Lightyear ★★★½


”Buzz Lightyear mission log. After a full year of being marooned on this planet, our first test flight is a go.”

I feel like I can’t be the only one who still expects Pixar to return back to their original form where they released a stone-cold masterpiece year after year and probably had the longest stretch of greatness in film history. I get that nothing lasts forever, but recently even if most of what they do is never even below the standard of animation - usually never even being “bad” - I still felt like Lightyear was something at Pixar that was just made and to fill a hole.

After Pixar absolutely killed it by bringing back the series after another near-decade long hiatus from the Toy Story franchise with the fourth film, I genuinely expected them to just leave it alone given that each and every film was perfect in their own way. Then they announced this as a meta movie-within-a-movie concept and for a second I was really intrigued by what they could make. It reads that this was the film that Andy fell in love with in 1995 at the beginning of the film and while the genetic plot points and story leads me to believe that this was totally something Andy would’ve loved as a kid, the film as a whole just doesn’t feel like it fits in that timeframe and that was my biggest complaint.

I guess I was expecting something much more along the lines of the previous released direct-to-video tv show and movie previously featuring Buzz, but alas the movie we got is the movie we got. I liked it. I know I’ve been complaining about it for a bit, but I still think even weaker Pixar still has merits and the overall look and feel of the film still deserves some kind of notion of the work being put into it. I just wish Pixar didn’t feel like they needed to put themselves in autopilot and release something along the lines of this. I wish they went back to new stuff and having that creative flow that dominated the animation genre for an entire decade worth of films.

Chris Evans is a good and sweet choice to voice Buzz and the surprise of Keke Palmer voicing Izzy was quite the surprise when I found out it was her voice. But I’m totally unashamed to say Peter Sohn as SOX was easily the highlight of the film. Always was included with just enough comedic timing that it always worked for me. I think my only real real complaint with the film as a whole was the way they treated Zurg as a character. They tried to do something new and interesting (?) with him and I just don’t get why when he was already interesting in his own way. That actually just really bothered me with what they did. Overall, Angus MacLane’s Lightyear had a very simple quota to fill and it did exactly that.

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