Lightyear – Movie Review

TL;DR – While a solid entry, it did feel like the narrative push to the end didn’t land    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid, an end credit scene, and a post-end credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film.

Buzz looks into the reflection on his helmet.

Lightyear Review

I have made no secret over the years just how much I love the Toy Story movies. Toy Story 3 comes in at number 3 in my all-time favourite animated films, and I even thought Toy Story 4 worked in the context of being an epilogue for the series. But the question is, Can they turn Toy Story from a series of excellent films into a bonified franchise? Well, with today’s film, we are about to find out.

So to set the scene, in 1995, Andy got a Buzz Lightyear toy for his birthday, but this is the film’s story that inspired the toy. This means in uncharted space 4.2 million lightyears from Earth, The Star Command SC-01 exploration vessel with a crew of 1200 is looking for uncharted planets to … well, to chart. Captain Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) diverts the vessel’s course after finding a new world, and when they land, the rangers start to explore the planet. When they get attacked by vines and bugs, they must evacuate before the ship is destroyed. But Buzz needs to save the rookie (Bill Hader) from death as Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) reboots the ship, and while they almost escape, they crash the ship and have to make an emergency landing. When testing a new propulsion device to escape the planet and go home, Buzz jumps four years into the future, feeling guilty for stranding everyone, he keeps making jumps until one day he comes back, and the colony is occupied by Zyclops robots led by Zurg (James Brolin).

Buzz in hyperspace.
Chris Evans along with the animator created a interesting new spin on Buzz. Image Credit: Disney.

One thing that worked in the film was the motivation they used to push Buzz and his actions further. He is full of guilt that he is the reason that the expedition is stuck in this dangerous world because Buzz was driving the ship when he clipped the cliff and crashed. That guilt to fix the problem, combined with his want to do everything himself, leads to him risking his life in mission after mission. The rest of the film is a cautionary morality tale for Buzz that he does not have to put all this guilt on himself and that working with others is best. ‘Team work is the dream work” is a solid morality tale, and given where this film is pitched, I think it works.   

I also like the ragtag group he forms throughout the film, or more correctly, around him. Every moment Sox (Peter Sohn) is on the screen, the film is made better for their presence. They somehow made the uncanny valley work in that Sox is both a cat and an android, and they get that balance perfectly right. We also get a good team with Izzy (Keke Palmer), Mo (Taika Waititi), and Darby (Dale Soules). They all have their strengths and weaknesses, and learning to work as a team is something I will always enjoy. A shift in animation style from Toy Story does take a bit to get used to, but they make it work. I did like the little hints back to the original show with the back flips over Zurg, and the way Buzz moves in places.    

Sox in the ship.
I loved every moment Sox was on the screen. Image Credit: Disney.

However, while this is a generally good romp through time and robots, there is one big issue. But to discuss it, we need to discuss the third act turn. So, there will be [SPOILERS] going ahead. The big reveal in this film is that Zurg is actually an old Buzz that fled into the deep future and has come back in time. I don’t have an issue with this because it changes the cannon that Zurg is Buzz’s dad. I have a problem because it just does not work thematically for the film because it felt like a cheap handwave rather than a solid twist. Making the film’s subtext the literal text can work. It just does not work here. Thankfully the rest of the characters are strong enough that it does not wholly damage the film.

In the end, do we recommend Lightyear? Yes, we would. It is not as strong as the other entries in the Toy Story world, but it was a solid hour and a bit of entertainment. If you liked Lightyear, I would recommend to you Luca.   

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched Lightyear?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us
Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day. 

Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Lightyear
Directed by
– Angus MacLane
Story by – Angus MacLane, Matthew Aldrich & Jason Headley
Screenplay by – Jason Headley & Angus MacLane
Based onToy Story by John Lasseter, Pete Doctor, Andrew Stanton, Joe Ranft, Joss Whedon, Joel Cohen & Alec Sokolow
Music by – Michael Giacchino
Cinematography by – Jeremy Lasky & Ian Megibben
Edited by – Anthony J. Greenberg
Production/Distribution Companies – Walt Disney Pictures & Pixar Animation Studios
Starring – Chris Evans, James Brolin, Peter Sohn, Keke Palmer, Keira Hairston, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, Uzo Aduba, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Angus MacLane, Bill Hader, Efren Ramirez & Tim Peake
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: na; United Kingdom: U; United States: PG


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