Book Review: “The Art of Lightyear”

Hi everyone!

I received the book “The Art of Lightyear” to review. This is the latest in a long line of “The Art of” Disney animation books from Chronicle Books, with a scheduled release date of May 17th, 2022 – a month ahead of the Pixar film’s June 17th, 2022 theater debut. “Lightyear” is the origin story for Buzz Lightyear. Here is my review of “The Art of Lightyear“!

The Foreword for “The Art of Lightyear” is by executive producer Andrew Stanton, who talks about considering a backstory for Buzz Lightyear when creating Toy Story nearly thirty years ago. It took about twenty years for that to start coming to fruition, when director and screenwriter Angus MacLane pitched the story.

The Introduction is by MacLane. He was inspired in his love of movies by the original Star Wars, which he saw in theaters at four years old.  MacLane discusses two design principles for Lightyear, “chunk” and “cinematic”.

“The Art of Lightyear” is 175 pages and if you have read any recent “Art of” Disney animation books from Chronicle Books, you know what to expect – concept art, character studies, and short paragraphs of commentary throughout from those involved in creating the film.

The book features a couple of pages from a research trip to Houston’s NASA Johnson Space Center from 2019 before diving into concept art of the reimagining of the character Buzz Lightyear. That not only includes Buzz himself, but what he might wear – including flight suits and casual outfits. Then other main characters including Alisha, Izzy and Sox the cat are shown in various concepts. There are pages on weapons and robots, including Zurg.

There is beautiful artwork in the “Environments” chapter, along with quite a few storyboards with explanations of various scenes.

Another chapter is “Ride Vehicles”. Director Angus MacLane created LEGO builds to “brainstorm the designs for many of the film’s vehicles”.  One of his ERIC robot designs was even incorporated into an official LEGO set released for the film.

“The Art of Lightyear” follows the formula set in other “The Art of” books with a lot of great art and some additional insights into making the film. I always wish there was more text, but the “Art of” books are terrific and I’ve been collecting them for many years. “”The Art of Lightyear” ” is no exception and I do recommend it.

Here is official information about “The Art of Lightyear” from Chronicle Books:

This vibrant volume is an exclusive look behind the scenes of Disney and Pixar’s original feature film Lightyear.

The Art of Lightyear explores the exciting visuals of Disney and Pixar’s newest original feature film. 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 film reveals how a young test pilot became the Space Ranger that we all know him to be today. With production designs, storyboards, colorscripts, exclusive commentary from the creative team, and much more, The Art of Lightyear will take readers behind the scenes of this new animated film, for aspiring artists, animators, and fans alike.

EXCLUSIVE BEHIND-THE-SCENES: Fans will want to delve into and explore this new Pixar film through production art, stories, and making-of details exclusive to this book.

PART OF THE FAN-FAVORITE SERIES: The collectible Art of series from Disney and Pixar are perfect for animation enthusiasts, filmmakers, students, and fans of Pixar alike. Add it to the shelf with other books like The Art of Coco, The Art of Luca, and The Art of Pixar: The Complete Colorscripts from 25 Years of Feature Films (Revised and Expanded).


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