Buzz’s disdain for autopilot! 😂😂😂

9. The characters were well thought out in this film in terms of following through on the theme. 

Buzz was somewhat of a static-dynamic character type that was perfect for showing someone who, at his core, is determined and driven (which isn’t a bad thing), but needed to understand how to not “black out” from so much focus that you come to and feel so far removed from life. He went through a metamorphosis across each act to eventually actualize the theme. 

Alisha’s character was life. Plain and simple. 

I saw Sox as time reclamation furred up in emotional support. There were moments throughout the film where Sox literally referred to time in support for Buzz, and there were moments where Sox’s character implied that had more time been given to self-care and interaction by Buzz towards Sox, life could’ve been experienced AND his goal could’ve been accomplished. 

Izzy was life’s second chances to actually do and be more, and not miss out again. 

Just well done. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

10. I think my inner child squealed when Buzz used the jet pack! 😩🙌🏾🙌🏾

* * *

Overall #Lightyear gives Star Wars: The Force Awakens – meets Netflix’s The Adam Project – meets the “team” from Pixar’s A Bugs Life. 

I definitely smiled and gave this film a little clap at the end. It was cute, and I can see why Andy wanted a Buzz Lightyear toy after watching this movie (yes, the film starts off with the statement that this is the movie Andy watched all them years ago). I think the final 10 minutes of the movie put that “RESPEKT” on the Buzz Lightyear name.

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