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Disney Pixar had a really good idea with 2022's Lightyear, an eye-popping prequel to the Toy Story franchise that is essentially the backstory for one of the principal characters of that franchise; unfortunately, as with almost all Disney Pixar works, the story is overly complex and borrows a little too much from other movies leading up to a dazzling climax we have to wait too long for.

It's explained at the beginning of the film that Andy, the boy at the center of Toy Story, receives an action figure named Buzz Lightyear, who was the principal character in a movie that Andy saw and that this movie is that movie.

Buzz is a space ranger who has been working on a mission having to due with cultivating new fuel supplies with his longtime partner, Alisha Hawthorne. Buzz has a major screw up with the mission where he loses four years of his life, at which time he and Alisha are separated as he tries to resume the mission while Alisha steps down and raises a family with her girlfriend. Alisha passes away, which only fuels Buzz' desire to complete the mission, which leads him to another planet where he gets assistance from three rookie space cadets, one of whom is Alisha's granddaughter, Izzy.

Director and co-screenwriter Angus MacLane puts a lot of work into the construction of this story, but I wish a lot of this work could have been a little more original. This reviewer found flashes of movies like Star Wars, Gravity, and The Adam Project going through his head, which only contributed to making the story nearly impossible to follow and this reviewer scratching his head for the first 25 minutes of the film. As trying to figure out the exact plot developments, which I think might be easier for younger viewers, I focused on the characters and the production values to aid in my investment in the proceedings and it worked for the most part.

I was pleasantly surprised by a major difference between the Buzz in this movie and the Buzz in the Toy Story franchise. There was an air of arrogance that surrounded Toy Story Buzz that was absent from this Buzz. The Buzz at the center of this adventure was brave, adventurous, ambitious, smart, but he wasn't full of himself. His loyalty to Alisha and the eventual loyalty he built with Izzy was a joy to watch, not to mention the way said loyalty was challenged during his encounter with the supposedly evil Zurg, a surprisingly three dimensional villain.

Certain technical aspects of the story will also tickle the funny bone. Loved the reveal that Sox the robot cat had to be recharged like a cell phone and that sandwiches are now made with the bread in the middle and the meat on the outside. Bouquets to MacLane for his vision of the several canvases upon which the story takes place. The detail put into the various space stations is breathtaking. Impressive as well was whenever we saw a space vehicle crash, we could see the scratches and indents and scarred up paint on the vehicle in glorious detail, something, I don't think I've ever noticed in an animated film before, though I probably wouldn't have if I actually understood the story.

As for the voice work, I was initially disappointed when I learned Tim Allen wouldn't be voicing Buzz, but Chris Evans was up to the task and made me forget about Allen pretty quickly. Also enjoyed Keke Palmer as Izzy, Oscar winner Taika Waititi as Morrison, Peter Sohn as Sox, Isiah Whitlock Jr as Burnside, and James Brolin as Zurg. A superb technical achievement clouded by a story almost impossible to follow.