Lightyear Movie Review: Chris Evans’ Toy Story Spinoff Is An Enjoyable Space Odyssey That, Sadly, Lacks the Pixar Heart (Onhike Exclusive)

Lightyear Movie Review: Chris Evans’ Toy Story Spinoff Is An Enjoyable Space Odyssey That, Sadly, Lacks the Pixar Heart (LatestLY Exclusive)

Lightyear Movie Review: Pixar has always managed to deliver on emotions in their films. From the emotional beats of Inside Out to the very optimistic ending of Soul, the films will either leave you in a crying mess or you with a ton of serotonin. Even with the Toy Story films, each one of them packed a punch that made watching them so worth it. So, it was a bit of a disappointment to see Lightyear lacking those emotional beats and just being a rather safe and fun action film. Lightyear: Chris Evans Speaks About Disney Removing and Restoring Same-Sex Kiss in Pixar Film, Says He is A ‘Little Frustrated’.

Angus MacLane makes his feature directorial debut here with Lightyear. Lightyear is a film that exists within the Toy Story universe as a movie itself. It tells the origins of Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans), the character on which the toy is based on, and sees him try to get his marooned crew off from a planet that’s 4.2 million light years away from Earth. Through this journey, he faces off against the evil Zurg (James Brolin) and has to learn how to work with others as a team.

A Still From Lightyear (Photo Credit: Pixar)

First-things-first, Pixar knocks it out of the park again with the animation. The movie is beautifully in that manner. There are some jaw-dropping scenery and frames here that made me appreciate just how far 3D animation has come. All the characters look well realised and everything is crisply designed. Saying a Pixar movie animation is great is like saying water is wet. It’s just top-notch stuff and proves repetitively why these guys are the masters of the game.

The film opens with Buzz a planet with Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) and it quickly unfolds into a chase as the dangerous terrain starts hunting them. They try escaping, but their ship gets damaged and they are stranded on the planet until they can figure out how to achieve hyperspace again.

Watch The Trailer:

The movie sets Buzz’s arc quite well from here on. His characterisation very much feels like a more human of the toy and that core essence is preserved here. There will be moments where he will be narrating to himself and recording his mission log, or be completely in over his head and prioritise a mission before everything else. That part of Buzz was very much maintained, and it helped me connect with him as it very much felt like a slightly different, but still a familiar version of the character.

Chris Evans also makes for a very fun Buzz Lightyear. While of course, Tim Allen’s voice will always remain a classic, Evans is still able to bring his charm to the role and for quite the entertainment. He manages to have that brawny space ranger voice, while still very much sounding like Chris Evans, and I think that helped him differentiate a bit from the Tim Allen’s version. It’s also pretty smart seeing as to how when companies actually make voiced toys of characters, they never use the original voice actors, but rather someone who sounds similar to them. It just adds a meta flavour to the entire thing.

A Still From Lightyear (Photo Credit: Pixar)

Peter Sohn as Sox is also a great addition to the movie. Sox is a robotic cat and Buzz’s companion robot. Sohn provides a great robotic voice that’s devoid of emotions in a way, but through the actions of his character those emotions still end getting conveyed. Other than that, we also have Keke Palmer as Izzy Hawthorne, who is the granddaughter of Alisha Hawthorne and manages to make the film exciting. Taika Waititi also voices Mo Morrison, and provides for some great laughs in the film.

James Brolin as Zurg, though, was a disappointment. The character of Zurg is very underdeveloped and not compelling enough. There is a certain twist based around him that had the potential to make for a sympathetic villain, but the writers end playing it safe, and it never really goes anywhere.

A Still From Lightyear (Photo Credit: Pixar)

That, as a whole, is a big issue with the plot – the writers here are so afraid of committing to being bold. In a very long time, this is Pixar’s safest and least innovative film yet. Gone are the themes of stories like Ratatouille or even the original Toy Story films for that matter. Rather what we have here is a very much by-the-numbers action film that doesn’t push the envelope forward in any way. That’s necessarily not a bad thing as you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time, but when ideas with huge potentials are being introduced, the film pulls back and doesn’t go anywhere with them. It creates for something that doesn’t challenge you as a viewer, and Pixar is otherwise very well known for doing that.

It also lacked the classic Pixar emotion that we have to come to expect from these films. Aside from a montage in the beginning that mirrored the opening of Up, the film never really came close to making me feel anything. Jurassic World Dominion Movie Review: Chris Pratt and Sam Neill’s Finale is a T-Rex Sized Disappointment With Quite the Convoluted Plot (Onhike Exclusive).

A Still From Lightyear (Photo Credit: Pixar)

Thankfully, the action and space scenes provided for some excitement here. The action scenes are wonderfully done of course, but the cake is taken over her by the hyperspace sequences. The best and the most recent comparison to make over here would be is that it is very similar to Top Gun: Maverick’s opening, where Maverick is trying to achieve Mach-10 in his jet. Instead, over here, Buzz is trying to achieve 100% hyperspace.

Yay!

Chris Evans as Buzz

Fun Space Sequences

Nay!

Safe Story

Zurg is Underdeveloped

Final Thoughts

Where the entire motto of Lightyear is “to Infinity and Beyond”, the film rather sticks to the ground and limits itself to some very safe storytelling. It’s like watching a successful liftoff, but the rocket reaches its destination by stumbling a lot in its way. Chris Evans makes for a fun Buzz Lightyear and I did enjoy my time with the movie, but a part of me is still disappointed that the classic Pixar magic was missing here. Lightyear releases in theatres on June 17, 2022.

(The above story first appeared on Onhike on Jun 16, 2022 01:32 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website onhike.com).

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Charles writes for the Headline column of the website. He has done major in English, and a having a diploma in Journalism. He has worked for more than 1.5 years in a media house. Now, he joined our team as a contributor for covering the latest US headlines. He is smart both by him looks and nature. He is very good with everyone in the team.