Lightyear ★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

The most aggressively corporate Pixar film since Cars 2, to the point where it isn’t even a shame that this movie was bad: it was essentially an expectation.

Lightyear chokes itself to death trying to desperately justify its own existence with it’s hackneyed and unthought concept of a film-within a film in the Toy Story universe. If Lightyear was the film that Andy watched that made him such a fan of the Buzz Lightyear toy (I thought this was just a poorly thought out marketing ploy but no the opening text of the movie is literally just this), how come throughout all of the Toy Story films, we only ever get to see one other character from this film in toy forme (that being Zurg)? Especially considering the film introduces a character that exists solely for the purpose of being a marketable toy? And if we’re really going to be picky with the consistency, don’t even try and tell me a pre-1995 sci-fi film would include even a sliver of the forced Disney-diversity that Lightyear has.

As for the actual movie itself, I was pretty bored throughout despite some pretty neat ideas here and there. Using lines Buzz has said in previous Toy Story movies is cute to an extent but gets really frustratingly forced after a while. Sox the cat is a cute and serviceable mascot that is rarely annoying, which is impressive, but his existence in the first place annoys me: there should be far more Sox toys in the toy story films if you wanted me to believe that was actually supposed to be a movie.

It was pretty obvious to me that they were going to lead up to Buzz using his wings as some big reveal near the end, and yeah, I was right. The movie is full of really obvious story beats, which is always fun and never infuriating. And I was very pleased when they made reference to Zurg being Buzz’s father (they didn’t commit to it which is a shame but the callback was all I really wanted), and Zurg is extremely cool here on a surface level, but as his character goes on in the story he becomes increasingly lame and unthreatening, James Brolin really is doing his worst Ultron impression.

Zurg also sticks out (when out of his costume) as having an extremely, extremely poor character design, incredibly ugly to look at. It opened my eyes to how unappealing pretty much every character in the movie looks, too. How hard is it nowadays to create convincing animated human designs, especially with a 200 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET? The rest of the movie looks fine, why do the characters look so poor?

Throughout the film I consistently wished that I was instead playing this as a video game (it feels a lot like a boring PG Doom 2016). And the more I think about it, the more that idea seems to make sense to me, Lightyear video game over a Lightyear film. It would make sense both consistency-wise (there was a buzz lightyear video game in Toy Story 2! It looked fun!) and vibe-wise, imagine a third-person adventure game produced by Disney that explores Buzz Lightyear in his own fictional universe, it could even be marketed as a reboot of the ‘old’ Buzz Lightyear game, much like Doom. And the weird unnecessary team of characters would make more sense as a build-your-own character type thing. And the different suits shown and different weapons used throughout the film would work much better as a video game upgrade concept. Doesn’t that sound like it makes more sense? Even a little bit?

I digress. Even if Disney didn’t do that, a far more reasonable and potentially interesting concept of a Toy Story meta-media would be if they animated the whole Woody’s Roundup series as a Disney+ Original. That sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?


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