‘…a very agreeable if lightweight film…’

I’m surely not the only person who doesn’t quite get what’s going on between Disney and Pixar; the latter’s last three movies have been released directly to Disney +, despite the Pixar brand regularly hitting huge heights at the worldwide box office before the plague years. It seems strange that Soul, Turning Red and Luca were all used to add lustre to the Disney+ streaming channel, and yet the rather undernourished Lightyear goes straight to cinemas. That’s not to say that Lightyear is a bad film, it’s a very agreeable if lightweight film, but Disney seem quite happy for cinema to be the preserve of tried and tested IP only, and that’s surely not a long-term plan.

On the bright side, Lightyear is a space comedy-drama, supposedly the film that Andy saw which inspired him to get a Buzz Lightyear doll. Now voiced by Chris Evans, Buzz isn’t quite the goofy figure that he was as part of Woody’s gang, but is a serious astronaut with problems and issues. We see him wrestling with the indignities of conquering a hostile planet in the opening scenes, and in a twist lifted from Interstellar and other sci-fi films, not aging due to space-travel while those around him grow old and die. That’s about as close as Lightyear comes to the pathos of Up or even the Toy Story trilogy; this sad scenario isn’t touched on again.

Instead, we have a routine bonding story, with Taika Waititi doing the second-banana number that he must be doing in his sleep these days. The lesbian kiss featured doesn’t exactly chime with the idea that this is a kids animation that Andy might have watched in 1993; it’s the right idea by Pixar, just the wrong film to do it in. But the designs and chunky and satisfying, there’s some funny gags, and Lightyear’s final confrontation with the man behind Zurg (James Brolin) is what you’d hope for and expect. And Sox the robotic cat is a terrific add-on; he deserves a film of his own.

Angus MacLane’s animation offers the charms of a family summer blockbuster; it’s a fun, engaging romp with smart designs and good humour. But it is a notable step down for Pixar, much less creative that Soul or Turning Red. And since Buzz Lightyear has already been the subject of several animated original stories, these fresh adventures still feel like an IP being flogged long past the deadline for development; this seems too much like a photocopy of a photocopy of a well-loved character.

Thanks to Disney for big screen access to this film. Lightyear hits cinemas June 17th 2022.


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  1. The closest Disney can get to making Toy Story 5 without making Toy Story 5. The concept confused me at first and seemed a little desperate on Disney’s part. I’ll be checking this out this weekend, but the fact that I can’t get any of my friends and not even my boyfriend to join me does not bode well. I”m curious to see what the opening weekend gross will be? These big studio releases seem to pin all their hopes on that opening weekend.

    • It’ll have a massive opening weekend to be sure, and IP that’s been popular for 25 years will see to that. But it’s not a Pixar film like Inside Out that all ages can dig; it’s a kids film, skewing more towards The Good Dinosaur and with little of the post-modern charm of Toy Story. It’s a very agreeable film, just not from Pixar’s top drawer, but I still think and hope that you’ll enjoy seeing it!

    • Today’s guest poster was Geoffrey Chaucer. Was doing something educational this morning, so had to leave the shop-floor unstaffed.

      We have no hogs. Not even Wild Hogs.

      • Ah, Geoff and I go back a ways. Good to hear he’s still with us. Thought he’d been carried off by the playgoo.

        No hogs, no cows. Just cats and bunnies and ponies? I’m not sure this counts as a farm. How many acres do you have planted?

        • You’ll be getting planted if you keep this up Bunty. Lots of wild animals in this area, in fact, a werewolf movie was made right here, Wild Country. Werewolves trump hogs and cows every time. Fact!

          • I thought Dog Soldiers was a werewolf movie made in Scotland. But it was only set in Scotland. They were planning on filming it on the Isle of Man. Then they tried to make it in Manitoba. But they ended up shooting it in Luxembourg. Anywhere but Scotland . . .

            • Because we have REAL werewolves who would not allow it. Dog Soldiers was one of the first Q & As I ever did; not easy to interview werewolves. Will be reviewing a new doc with actual werewolves caught in film, stay tuned!

  2. Only a maybe for me. Underwhelmed by the trailer. He’s way past infinity by now…perhaps even approaching the notorious killer planet known as TheSellByDate.

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