Entertaining for kids, baffling for adults, Angus MacLane’s Lightyear adds pointless backstory to a beloved character that takes strangely unnecessary turns. That being said, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy myself.
Chris Evans voices Buzz Lightyear, a space ranger in Star Command alongside his commanding officer and best friend Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba). While exploring a new planet, they are forced to attempt an escape, but Buzz damages the ship and strands the crew on the planet. The group of rangers and science officers set up a colony while Buzz attempts test flights around the local sun to get them home.
There is a recurring plot device involving time dilation, but just know that Buzz stays the same age while the rest of the planet gets older. Eventually, the planet is besieged by robots led by Emperor Zurg. Next to his robotic cat companion Sox (Peter Sohn), Buzz teams up with Hawthorne’s granddaughter Izzy (Keke Palmer) and recruits Mo (Taika Waititi) and Darby (Dale Soules) to defeat Zurg and get everyone off the planet.
There is a truly mind-boggling third act twist that I won’t get into here. Just know, it makes no sense and is a completely odd choice to make. There were so many interesting places this story could have gone, and to go in that direction feels like the absolutely wrong choice. Additionally, the film has to include every single reason for why Buzz has his blasters, uses his mission log, wings, and every other thing that made him interesting in the Toy Story films. Nothing happens organically. It all feels forced.
Evans does a fine job of making him a person as opposed to a caricature of the toy, but the humans aren’t the memorable parts. Each and every action and line that Sox has is plainly hilarious and delightful. The biggest audience reaction in my screening came from an action sequence where Sox was in peril. Sohn plays him with such blank hilarity while still imbuing him with cat qualities that makes him the runaway MVP.
Kids will love the film, but parents could get turned around by the stretches in logic. While completely unnecessary, the film is harmless fun with plenty of action.
Lightyear is now playing in theaters
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