Lightyear is PIXAR’s latest entry in their successful Toy Story franchise. This time instead of giving us another adventure with the same toy characters, they have a back story on one of the main toys – Buzz Lightyear. In the first Toy Story, Andy received his Buzz Lightyear toy as a present from his mom. Lightyear was the action figure from supposedly a popular space adventure movie at that time. THIS movie is supposed to be THAT movie that Lightyear was in.
Now that we have all that cleared up, let’s get down to the movie itself. As a children’s adventure Lightyear is probably acceptable but as a PIXAR movie, this is a huge disappointment. Lightyear has little to none of the trademark PIXAR standards. Its story is surprisingly simple and devoid of any effective emotional resonance that comes out so easily in PIXAR movies. Buzz himself seem to be a less energised, goofy and funny version of the Buzz we are familiar with from the Toy Story movies. There is less spontaneous humour and with the exception of the robot cat companion SOX, the rest of the supporting characters were forgettable. “Why so serious?” one is inclined to ask. Not even the big names like Chris Evans, Taika Waititi and James Brolin helped with the voices as I felt none really stood out. Replacing Tim Allen who had always voices Buzz with Chris Evans to me is also a questionable move because it just contributed to Buzz feeling different from before. However apparently Allen himself decided to alienate himself from this project when he realised the characterisation with the Toy Story version was going to be quite different.
The controversy over the choice of having one of the more prominent supporting characters have a same sex partner is probably another bad call. Why court controversy in a family orientated movie knowing very well that many countries in the world still treat this as a taboo subject. It does seem like Disney has an agenda to promote LGBTQ relationships in its movies as evident with the Marvel movies and they seem to be included just for the sake of inclusiveness rather than enhancing or being a part of the story. If such an approach was to be taken for everything then we will have random characters being introduced to represent the blacks, the Asians, the Hispanics, the blind, the deaf, the physically disabled, and the list just goes on. What makes the LGBTQ community so special to be given (and demanded) such inclusion in all these movies? Anyway this is a debate that will probably draw more fire than light. Just expressing my humble opinion here and should add that I personally have nothing against the LGBTQ community. I just don’t feel Lightyear is a place for us to promote this.
With or without the controversy, Lightyear comes across as an average fare and a surprising disappointment from PIXAR who have as far as my memory goes, never disappointed me at this level. More air time should have been given to that robot cat SOX who has hilarious.