‘Lightyear‘ is a Pixar spin-off film from its iconic ‘Toy Story‘ franchise. It is an animated feature directed by Angus MacLane for Disney. He also co-wrote it with Jason Headley with Galyn Susman acting as the producer.
Space rangers Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) and Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) awakes after his Star Command vessel lands on a hostile planet. Though Buzz tries to flee the planet, the ship crashes. Buzz begins flying missions with experimental fuel, but though he feel time pass in seconds while everyone else goes by in years. He is given a robot cat named Sox (Peter Sohn) to help him cope. He goes on mission after mission until Alisha passes away and the new leadership chooses to just live on the planet. Buzz and Sox hijack a ship, still wanting to depart. They make a successful jump but arrive over twenty years in the future. An invader named Zurg (James Brolin) is attacking the planet and he has to work with trainees Darby Steel (Dale Soules), Mo Morrison (Taika Waititi), and Izzy (Keke Palmer), the grandaughter of Alisha. The group has to defeat Zurg and save the other humans from his invading robots.
Apparently, the movie was in development limbo since 2016, being pushed back in favor of Toy Story 4. Both of those should have stayed there.
Animation wise, I have no complaints. It was truly stunning and I also liked the character designs. I especially liked the scenes when Lightyear entered “hyperspace” as that was a cool nod to Star Wars.
To get the elephant out of the room, Chris Evans tried his best as Buzz. I have to give him credit, he really tried. But he just lacked any of the over-the-top charisma and oddball charm that Tim Allen brought to the role. It felt like Evans was more of a poor copy of Buzz than actually the character.
As for the woke question, it definitely takes a dive into it, but only briefly. It seems that the filmmakers chose mediocrity over too much pandering.
No one asked for this movie, considering fans were happy with the 2000 2D animated film Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins as an origin for the character. It had a lot to do in regards in justifying its existence. It failed.
That might sound harsh, but it is just a fact. The movie does nothing to add to the mythology created previously, in fact, it seems to revel in outright ignoring it and sometimes mocking. With the new guard at Pixar, they seem to not remember what made their company great, even after their acquisition by Disney. That is a shame because instead of infinity, they are reaching mediocrity.
The worst thing done was to Emperor Zurg. In Toy Story 2, he was a parody of Darth Vader while in the animated show, he was a ruthless tyrant of Planet Z who wanted to rule the galaxy. With each version, he comes off a fearsome opponent of Lightyear. No longer. He has now meant to highlight Buzz’s insecurities and failings. Without giving spoilers, this was the worst part of the movie and the part that made me angry. Prior, I was feeling “meh” about it, but that truly frustrated me. Heroes cannot be heroic and villains can no longer be villainous. So annoying.
MacLane said something along the way that this movie was what inspired Andy, the young boy from Toy Story. He said it was his Star Wars and that is what led him to love Buzz Lightyear. If I had seen this movie in the nineties, I would have been disappointed, especially since there is a superior 2D animated film.
Bottom line, Lightyear was made with all of the care that Disney had while making all of those sequels in the early 2000s. It was mediocre and truly showed the decline of Pixar with Disney taking a great hold on the reigns.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Minor sci-fi violence
FAVORITE QUOTE: I regret having joined you.
Check out the trailer below:
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