The Toy Story franchise has meant a lot to me. I watched the films religiously growing up and the characters in the film still resonate with me to this day. After Toy Story 4, which I thought was unnecessary and the weakest film in the franchise, I was unsure if this movie was necessary at all. I felt like the franchise should have been left as it was because I felt it was nearly perfect. Well, I’m glad to say that I was wrong. This film was a joy to watch, especially in IMAX. Although Lightyear is a very simplistic origin story and plays it safe, the visual spectacle, emotional weight, and Sox the Cat elevate this film from being just another forgettable animated story. Lightyear is another solid Pixar entry that I think will grow more beloved as the years go on.

Visually, Lightyear is Pixar’s greatest achievement. The film makes history as being the first animated film to have an IMAX aspect ratio and as a result, the film looks absolutely gorgeous. The sequences in IMAX are breathtaking and it’s incredible to see how far animation has come since 1995’s Toy Story. The animation was so photorealistic at times that I thought it was real footage. Clearly, there was a lot of hard work and effort from the animators to make this film look beautiful. Big props to Pixar for this one.

Releasing June 17, 2022, Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” is an all-new, original feature film that presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear—the hero who inspired the toy—introducing the legendary Space Ranger who would win generations of fans. Featuring the voice of Chris Evans as Buzz, the sci-fi action-adventure is directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”). © 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Lightyear also boasts one of the strongest voice casts Pixar has ever had. Chris Evans stars as the real Buzz Lightyear and he didn’t disappoint. Tim Allen left big shoes to fill and Evans understood the mission. He manages to make Buzz his own while still maintaining the mannerisms that Allen’s Buzz had so the audience could tell they were both the same character. Keke Palmer played Alicia Hawthorne in the film and she honestly was a standout for me.

ALISHA? – In Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear,” Buzz (voice of Chris Evans) returns to the planet he’s been marooned on for decades after a monumental test flight. But things have changed while he was away. When he runs into Izzy Hawthorne (voice of Keke Palmer), he mistakes her for her grandmother Alisha—Buzz’s best friend and commander. Peter Sohn lends his voice to Buzz’s dutiful robot companion, Sox. Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), the sci-fi action-adventure opens in U.S. theaters on June 17, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Yes, Sox the Cat is great. He’s the cute fan-favorite character that everyone will love but unlike most of these characters, he doesn’t get annoying. He is used to perfection in the film and is easily one of Pixar’s most adorable characters. Protect him at all costs and give me my Sox show ASAP!

One of the few problems I had with Lightyear is about Zurg. James Brolin does a fine job with the character and while I didn’t see the twist coming, I still think seeing more of him leading up to the big twist would’ve fleshed out the character a bit more and made him more effective. Zurg felt very underdeveloped as a character and that felt like a bit of a letdown. I also wasn’t the biggest fan of Zurg’s redesign as it was far too different from his toy counterpart in Toy Story 2 to be considered the same character. Buzz’s design felt much closer to the toy counterpart and thus, was easily identifiable.

EVIL EMPEROR – Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” is a sci-fi action adventure and the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans), the hero who inspired the toy. The story, which follows the legendary Space Ranger on an intergalactic adventure, features none other than Zurg—a seemingly invincible adversary of Buzz who would go on to inspire his own toy. Featuring the voices of Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Keke Palmer, Efren Ramirez, Peter Sohn, Dale Soules, Taika Waititi and Isiah Whitlock Jr., “Lightyear” releases June 17, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The plot also was another issue for me. It felt too safe and while I didn’t have a massive problem with it as others did, I still wish that Pixar was more daring.  I think the film would have had a bigger impact and lived up to the hype.

Overall, Lightyear plays it safe in many regards but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad film. It’s certainly very memorable and a solid Pixar film that is visually stunning. Go see this in IMAX for the best experience possible. You won’t regret it.