Alright, it’s been awhile since I reviewed something from the cinema. My return to form will be with the latest Pixar thing, Lightyear, the first Pixar movie I’ve been able to see in the cinema since Toy Story 4. This is probably because Disney felt more comfortable releasing the in-between Pixar movies to their streaming service, but since Lightyear is a spinoff of Toy Story we’re good to go to sent this to cinemas.
I was a little intrigued to see Lightyear, mainly because of the weird way Pixar phrased that the Buzz Lightyear in this movie was the one to inspire the toy line we see in the Toy Story universe. For the longest time I was ready to learn the origins of some astronaut named Buzz Lightyear and how he felt comfortable with some company making toys of him. (I guess a Disney’s Hercules kind of deal.) Then only recently it was revealed that Buzz Lightyear is a fictional character in the movie that Andy saw in 1995 that made him want a Buzz Lightyear toy. I was a lot more skeptical after hearing this but regardless, I had a feeling the existence of Lightyear would mean that Pixar has officially non-canonised the 2000 animated film Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, an obscure movie that would easily hold the record as the most underrated thing Pixar has ever made. I know Disney is pretty cool with forgetting about it too as it isn’t on Disney+, making it almost impossible to legally watch it.
I do have more critical reasons for disliking this knowledge beside it disrespecting a childhood movie of mine. The biggest reason been that this movie is really a prequel to the Buzz Lightyear we know from Toy Story. He talks to his wrist to report his mission status a lot and he is a part of Star Command, but the Space Rangers are dead in this movie and he only just meets the Evil Emperor Zurg. Lightyear seems to overlook the details such as appearances of the characters and Buzz actively stating in the first Toy Story numerous times that he serves Star Command as a defender of the galaxy against bad people like Zurg, which can’t possibly be the case here. The other reason is this Buzz Lightyear is a very different character to how he is in Toy Story. It is almost the Cruella problem as this Buzz is a very serious man that doesn’t have as much comedic levity as the charming egocentric space hero that we know him to be. A lot of this comes off in Chris Evans performance as he feels more like Captain America in a Buzz Lightyear costume. He fits the movie better than if Tim Allen played the character again as I guess he would have made the character more goofy, but I still probably would have preferred to have him as Buzz. The most annoying part about this Buzz is that he has almost the exact same character arc as the Star Command Lightyear of learning to value teamwork. Star Command also had Buzz actually doing his job as a Space Ranger for the entire movie, and not just the end, and it actually tries so effortlessly to relate back to the Toy Story films. I’m peeved because Pixar made this movie 20 years ago, but are now telling their audience that this new more mediocre movie that disregards consistency is the correct and right version to the story we love. If there is a sequel to Lightyear I can imagine that fitting in with the Toy Story movies, but right now you’re forcing me to employ head canon and I haven’t had to do that since the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Anyway, putting my focus on the film, I feel very mixed. I think it starts pretty strong with Buzz getting everyone trapped on this uncharted planet and he makes it his mission to fix this mistake. The best sequence of this movie is a very Up inspired montage of Buzz trying and failing to get off the planet as everyone ages around him. It tugged on the heart strings and this was the last time this happened as the rest of the movie is far less interesting. I guess the relationship with Buzz and his partner is nice, but I could have done without the other side characters. The character Taika Waititi played especially, became very grating with his repetitive humour and that sucks because I usually enjoy his roles. Worst of all is Buzz Lightyear and his rag tag team of annoying sidekicks trying to save everyone from little do they know the most boring interpretation of Zurg yet. In the 2000’s this guy was a megomanical evil supervillain who loved his gig and Buzz Lightyear was always there to tell him off for loving his job too much. I also recall Star Command creating an actual space adventure and it was also violent enough where you felt the characters are in actual danger. (I really can’t help but harp in this review as to how great I had it in comparison to the boring stuff the kids of the today have.) Like any Pixar movie the animation is an A+ and the score from Michael Giacchino is also pretty good.
Lightyear is a disappointment, mainly because it so middle of the road like most Disney products nowadays. This movie really isn’t my thing, as I could probably go the rest of my life never seeing this again, but it certainly had moments, which is why I can understand why other people might like it. See it if you want to or if you can, because of the most absurd controversy for an animated kids film. There is a lesbian couple in the movie who share a kiss that lasts about 2 seconds and it’s the reason this movie is banned in 14 different countries. It is a big fuss over nothing as if I wasn’t aware of the controversy I probably wouldn’t remember there was a kiss in the first place. It is a shame this drama has to take place on pride month when we should be celebrating an actual great gay animated movie from a major studio and that’s The Lego Batman Movie. The love between Batman and The Joker in that film is just wonderful!
I’m ready to wrap up and my final verdict is to watch Buzz Lightyear of Star Command for the real movie Andy watched and loved and The Lego Batman Movie because it’s a great movie and it’s pride month. Blog Complainer, signing out.