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First Reviews For ‘Lightyear’ Call it “Pixar’s Star Wars”

Ever since Lightyear (2022) was announced, Pixar fans have been eagerly awaiting their chance to once again go “to infinity and beyond.”

Pixar’s latest movie hits cinemas on June 17, 2022, and tells the story behind Tim Allen’s Buzz Lightyear toy from the beloved Toy Story franchise. This is the movie that Toy Story’s Andy fell in love with as a child. Marvel Studios’ Captain America, Chris Evans, replaces Tim Allen as the voice of the titular character, who goes on a mission into deep space with his fellow Space Rangers, battling the evil Zurg along the way.

The premiere of Lightyear happened in Los Angeles on June 8, and since then, initial reviews coming in have been extremely positive. Reviews have praised the Pixar movie’s detailed visuals and animation, its Space Ranger adventure and characters, and Chris Evans’ voice performance as the new Buzz Lightyear.

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Credit: Disney

Buzz Lightyear has become an iconic Disney character since his debut in Pixar’s Toy Story (1995). Well-reviewed sequels Toy Story 2 (1999), Toy Story 3 (2010), and Toy Story 4 (2019) have followed, all featuring the adventures of Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks), Star Command Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Bo Peep (Annie Potts), Hamm (John Ratzenberger), and Slinky Dog (Jim Varney). The franchise has inspired the new Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World and a multitude of theme park attractions.

Now, Buzz is getting his own origin story in an all-new sci-fi action-adventure movie. Lightyear follows the legendary space ranger on an intergalactic adventure alongside ambitious recruits, Izzy (Keke Palmer), Mo (Taika Waititi) and Darby (Dale Soules), and his robot companion Sox. As this crew embarks on their toughest mission yet, they must learn to work as a team to escape the evil Zurg (James Brolin) and his loyal robot army.

And reviews for this sci-fi adventure story have called it a “cinematic masterpiece.” It’s too early for a critic or audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but the initial wave of reviews are all generally extremely favorable. Many singled out Sox, Buzz Lightyear’s robot cat sidekick, as a huge scene-stealer. After the success of Pixar’s Soul (2020), Luca (2021), and Turning Red (2022) on Disney+, Lightyear looks to be another well-reviewed movie for the animation studio.

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Credit: Disney

Rotten Tomatoes Film Critic, Austin Burke, shared his film review on social media, highlighting the scene-stealing robot cat sidekick Sox:

#Lightyear does everything a Buzz Lightyear film needs to do. The visuals are excellent, the core characters are likable, and Evans is a great choice. There are more than a few moments that will have fans cheering, and “Sox the cat” steals the show… Hilarious character.

Film and TV critic Zach Pope wrote on Twitter that the Space Ranger movie exceeds all expectations, calling Lightyear “emotional”:

#Lightyear exceeds all expectations for me & truly goes to infinity & Beyond… an emotional thrilling space Epic that is a true marvel to see in IMAX. The animation is stunning but each space sequence was truly out of this world! I adored this film & need more from Star Command.

Variety film critic Courtney Howard called the Toy Story franchise movie “epic” and “poignant,” praising Chris Evans’ performance:

#Lightyear is an epic, breathtaking love letter to sci-fi & its imaginative, compelling capabilities. Perfectly crafts a transportive, immersive, aesthetically appealing world & a poignant hero’s journey. @ChrisEvans
does a terrific job coloring Buzz with a heapton of heart.

Another film critic, Tessa Smith, shared that the Pixar movie is “so gorgeous, you’ll forget it’s animation”:

Lightyear = visually stunning, epic space adventure, cinematic masterpiece. So gorgeous you’ll forget it’s animation. Sox is hilarious, Zurg is full of surprises, most importantly, Chris Evans perfectly embodies Buzz Lightyear! You’ll never look at sandwiches the same. #Lightyear

And Twitter user Genesis admitted that “tears were shed” while watching the new Pixar release:

#Lightyear is so frickin beautiful! Not gonna lie tears were shed here. It’s packed with action, comedy & so many positive & powerful messages like the importance of friendships & perseverance. @ChrisEvans  is an AMAZING #BuzzLightyear. The entire cast was amazing. 

Perri Nemiroff continued the love for Buzz Lightyear’s sidekick Sox, writing:

#Lightyear: Sox is EVERYTHING. I love Sox SO MUCH. Sox is one of the best characters Pixar has ever created. That’s it. That’s my Lightyear reaction. I am obsessed.

And Sean O’Connell gave Lightyear high praise, comparing the movie to George Lucas’ iconic Star Wars franchise featuring Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and Yoda:

I absolutely LOVE #Lightyear . From start to finish, it is the most purely entertaining film Pixar has made. It’s Pixar’s STAR WARS. Action-packed, with gorgeous Sci-fi visuals (a space walk scene messed with my anxiety) and a scene-stealing Sox. Didn’t expect it to be that fun!

It will be interesting to see how the general public reacts to the new Toy Story movie on June 17, especially with a controversial kiss. LGBTQ employees at Pixar Animation Studios reportedly sent a joint statement to The Walt Disney Company claiming that Disney executives had actively censored “overtly gay affection” in its feature films. The allegation came at the height of the company’s lack of public response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Pixar’s Lightyear will therefore feature a same-sex kiss that had been once removed but then added back into the film. The kiss takes place between the female character, Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba), and a woman she is in a relationship with.

Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino, who’s behind the scores for the MCU’s popular Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), scores Lightyear. Giacchino has a long history with Pixar; he won an Oscar, Golden Globe, and GRAMMY for the original score in Up (2009). His other Pixar credits include The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007), Cars 2 (2011), Inside Out (2015), Coco (2017), and The Incredibles 2 (2018), among others. The Lightyear Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from Walt Disney Records will be available on June 17, 2022.

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who loves to enjoy Disney's theme parks with a Mickey Premium Bar in hand! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her Air Force pilot husband. Find her children's book at @thebearandthehug_book