After all the lessons and laughs that the Toy Story series has bestowed upon us since 1995, it's little wonder the expectations going into Lightyear were pretty high. It's bearing that legacy, it's got Chris Evans stepping into the spacesuit and it's got a generation of millennials waiting to see how it handles a character they've known for a quarter of a century. No pressure, right?
Thankfully, the story and visuals are just the right amount of fun to make it work. Sure, it doesn't go to infinity and beyond for ALL our expectations, but it's definitely an entertaining way to spend a few hours.
Having opened in theaters in June, Lightyear is, or you can buy it on Ultra HD Blu-ray, DVD and Blu-ray.
The movie tells the story of the eponymous Buzz Lightyear -- no, not the toy, the character from the movie that the toy was based on in the Toy Story universe. Just imagine you're Andy, seeing Buzz for the very first time on the big screen, and you love it so much that you immediately want the toy. Still with me? Good.
In this flick, Buzz Lightyear is a man who's made his fair share of mistakes. From mishandling a mission to mistrusting his fellow rangers, he's had to make some difficult choices. Throw in a dash of ego, a hint of stubbornness and a determination to right all of his wrongs, and Lightyear becomes the story of Buzz Lightyear's redemption.
With time travel, carnivorous vines, lasers, space travel and robots all on the cards, Lightyear has a lot to say in what's actually a really refreshing run time of only one hour and 45 minutes. Yes, the same-sex relationship that caused the movie to cop a ban in multiple countries is still present (and incredibly heartwarming) and yes, there is definitely a character who will inspire a whole new line of toys.
But there's more to it than that.
Chris Evans does a surprisingly good job of embodying the titular character, with understandably big space boots to fill. His delivery of the signature phrase -- to infinity and beyond! -- doesn't feel like imitation or mockery (following Toy Story voice actor Tim Allen), it feels genuine enough to be his own.
The supporting characters are hit or miss, with some incredibly uplifting moments matched with the type of formulaic responses that you'd expect. Taika Waititi plays Mo Morrison, who honestly might as well just be named-- it's the same character we almost always see from him, and it's beginning to feel a bit gauche.
But the rest of the crew -- Darby, Izzy and robot cat Sox -- are a real highlight, with Keke Palmer's Izzy Hawthorne as a definite standout. A space-fearing wannabe space ranger with a legacy of her own to live up to, Izzy brings a whole lot of heart and personality to the team. And it's that heart that tips the scale for Lightyear.
There are still plenty of unexpected twists to the story that will keep even the most devoted Toy Story fan on their toes. Despite Toy Story 2 spoofing Star Wars with Buzz's relationship to the evil emperor Zurg, there's a brand new take in this flick.
Without giving the game away, let's just say it echoes the theme of at least two other very popular films of 2022, so Josh Brolin's Zurg is more than meets the eye.
Overall, Lightyear is a genuinely fun way to spend time at the cinema. Is it going to blow your mind? Perhaps not. But it'll definitely keep the kids entertained and ultimately, if it gives another generation reason to fall in love with Buzz, that's all that matters.