Review of 'Lightyear'

Yes, Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Chris Evans) from the Toy Story series finally gets his own film but is it as fun as the other series? In a word: No, but it looks good and it is an OK SF flick…

A Star Command exploration ship lands on the planet T'Kani Prime looking for life but Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear and his commanding officer and friend Alisha Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) are attacked by hostile lifeforms. In a hasty attempt to leave the planet Lightyear accidently causes the ship to crash, stranding them on the planet. Determined to rectify his mistake Lightyear volunteers to test a hyperspace fuel crystal they will need to return home but every mission results in time dilation with him aware of the passage of minutes while on the planet years have gone by. One day he returns to find Alisha has died with her replacement Commander Cal Burnside (voiced by Isiah Whitlock Jr.) informing Buzz that the colony no longer wishes to pursue space travel and instead settle on the planet. Sox (voiced by Peter Sohn), an AI robot therapist (looking like a cat) given to Buzz many years earlier by Alisha, has spent the time perfecting the fuel crystal. Buzz and Sox steal a ship to test the crystal which works but returning to the planet, due to more time dilation, many years later they learn the planet has been invaded by an army of robots. It is up to Buzz to whip the colonists into shape to fend off the evil robots headed by none other than Zurg (voiced by James Brolin) himself…

The story is a bit simple but the film looks great though sadly lacks any of the charm and fun of the Toy Story series. It is hard to see who this film might appeal to as it is a bit too basic for serious SF buffs but not silly enough for Toy Story fans…or at least it doesn't have the sustained silliness (and fun!) of those films. Doubtless this is why it did not fare so well in theatres. The story is pretty much a one-note tune with Buzz's attempts at redemption and learning to work with others.

Looks good and is reasonably interesting to watch but “Lightyear” is ultimately very disappointing.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2022-12-10

Directed by: Angus MacLane

Studio: Pixar Animation Studios

Year: 2022

Length: 100 minutes

Genre: Animation

Other reviewed films by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane: