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Lightyear review: a stiff deconstruction of heroic space dramas - The Verge

Lightyear review: a stiff deconstruction of heroic space dramas   - The Verge

Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear from director Angus Maclane — in theaters now — reimagines Buzz as a hyper competent space explorer who needs to learn to get out of his own way.

Pixar and Disney have hyped director Angus MacLane’s Lightyear up by making it out as a mysterious reworking of Toy Story’s canon that reveals all-new details about Andy Davis’ favorite space explorer. Though a new version of Buzz anchors the film, its story about how reaching for the stars can lead to people losing hold of the important things right in front of them is actually more about taking its titular astronaut off a pedestal and unpacking why we tend to frame people like him as heroes.

Lightyear tells the story of Buzz (Chris Evans), one of the headstrong Galactic Rangers of Star Command who’s committed his life to the organization’s exploration of deep space. After years of working closely only with his commanding officer Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba), Lightyear’s left convinced that it simply isn’t safe (or really worth it) for him to partner up with newbies to the force, an assumption that ends up spelling disaster for them all. Though no one’s fatally injured when Buzz decides that he doesn’t need help during a routine mission, an accident leaves him and countless others stranded on a strange planet, and on some level everyone knows who’s to blame for their misfortune.

Buzz gazing at a fuel crystal.

Image: Pixar / Disney

Rather than tiny green aliens who think with a hive mind and worship a claw in the sky, Buzz’s guilt is what haunts him as Lightyear opens and zooms in on the space hero as he searches for a way to put right everything that’s gone wrong. Though everyone on the strange planet wants to go home, no one explicitly tries to saddle Buzz with guilt about their being marooned. And because they’re all highly trained survivalists, it isn’t long before they begin to build a colony.

But for Buzz, a lantern-jawed boy scout with a penchant for dramatically narrating his mission logs, moving on with his life would be tantamount to admitting failure — something he refuses to do.What drives Buzz as Lightyear kicks into gear is his sense that, if he simply keeps trying on his own to solve a problem involving unstable fuel sources, he alone can save himself and his fellow Galactic Rangers from having to tough it out on a planet full of murderous plant life.

Most everything about the way Pixar renders Lightyear’s lush and vibrant alien world at first makes it seem like the movie will focus on Buzz and Alisha encountering strange creatures they’re unsure of how to deal with. There is some of that spotlighted in Lightyear’s action sequences. But its story is much more keen on following Buzz’s obsessive quest to prove himself, which feels much more in line with films like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and Ridley Scott’s The Martian.

Post ID: c6f9d75c-07e0-43e2-8edf-479d03ffed89
Rating: 1
Updated: 1 week ago

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