Lightyear ★★★½

Perhaps not the most “necessary” Pixar film and is unfortunately quite forgettable, Lightyear is still a thrilling and supremely well-animated experience that entertained me throughout and has enough heart to make it a worthy endeavor. This is an origin story about Buzz Lightyear: a space ranger character in a movie that Andy from Toy Story watched as a kid and then promptly got the toy. So, you’re kind-of watching a movie that exists inside the Toy Story universe about a marooned Buzz attempting to get off a planet and clashing with his nemesis Zurg…and I had a reasonably good time with it!

There was big controversy before the movie came out because Tim Allen wasn’t asked to return as Buzz and instead they hired Chris Evans; a reasonably good choice star power-wise and he’s already in Disney’s camp! I think he did a really good job with the character and besides, it’s not like if you bought a Captain America action figure it’d have Chris Evans’ voice…hence why Buzz would sound completely different. The rest of voice cast is rounded out by Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, Uzo Aduba, James Brolin as the villainous Zurg and Peter Sohn who steals the damn movie as the voice of SOX, the robotic cat. I couldn’t get enough of this thing and can already see the massive merchandising opportunities with him! 

Laughs aside, the movie has a surprising amount of darkness and a fairly serious tone to its story with vibes of Empire Strikes Back, Top Gun, and especially Interstellar, sharing key plot points. The action set pieces are thrilling and kind-of intense; I think young boys are going to eat this up! There’s also a highly emotional sequence in the first half that while not quite reaching the heights of the opening sequence of Up, still manages to be effective and pull on the heartstrings in a very meaningful way. This is the part that involves the “controversial” lesbian kiss between an elderly couple, which got it banned in several ass-backwards countries and all I can say is…wow! Get over yourself.

The movie starts off at a great pace and I was locked into the story for the first half, but I’ll admit that my interest started to wane in the middle and my investment drifted off considerably. I’m also really over Taika Waititi’s brand of comedy at this point and his clumsy character irritated the hell out of me. But, at the end of the day, for a movie that doesn’t really need to exist, they pulled off a competent adventure and I was entertained! It doesn’t go to infinity and beyond but was still very enjoyable and I’m a bit shocked it underwhelmed at the box office.

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