Regan Inglis’s review published on Letterboxd:
Marooned on a distant planet with no hope of rescue, rookie pilot Buzz Lightyear of Star Command tries desperately to undo the mistakes that led him to this planet, which result in a spot of time travel and reincarnated faces he once knew.
Yeah this was a disappointing one. With so many ways you could take Buzz Lightyear as a character, and this is the way you go? Hell, even the opening text claiming that the film we're about to watch is allegedly Andy's favourite film feels like an afterthought, put in because the filmmakers couldn't find a better reason for this film's very existence. And two other points: Andy is any idiot who clearly hasn't seen many films, and given that this film would have been made in at least the '90s in-universe, it looks impeccable for its age.
Truthfully, me and my girlfriend were split on this one. She loved the film, despite some issues, where I just thought it was rubbish, with very little to actually enjoy. Sure it looks pretty, but so what? That should be a minimum requirement, that shouldn't be a certificate of endorsement. Pixar's films are always gorgeous to behold, and this definitely feels more cinematic than previous efforts. That being said, despite being the first of their films to debut in a cinema since the Pandemic, it's definitely the first one that felt like it should have debuted on Disney+. Even when the trailers were dropping, each one felt very different from the other, so I couldn't quite figure out what the final film would be. After watching it, it makes even more sense, as the actual film doesn't even understand what it's going for. The first third plays out like a ripoff of Interstellar, complete with time-jumps that come out of nowhere. Then it's a quirky space-comedy with some of the most annoying characters put to a digital canvas. And then there's a bunch of scenes with what appears to be Emperor Zurg, but is so far from what Zurg should have been I'm loathed to even refer to him as Zurg. Again, this is Andy's favourite film?!
Chris Evans isn't playing Buzz Lightyear, he's playing a stupid astronaut that keeps getting people into trouble and acting like he knows best when he quite clearly doesn't. So in what way is this supposed to be Buzz Lightyear? I think if this was a completely original premise that wasn't tied to the Toy Story films - which would be very easy to do - I would see this as a far more mediocre affair. But the fact it's decided to go ballsy and claim that this film exists in the Toy Story universe is a baffling move on Pixar's front, and is another misstep in their recent batch of releases.
I just don't get how, with a character as iconic and loveable as Buzz Lightyear, it would be so difficult to have him be the lead of a film. I mean, why can't it just be the Tim Allen version in the same as the openings for Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3? Nobody needs it to be an origin story or anything, just an adventure with our favourite toy on an epic adventure. Sure I don't need to see anything more from this franchise after a stellar fourth entry that had no right to be as good as it was, but I can guarantee that however good that one turned out, it'd have been better than this. It's so bland and forgettable to the point that I'm struggling to remember what actually happens. I give up talking about this. Get your shit together Pixar and give us something deserving of your incredible legacy.
P.S: One star is for the visuals, the other is for the cat. My cat was also called Sox when I was a kid, so it was difficult to hate.