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There’s a great movie in here somewhere 4 Stars

Disney/Pixar’s Lightyear had lots of potential, but its generic story is a disappointing surprise for a Pixar film.

Lightyear (2022)
Released: 17 Jun 2022
Rated: PG
Runtime: 100 min
Director: Angus MacLane
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Cast: Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn
Writer(s): Angus MacLane, Matthew Aldrich, Jason Headley
Plot: While spending years attempting to return home, marooned Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear encounters an army of ruthless robots commanded by Zurg who are attempting to steal his fuel source.
IMDB rating: 5.8
MetaScore: 60

Disc Information
Studio: Disney
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 DD, English 5.1 DD, English 7.1 DD+:English 7.1 DD+, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 7.1 DD+:Spanish 7.1 DD+, French 7.1 DD+:French 7.1 DD+
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: PG
Run Time: 1 Hr. 45 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-disc UHD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 09/13/2022
MSRP: $39.99

The Production: 3.5/5

Answering a distress call from an uncharted planet, Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) and his crew divert course to investigate. After being attacked by indigenous lifeforms, Buzz, his co-pilot Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba), and the rest of the crew find themselves stranded. Buzz feels guilty about stranding the crew and decides to try and pilot a shuttle, achieve lightspeed, and rescue the crew. The only problem is that with every attempt, while Buzz only ages minutes, the crew on the planet age four years or more. Buzz flies enough missions for nearly two generations of crew members to pass. When he does eventually achieve lightspeed, a large ship has begun orbiting the planet led by Zurg (James Brolin) that has released a robot army on the surface. Buzz soon finds himself leading a ragtag team of rookies that includes Alisha’s granddaughter Izzy (Keke Palmer), Mo Morrison (Taika Waititi), and paroled convict Darby Steele (Dale Soules) to infiltrate the robot ship and save the crew.

According to the opening credits of Lightyear, this is the movie that young boy Andy saw in 1995 of which his Buzz Lightyear action figure came from. That is an interesting premise, but one that this 2022 movie doesn’t quite payoff, as its sensibilities and themes are more modern than mid-1990s retro. The real problem with Lightyear is that we’ve seen most of this before in various other science fiction space operas, such as Star Wars, Lost in Space, Star Trek, Aliens, even Interstellar. The characters are fairly run of the mill for your typical space opera, with minimal development. The main exception is Buzz’s robot cat sidekick Sox (Peter Sohn), who steals the show. While the animation is up to usual Pixar standards, the story and character development is not.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Lightyear was rendered in 2K, then upscaled to a 4K digital intermediate with Dolby Vision HDR with an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 for its premium theatrical engagements (for its IM AX release, some sequences were completed in the 1.90:1 aspect ratio. For this UHD disc release, Disney’s 2160p HEVC-encoded transfer retains the 2.39:1 aspect ratio throughout and uses HDR10 high dynamic range. This is a beautiful transfer, with bold and vivid colors throughout, deep blacks with strong shadow detail, and a terrific sense of depth, particularly in the wider shots.

Audio: 4/5

As usual, Disney has provided a rather ho-hum Dolby Atmos track for this home release. It’s not horrible by any means, but lacks the punch one expects from a film of this kind. Adjusting the volume up several notches does help, providing a mostly immersive experience with space ships flying overhead and other effects moving seamlessly around your environment. LFE is almost adequate, providing some low-end to the sonic booms and explosions, but not quite enough to really overwhelm you. Dialogue is clear and understandable.

Special Features: 3/5

There are no special features on the UHD disc, but the special features can be found on the included single Blu-ray disc. This may be the first Pixar release that ditches the second disc of extras.

Audio Commentary: Director Angus MacLane is joined by Director of Photography Jeremy Lasky and Writer Jason Headley who discuss various aspects of making the movie.

Building the World of “Lightyear” (1080p; 14:29): A look at the design and inspirations of the film.

The Zap Patrol (1080p; 9:08): A look at the supporting cast.

Toyetic (1080p; 10:00): Using toys as visual concepts for the film.

Deleted Scenes (1080p; 26:49): Director Angus MacLane introduces six scenes cut during production of the film.

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy in UHD on Movies Anywhere.

Overall: 4/5

Lightyear is an entertaining but rather forgettable origin story for one of Pixar’s most famous characters. While the animation is up to the studio’s standards, the story, unfortunately, is not.

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Published by

Todd Erwin

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Jake Lipson

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Todd Erwin said:
This may be the first Pixar release that ditches the second disc of extras.

Luca also lacked an extras disc when it was released last year. Turning Red, which was just released on disc in May, did have a dedicated extras disc. So there does not seem to be a discernible pattern.

The next Pixar release, Elemental, is currently scheduled for theatrical release in June 2024, so it will be about a year or so before it arrives on disc. I'll be very curious to see what kind of treatment it receives. Peter Sohn, who you noted in your review as the voice of Sox, is the director of that upcoming film.
 

Malcolm R

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As usual, Disney has provided a rather ho-hum Dolby Atmos track for this home release.

I wish we could get an explanation from Disney about why they do this to their releases? I always have to crank up the levels far above any other disc from any other studio.

Then after watching I forget to turn it back down and blast myself out of the room the next time I fire up the HT with a different studio's movie.
 

Josh Dial

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I wish we could get an explanation from Disney about why they do this to their releases? I always have to crank up the levels far above any other disc from any other studio.
I suspect it's because they "mix" their tracks to sound "fine" on laptops, tablets, and even phones. Heck they probably have a preset now. "Hey, Jimmy--you hungry? Just run the theatre mix through crap-a-lyzer, click 'save' and let's go to lunch!"
 

Colin Jacobson

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I wish we could get an explanation from Disney about why they do this to their releases? I always have to crank up the levels far above any other disc from any other studio.

Then after watching I forget to turn it back down and blast myself out of the room the next time I fire up the HT with a different studio's movie.

I always "reset" my receiver to the same level before I turn it off. That way I avoid accidental blasting!

I must admit I've never had the "Disney volume" issues, though. I do need to turn up their releases a little but not "far above".

Thought the "Lightyear" Atmos sounded fine!
 

Colin Jacobson

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Luca also lacked an extras disc when it was released last year. Turning Red, which was just released on disc in May, did have a dedicated extras disc. So there does not seem to be a discernible pattern.

That "bonus disc" was a waste of resources.

About 30 minutes of content! There's no reason they couldn't have simply put that stuff on Disc One.

It's not a long movie so there was plenty of space for the bonus features to fit onto the one disc.

The extras on "Luca" have a longer running time!
 

Todd Erwin

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Turning Red, which was just released on disc in May, did have a dedicated extras disc.
Which was only 10Gb. The Blu-ray feature disc was just under 44Gb. If Pixar wasn't so anal about having to have separate DTS-HD MA 7.1, DTS-HD HR 5.1, and Dolby 2.0 tracks, and with a little more compression on the bonus features, it could have all fit on one Blu-ray disc.
 

Jake Lipson

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Right. The Turning Red extras disc was really light. But the release gave off the appearance of being more loaded than it actually was because they put extras on an additional disc.

Of course, the other factor here is that Disney is actually producing bonus content for these movies which don't get put on the disc anymore.

Turning Red and Lightyear both have making-of documentaries on Disney+ which have been withheld from the physical release. The Lightyear Blu-ray disc even starts with a trailer for the documentary. But Disney is more interested in using those as streaming exclusive incentives to subscribe. Years ago, both of those would have been a centerpiece of the Blu-ray.

Toy Story 4 and Soul both had spinoff short films of the kind that used to adorn the Blu-rays as a highly promoted special feature which were rerouted to Disney+ instead.

So the Blu-ray releases are now being watered down in favor of promoting the streaming service. Therefore, less need for another disc than there used to be. They probably figure that the people who want to buy the physical release will buy it even if it is watered down, and they can make the streaming service look more attractive by putting exclusives there
 
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