Lightyear – Screening Review

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The fact that the latest buzz light year movie has been banned in other fourteen countries due to the inclusion of a same-sex relationship is absolutely outrageous! In this latest addition to the toy story franchise is an animated movie about a fictional space adventurer who later in the season is celebrated by a walking, talking action figure yet the idea that LGBT+ people exist is supposedly the hardest thing to understand. The scene in question appears within a montage of Buzz and his space travels where his superior Alisha Hawthorn (played surprisingly by the wonderfully talented Uzo Aduba) meets her significant other and they share a kiss and eventually begin building a family. I would have thought as a global society we have got past the total erasure of a whole community of people and the outrage of seeing LGBT+ in media still cause outrage. I think that Pixar needs to be given some praise for deciding to not only animate this scene (in an extremely casual coming-out scene in which buzz simply asks what’s her name when talking about his close friends new partner) but not going back on their word a removing after the backlash. As an international company, Pixar could have easily panicked at the thought of missing out on the thousands of people and their money from these ignorant countries but instead kept this scene in which is especially important considering the added value of pride month. I never in my wildest dream would have thought that Buzz lightyear would be the biggest pride statement this year but was incredible to see! If you are lucky to enough to be from a country where the people in charge actually knowledge the existence of gay people then you can check out lightyear in cinemas right now! I am personally lucky enough to be a member of the Cineworld unlimited scheme in Cardiff so not only is this movie available where I live but also am able to access any movie I like in the cinema for the low price of just under £10 a month. On top of this if you use my referral code (RAF-41UF-82LQ-14EX-70BM) we will both be gifted a totally free month of unlimited cinema!

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The first thing we learn about this movie is it’s connection to the rest of the toy story franchise. The show opens with a pop-up message that explains that during the original toy story movie Andy has an action figure of heroic space exploration from one of his favourite movies and lightyear was actually the movie he watched. The fact that the movie directly acknowledged this idea within the movie itself was very unique as a cannot remember a movie (never mind a children’s animated movie) which is so self-aware and makes sense within its own narrative. The whole movie serves a sort of prequel movie that explains to the audience why Andy has a toy of Buzz lightyear who is a key part in the toy story series. I anticipate that in a few years we will get a woody prequel movie which includes bullseye and Jessie which I am already very excited about! This movie sees buzz light year (voiced by Chris Evans) who is currently marooned on a far-off planet and makes it his request to return everyone back to earth! Buzz becomes quickly obsessed with his mission and volunteers to test out a new hyperspace fuel that will be key for the return to earth. His trial flights may only last four minutes in space but actually, span across four Earth years which causes many complications upon his return. These debrief conversations between buzz and Alisha is where the previously mentioned ‘highly controversial’ scene appears but also leads to buzz being designated a support robot/animal adorable named soxs (voiced by Peter Sohn) who accompanies buzz on his travels.

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Unfortunately however as earthly time passes, Alisha becomes more and more fragile eventually losing her life and leaving behind a family who continues her passion for space travel. We see an extremely touching moment of Alisha leaving buzz a video message before her passing in which we meet her adventurous granddaughter Izzy Hawthorne who is played by the amazing Keke Palmer. As earthly time passes, Izzy becomes an active member of a rag-tag team of adventurers known as the Junior Zap Patrol who become attached to buzz during her journey home. The team are joined by the at times misguided Mo Morrison who is voiced by Taika Waititi (who is most well known for his roles within Thor Ragnarok and Free guy with our review of the latter being available at https://rhysreviews.com/2021/08/22/free-guy-movie-review/) who delivers many of the hilarious moments throughout the show. He had this running gag of always needing a pen contraption embedded into his space suit which was brilliant. As expected the show also contains one of Buzz’s biggest enemies namely none other than Zerg’s voice by the fantastic James Brolin who was clearly inspired by Darth Vader. We are do finally encounter Zerg he is shrouded in shadows and the moment we finally see the mech he is operating is a very dramatic point in the show. We even had a moment of dialogue where buzz asks if Zerg is his father which is a clear reference to the Darth Vader iconic reveal during the Star Wars movies. He is not his father but instead buzzes from the future. I thought that the inclusion of multiple universes was a bit unnecessary and made the narrative a bit hard to follow!

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Overall, lightyear is an adventurous movie that helps to showcase the lore of buzz. The show itself is cleverly self-aware and contains many smaller circular narratives that appear throughout the story. It is cleverly framed to create a story that not only creates an extensive background to the iconic character but also helps each smaller narrative to come to a complete end (eg the running pen gag, or video message from Izzy saying one day she will be a space ranger just like her grandmother”) Despite all this, however, the story comes to a rather sudden and open-end which made sense due to the prequel-esque nature of the movie. I would rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars!

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