Lightyear First Impressions: Not The Movie You're Expecting
The Disney presentation at CinemaCon didn't just come out with extended footage from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but they also showed the first half-hour of Lightyear. Those of us that took place in the press day for the movie earlier in the year got to see most of that footage already, but at CinemaCon, we got the chance to see a little more, and we got to see it on a big screen with the proper sound [and without a giant watermark across the screen]. We won't be describing the footage in-depth because that would be giving the game away. Much like our reaction to the Doctor Strange footage, this will be a first impressions reaction to the footage of the next Pixar movie.
From the beginning, there has been the question of why Lightyear is happening and why it needs to exist, which is a fair question to ask considering the concept of the movie itself. It is the in-universe version of the movie that Andy in Toy Story saw that made him obsessed with the toy we would be following for those four movies. The movie on-screen reads much more like the kind of high concept science fiction we haven't really seen from Pixar yet. We're exploring the concept of time dilation within hyperspace, which is a lot to wrap your head around.
We're also exploring the idea of hubris and ego since that is the very thing that lands Buzz and the people around him in the situation that they are in. The character of Buzz in Lightyear is painfully human, and the mistakes we see him making throughout that entire first act that really sets up where the rest of the movie is going to go are hard to watch. It's actually rather devastating, nearly to the level of Carl and Ellie on some levels.
Whatever people think Lightyear is going to be, the footage we have seen twice now is not the movie we were expecting. That is not to say that Pixar couldn't fumble the ball in the latter parts of the film, and the tone of that first half-hour is pretty heavy. It could make the juxtaposition hard to handle, but we'll have to see it once the movie comes out in theaters next month.
The film features the voices of Chris Evans as accomplished Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear, Uzo Aduba as his commander and best friend Alisha Hawthorne, and Peter Sohn as Sox. Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, and Dale Soules lend their voices to the Junior Zap Patrol's Izzy Hawthorne, Mo Morrison, and Darby Steel, respectively, and James Brolin can be heard as the enigmatic Zurg. The voice cast also includes Mary McDonald-Lewis as onboard computer I.V.A.N., Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Commander Burnside, Efren Ramirez as Airman Diaz, and Keira Hairston as Young Izzy. Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director Finding Dory), produced by Galyn Susman (Toy Story That Time Forgot), and featuring a score by award-winning composer Michael Giacchino (The Batman, Up), Lightyear opens only in theaters on June 17, 2022.
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