Lightyear ★½

“Lightyear” is exactly the sort of movie that a 6-year-old would base his entire personality on. 

Pixar, though, has not typically been a studio that limits its effort in appeal to the early grade school set. 

But that’s exactly the perceived intention of “Lightyear,” a movie that doesn’t so much go to infinity and beyond, as it does land on the 1st grade playground monkey bars. 

Disney seems to believe that audiences require an explicit advertising campaign to spell out that “Lightyear,” a movie about Buzz Lightyear, upon whom the toy Buzz Lightyear was based, is meant to be the film that set the events of Andy’s 6th birthday party, and so the events of the entire Toy Story series, in motion. 

I’m so many words… Pixar wants you to watch the favorite film of a 6-year-old. 

Now, some 6-year-olds might have the emotional intelligence to pick, say, “Monsters Inc.” or “Finding Nemo” as their favorite movie. Pixar movies. Movies, that have a depth of psychology that makes them appealing to children and adults alike. “Lightyear,” though, does not play like a Pixar movie. 

To be fair, the only Pixar entry to release in 1995 was not “Lightyear,” but “Toy Story.” A movie, that, despite illusions by its name, was not intended to sell action figures, but rather to assuage the idea that failure was anything but the a realistic attempt at living with spiritual authenticity. 

So, Andy must have seen the other animation studio’s release for 1995. Surely not a work from Disney, which was in the emergence of its definitive Renaissance era. 

No, “Lightyear” is unquestionably the product of one of many one and bust companies that couldn’t cut the creativity of the competition. It is plastic; exactly as it appears to be - pleasing in its outward playfulness and form, but lacking a spirit. Pixar’s best works possess that internal life in their melding of adult and child souls; all hope on one side and knowing on the other. They form a complete person, where “Lightyear” is undeniably just a toy. 

One can only hope that Andy’s mom got a good deal on those Buzz Lightyear bedsheets.

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