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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 27, 2022



'LIGHTYEAR’ is an origin story for Buzz Lightyear, that character in the well loved “Toy Story” franchise who’s best known for saying: “To infinity and beyond!” 

“Toy Story 1” was shown in 1995, followed by 2 in 1999, 3 in 2010 and 4 in 2019. Kids who grew up with the boy Andy and his toys will enjoy watching this to find out more about Buzz.  

The start of the movie says that Andy loves Buzz because of a movie he saw about Buzz and it became his favorite movie. So he was excited to get a Buzz action figure added to his toy collection. 

And this is THAT movie that Andy enjoyed so much!  This means “Lightyear” is not a mere “Toy Story” spin off but more of a prequel.

In “Toy Story”, Buzz Lightyear is just a toy but now, he is more like a real person (now voiced by Chris Evans, by Tim Allen before) as a Space Ranger in Star Command. His commanding officer is Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba), also his best friend. 

They are sent to explore a new planet they can inhabit, with many passengers with them and a new recruit, Featheringhamstan, who proves to be more of a liability than an asset. 

The planet is 4.2 lightyears away from Earth and it turns out to be populated by monstrous things that attack Buzz and company. 

The hostile creatures forced them to go back to their spaceship, which gets damaged so they have no choice but to stay on the planet with a protective dome while they try to repair their vessel. 

An important ingredient in the repairs is a hyperspace fuel drive and Buzz volunteers to test it. 

It took him four minutes to test it in space, but when he returns, he finds out that four years have expired in the planet due to time dilation while he’s traveling on super high speed. 

A very adult component of this movie is the introduction of a lesbian romance between Alisha and her wife. 

While Buzz is away on another trip, they have a child and when Buzz returns after 60 years, he remains young but all the other characters have grown old and his friend Alisha has already died. 

Their other companions have gotten married, had their own kids and have built their own new community.

And while he was away, the planet was attacked by headless robots led by Zurg (James Brolin). 

Buzz is now the last surviving Space Ranger and when he returned, he’s considered a living legend, a relic of the past. He finds some young people who are now fighting the invaders, including Izzy Hawthorne (Keke Palmer), who happens to be a granddaughter of Alisha, along with Mo Morrison (Taika Waititi), a new soldier, and Darby Steel (Dale Soules), a paroled convict. 

Their team gets a lot of valuable help from Zox (Peter Sohn), a cute and lovable robot cat that Alisha earlier gave to Buzz. At first, he didn’t like it but it eventually becomes his reliable and trusted sidekick. 

Together, they all fight Zurg, who turns out to be…. well, we don’t want to spoil things for you. 

Suffice it to say that you should be prepared for some startling twists and turns in the plotting. This computer animation film is not really just for kids as it also carries a fairly emotional narrative about getting old and about one’s mortality. 

The first party concerning Buzz and Alisha got us emotionally invested in it. The film also offers valid insights about the need for friends and family, and the significance of having good teamwork. 

Pixar has made some endearing animated films through the years like “Inside Out”, “Wall-E”, “Soul” and the “Cars” and “Toy Story” series. They offered a lot of fun even for a senior citizen like us. 

Just like them, “Lightyear”, as directed by Angus MacLane of “Finding Dory”, has come up with well paced and visually stunning outer space sci-fi flick both kids and adults can enjoy. 

It’s a worthy companion piece to the “Toy Story” series that even much younger children who have not yet seen the “Toy Story” movies will surely enjoy.