Lightyear — To Mediocrity, and Not Far Beyond.
It’s always a reason to get excited when Pixar have a new release, and as a fan of the “Toy Story” series growing up, my attention was definitely caught when I first saw the announcement of this one. “Lightyear” has finally hit screens, and I had to check it out.
In 1995, a boy named Andy brought home a Buzz Lightyear toy after falling in love with a movie — this is that movie. “Lightyear” follows the journey of space ranger Buzz Lightyear, who along with his partner is stranded on a planet due to a mistake of his own. In order to complete his mission, he must find a way to reach lightspeed, but every test run causes him to return with four years having passed. How he fares on his mission, and the consequences and circumstances he faces every time he returns is what forms the story.
I’ll admit, when I was first told that Chris Evans would be voicing Buzz rather than Tim Allen, I was skeptical. While I wasn’t totally in love, I thought he did well. Naturally, we see a far more emotional Buzz in this film, but rather than delve into what makes him who he is and what motivates him, the only real depth to his character comes from his dedication to his job and his relationship with his fellow space ranger Alisha Hawthorne.
It felt like a bit of a missed opportunity, but he’s fun enough to watch that it didn’t feel like a big deal. The relationship between him and Alisha is strong, but it doesn’t last long enough to leave any real impact so by the time we meet related characters later, it just feels slightly rushed.
Sox is definitely the biggest winner from the film. The hilarious robot cat steals the show plenty of times and most definitely is the brightest point of the film. Unfortunately, very few of the supporting characters make as big an impact.
Visually, the film is a treat — Pixar very rarely drop the ball in this department, but what did surprise me is how weak the writing was. Their films are often built on strong emotional elements and important bonds between characters that they spend good time developing. There’s not really much of that here.
Where there is, it’s rushed and feels a bit forced, which is where the weak writing comes in. Even some of the events of the film feel like they were written in haste, with even the big twist/reveal feeling like a bit of a cop out at the time. It just seemed to lack a bit of focus for me.
That’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable. The film has it’s high moments, it does have a few good emotional moments and it does definitely have comedic value. Something just felt off about it.
While the film is definitely enjoyable, worth a watch and has some very progressive elements that will have a good impact on children, this just didn’t have the usual strengths of a Pixar product. The best way I can think to sum this up is “to mediocrity and not far beyond”.
A final heads up — there are actually THREE credit scenes in the film, so do make sure to stick around and give them a watch.
“Lightyear” is out now in cinemas only.