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).