Lightyear Is a Mildly Entertaining, Unnecessary Adventure (Review)

Lightyear - Peter Sohn and Chris Evans

Toy Story is the 3D animated film that started it all for Pixar back in 1995, and it has spawned many films and spin-off series, along with propelling the animation studio as one of the biggest and most beloved. Buzz Lightyear is a popular character in the franchise, and he got his own animated series, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. 27 years later after the first Toy Story film, we’re finally getting a feature-length animated film starring the space ranger titled Lightyear. This is the movie that wowed Toy Story’s Andy into becoming a fan of Buzz; however, it was a mildly entertaining adventure that felt unnecessary in the grand scheme of things.

Chris Evans voices Buzz Lightyear, a captain and space ranger of Star Command, who is tasked with rescuing humanity from a life stranded on an alien planet. His world turns upside down as his mission takes him further and further away from a life he has known. Along the way, he is helped by his sweet companion robot cat, Sox, voiced by Peter Sohn. Additionally, he’ll have a ragtag team including Izzy Hawthorne, Mo Morrison, and Darby Steel.

The Prologue

There’s a prologue with Buzz and a friend that tries to be emotional, and it’s somewhat reminiscent of Up’s opening. The sad music and a muted color palette are present. However, it didn’t have that same emotional connection for me since I didn’t feel the special bond in their relationship. The rest of the film tries to build that connection and relationship. Sadly it never reached the emotional highs that Pixar was known for.

Buzz Lightyear and His Team

Evans does a fine job as Buzz, but his adventure feels cookie-cutter. He is later joined by a new team, and together, they must help each other out in order to save humanity. Buzz is the type of character who doesn’t want help from new recruits and beginners. But he later learns the unique values of each of his teammates. Each character has the potential to bring so much to the table. In the end, they really have no interesting backstory and felt one-dimensional.

There is one bright spot in Buzz’s team, and that’s Sox. Despite feeling a bit derivative of Baymax in Big Hero 6, the cat brings much-needed charm, heart and smile with his cute behavior, funny situations, and loyalty as a companion.

The film tries to elicit an emotion from the audience, but for me, it never reached that potential. These characters do have obstacles to overcome, but the film presented these problems in a way that is not compelling. Buzz tries to do his mission, but he never really has a chance to really connect with his team. By the time the film ends, their camaraderie doesn’t feel earned because there wasn’t much substance for them to hold onto.

Final Reaction

There is some fun to be had with characters like Sox and the mystery behind their threat. Ultimately, Lightyear was uninspiring and bland, and many of the characters lacked the heart and charm that makes Pixar characters so special. As a companion film to the Toy Story franchise, it felt needless.

Rating: 2.5/5 Atoms

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