Lightyear follows the adventurous journey of spaceman Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) as he navigates a precarious situation while learning to work as part of a team.
Buzz Lightyear maroons his team on a planet full of hostile vegetation and makes it his mission to find a way to escape and return to Earth. An elusive formula for a hyperspace fuel cell holds him back, with each attempt to get it right taking four years local time while only about four minutes in space for Buzz. His determination sees the mission take about sixty-plus years, losing his best friend Alisha (Uzo Aduba) along the way.
When things finally start going right, a new threat appears, forcing Buzz and his crew, including Alisha’s granddaughter Izzy (Keke Palmer) and her ragtag group of mates, to work together as a team. Buzz, ever the heroic type, must set aside his lack of dependency and trust his new teammates to overcome their greatest obstacle.
Lightyear ticks all the boxes of what makes an exciting space adventure film but sadly doesn’t do enough to bring anything new to the formula. This unoriginality marks a missed opportunity for one of Disney Pixar’s most popular characters. Thankfully the supporting characters are funny, witty, and engaging, somewhat offsetting the dull narrative.
Thematically, it’s a similar story. Teamwork and inclusivity are the big ones here, which often feature in these types of films. It makes sense considering the film’s younger target audience, and it gets the point across quite well, though there’s not much there for an older audience. More seasoned filmgoers can see what’s coming a mile away, and the lack of subtlety in the themes will make for a less inspiring experience.
Despite these flaws, Lightyear still works as a standard space adventure film, hitting all the right marks on the action front and delivering enough humour and a couple of twists to keep the audience engaged. Unfortunately, it can’t offer anything special or unique considering the property, which is what would be expected from Disney Pixar.
This is not a story about the Toy Story (1995) action figure, but the “movie” that exists within the universe that spawned the toy.