Monday, August 29, 2022

4K Digital Review: Lightyear


The backstory of Lightyear is that this is the movie that Andy watched that made him want a Buzz Lightyear toy. We learn the story of the famous astronaut Buzz Lightyear before he became the greatest action figure. Chris Evans is the voice of Buzz and it has been made clear that Tim Allen will continue as the voice of the toy version. Chris does an excellent job voicing Buzz and seemingly channels Tim in his vocal performance to the point that they almost sound alike.

The movie opens with Buzz and his partner Alisha (Uzo Aduba) on a routine mission from Star Command that ends up with Buzz crashing the ship and leaving everyone stranded on a desolate planet. Buzz attempts over and over again to create a light speed drive and fails. The side effect of traveling close to light speed is that time slows down for him, so what seems like minutes for Buzz, is years for everyone else. So, with each failed attempt Buzz comes back to everyone around him getting older. Buzz's robot, Sox the cat, figures out the last part of the equation that Buzz was missing. But we are now decades in the future, Buzz and Alisha's granddaughter Izzy (Keke Palmer), along with a group of misfit recruits, are left to try to complete the mission. 


The streaming 4K video is as perfect as you would expect from Pixar. The colors and details from the materials of the clothing and spaceships are stunning. Having a 4K TV with Dolby Vision fully allows the colors to pop, even the inky blacks for deep space are striking. In fact, when I watched the movie on my 1080p TV for comparison sake, the difference between not having Dolby Vision and HDR was startling. 


The streaming Dolby Atmos track really surprised me. The surround sound channels really get a workout in the heavy action sequences. Explosions and the heavy footsteps of Zurg sound fantastic. Another wonderful audio track from Pixar. 

Bonus Features*

Deleted Scenes

  • Deleted Scenes Introduction – Director Angus MacLane introduces six scenes that are all drawn, set to music, timed and voiced, but are not included in the final version of this amazing film – which took five and a half years to make!
  • The Dump – In one of LIGHTYEAR’s original opening scenes, we explore Proxima B, with its carnivorous plants, sulfur pits, weird bugs, hot climate, and lack of coffee! A familiar Space Ranger volunteers to risk all in an effort to return to Earth.
  • Polly – Buzz relives childhood memories when he visits an aeronautic museum in which his father is memorialized. There, he finds Polly, his dad’s robot companion bird, who possesses a very revealing recorded message meant for Buzz!
  • Meet Izzy – After young Izzy and her family (including her brother Maurice) move in next door to Buzz, the adorable, talkative girl bursts into Buzz’s home, warms up to Sox, and asks Buzz a lot of questions.
  • Up in the Lair – After his spacecraft crash-lands and he winds up in the bunker of fledgling Space Rangers, Buzz is introduced to cheesy snacks and a character whose role was cut due to time. He also receives shocking information about his father.
  • Tilted Ship – Star Command Space Rangers of the 56th Airborne Alpha Quadrant meet Buzz and the Space Ranger students. Buzz is given a truth serum so he’ll expose whatever he knows about his father’s connection to the aliens who have taken over Proxima B.
  • Fathership – Buzz wakes up in what he thinks is his childhood home, where he meets his father, who was a time travel pilot, just as he is. But it turns out he’s on the mothership of the aliens who are destroying Proxima B – and hope to vanquish Buzz as well!


  • Building the World of Lightyear – Visits to the Johnson Space Center in Houston and a very familiar cinematic archive gave the filmmakers inspiration as they embarked on the exciting journey of creating Lightyear’s breathtaking production design.
  • The Zap Patrol – Meet the actors who gave voice to Izzy, Mo and Darby, the untrained, unprepared rangers who join Buzz on the adventure of a lifetime. While the misfits may not seem ideal for the mission, their unlikely friendship helps see them through challenging times.
  • Toyetic – Learn why Lightyear is one of the most “toyetic” films ever. Join director Angus MacLane and others on the meticulous, fun process of creating toy models for spaceships and other production elements that led to the film’s richly textured animation.


Audio Commentary

  • Lightyear Filmmaker Commentary – Join director Angus MacLane, writer Jason Headley, and director of photography Jeremy Lasky as they provide insight into the making of this remarkable animated feature while you watch it.

Lightyear was a blast and filled with great animation, voice acting and a wonderful story about friendship. The bonus features are fantastic and the audio commentary is full of great details about the making of this film. Highly recommended! 

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