Finally freed from the purgatory of exclusively streaming Disney +, Pixar returns to cinemas in the hopes of cashing in on one of its original characters from the company’s first theatrical venture, Toy Story (1995). It’s explained that the film Lightyear was Andy’s favorite movie and the reason that he was so excited to bring home a Buzz Lightyear action figure in the first Toy Story. This particular film sees a Buzz, played controversially by Chris Evans, that learns that being vulnerable is not the same as being weak.

Buzz, the space ranger, is stranded on an alien world and each attempt to restart the ship’s fuel jumps Buzz forward in time four years. It’s an interesting premise, seeing Buzz as a man out of time and the other stranded crew have built a colony civilization over a century of work. There’s a band of misfits, who aren’t terribly funny, some laser action sequences, and a third act twist that’s telegraphed to the audience a mile in advance.

One can’t find fault with the animation, which is crisp and colorful, but the storytelling is definitely a few notches below infinity and beyond. It also seems like a plot hole to have Andy fall in love with Buzz and want his toy when the breakout charcer in the film is the robotic cat Sox (Peter Sohn). Lightyear is passable entry in the Pixar-sequel landscape, arguably feeling more like “content” than “filmmaking” (which is concerning for a brand that controls both Marvel and Star Wars).

About The Author

Founder, Awards Editor

Byron Burton is the Awards Editor and Chief Critic at Awards Focus and a National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award winning journalist for his work at The Hollywood Reporter.

Byron is a voting member of the Television Academy, Critics Choice Association, and the Society of Composers & Lyricists (the SCL) for his work on Marvel's X-Men Apocalypse (2016). Working as a journalist and moderator, Byron hosts Emmy and Oscar panels for the major studios, featuring their Below The Line and Above The Line nominees (in partnership with their respective guilds).

Moderating highlights include Ingle Dodd's "Behind the Slate" Screening Series and their "Spotlight Live" event at the American Legion in Hollywood. Byron covered the six person panel for Universal's "NOPE" as well as panels for Hulu's "Pam & Tommy Lee" and "Welcome to Chippendales" and HBO Max's "Barry" and "Euphoria."

For songwriters and composers, Byron is a frequent moderator for panels with the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) as well as The ArcLight's Hitting the High Note Oscar series.

Byron's panels range from FX's Fargo to Netflix's The Crown, The Queen's Gambit, The Witcher & Bridgerton; HBO Max's The Flight Attendant, Hacks, Succession, Insecure, & Lovecraft Country; Amazon Studios' The Legend of Vox Machina, Wild Cat, & Annette; and Apple TV+s Ted Lasso, Bad Sisters, and 5 Days at Memorial.

In February of 2020, Byron organized and hosted the Aiding Australia Initiative; launched to assist in the restoration and rehabilitation of Australia's wildlife (an estimated 3 billion animals killed or maimed and a landmass the size of Syria decimated).

Participating talent for Aiding Australia includes Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Jeremy Renner, Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Josh Brolin, Bryan Cranston, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, JK Simmons, Tobey Maguire, Alfred Molina, James Franco, Danny Elfman, Tim Burton, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Tim Allen, Colin Hay, Drew Struzan, and Michael Rosenbaum.

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