Lightyear Blasts Into Theaters, But Is This Space Ranger Movie a Bust?
Updated: Sep 16, 2022
We have conflicting thoughts about the Buzz Lightyear origin story.
We all know and love Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, but did anyone ever stop and think what's that toy’s backstory? Probably not, but you will be now when watching Pixar’s newest animated film Lightyear.
The film introduces the Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) that the toy is based on. The movie is actually a movie that occurred in the Toy Story universe — at the beginning of the film we’re told that Andy’s Buzz was a character from Andy's favorite movie, and this is that movie.
Buzz and his partner Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) are on a mission when things take a turn. As they’re trying to fly away, Buzz accidentally steers the ship into a cliff and the ship’s power source is destroyed. Because of this, Buzz, Hawthorne, and the rest of the Space Rangers on the ship are stranded on the planet.
Buzz and Hawthrone are determined to fix the problem and make it home, but to do that, they need to create a power source that can blast into hyperspace. Buzz volunteers to test the fuel, but repeatedly fails. On top of that, every time he goes back into space to test, he’s gone for multiple years — even though Buzz only feels like he’s gone for a few minutes.
After many repeated tests and decades gone by, Buzz tries one more time — and he succeeds at blasting into hyperspace! But he’s been gone for 22 years and things are a little different.
Now a new villain is attacking the planet — another one we know from Toy Story — Zurg. Even though Buzz wants to complete this mission solo, he realizes he can’t do it without a team to help him. So he teams up with a very motley crew consisting of his pet robot cat, Sox, Alisha’s granddaughter, Izzy Hawthorne (Keke Palmer), Mo Morrison (Taika Waititi), and Darby Steel (Dale Soules) to fight Zurg.
Overall, the storyline is a little messy and some things just aren’t fully explained — like Zurg’s whole backstory. However, you may be able to look past that for the endearing parts of the story.
It’s clear that this movie is geared toward two different audiences. Us millennials who grew up loving Toy Story and feel a sense of nostalgia for Buzz and a new generation of Disney fans who will hopefully love Buzz as much as we did.
On the surface it’s a movie about a Space Ranger saving the day. But deep down it’s a movie about Buzz finding himself too caught up in his “mission” to get home and not stopping to smell the roses and live. He’s watched his friends and other citizens grow old and die while he stays the same. Buzz thinks it’s all been a waste, but his friends actually enjoyed their time “stuck” on the planet.
Leave it to Pixar to get real deep in a children’s movie.
And, if nothing else, I loved watching Lightyear for the comedic outbursts of both Sox and Mo Morrison. If you loved Korg in Thor, then you’ll love Waititi’s spotlight-stealing performance in Lightyear just as much.
All in all, Lightyear doesn’t deserve the bad rap that it’s getting. Box offices are calling it a flop, but it’s a cute movie that I did enjoy.
However, I probably wouldn’t make an effort to see it in theaters. Especially if it’s going to continue in recent Disney movies’ footsteps and appear on Disney+ in a month.