Nerdlocker Movie Review: Lightyear

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was pointed out to me the last time we saw some Pixar magic on the big screen was March of 2020 with Onward. Although its theatrical run was short-lived for obvious reasons, it was met with rather lukewarm reactions considering the basically unanimous love for Pixar. Since then movies such as Turning Red, Luca and one of Pixar’s best, Soul, have been released on the small screen through Disney+. Finally in 2022 it’s the coveted return to the big screen with Buzz Lightyear’s origin story, Lightyear.

For those confused, Lightyear is described as Andy’s favorite movie that inspired his favorite spaceman toy we all know and love. So in the connected Pixar universe the real Buzz Lightyear is merely a toy in celebration of the movie we now get to see. Unless I’m wrong and misread the opening title sequence. That’s perfectly reasonable to assume. I thought I had a handle on what Lightyear was in the mix with the rest of Pixar but now I’m not so certain. Based on the simplicity of the movie, the very straightforward space adventure that it is, I’m going out on a limb and saying it’s not meant to be that deeply examined. Watch it for what it is, without the MCU mentality, and appreciate it as a standalone movie.

Chris Evans as the titular Lightyear is perfectly serviceable. Nothing about his presence felt spectacular but then again neither does this movie. This is the small problem Pixar faces and that is the stellar library of films in their repertoire always overshadowing the future releases. It takes something brilliant like Soul to truly stand out among the best like Toy Story and Up. Lightyear is a lot of fun but in comparison to the previous Pixar efforts it feels fine, nowhere near the caliber of Inside Out and Ratatouille to name just a couple. Any other animation studio and this would be a homerun.

From a visual standpoint, Lightyear is absolutely breathtaking. From the action sequences of starships flying at hyperspeed to calmer, more tranquil moments of a character’s contemplation as they stare out into the cosmos is something to behold with unblinking eyes. The characters are kooky and simultaneously relatable as souls just trying their best, especially in the presence of their heroes. In the reality of a hero’s story it’s about their burden of expectation when a reputation as large as Buzz Lightyear’s lumes over their present. How does one live up to their heroes and for our heroes how do they maintain that aura of excellence and legend?

The story is probably the least engaging aspect to the overall film. While there isn’t anything particularly wrong with it, there’s nothing surprising about it either. You can tell where it’s going pretty early on and rarely does it ever deviate in any meaningful way. This is the kind of movie that is more focused on the journey rather than the destination primarily because you can see the end a mile away.

Lightyear is left in charge of a colony of space travelers frozen in cryosleep. As an alien planet proves too hostile they attempt an emergency takeoff only to crash and maroon themselves for years. The burden of escaping their new, unwanted home is taken up by Lightyear, who blames himself for their current predicament. He is determined to save his people and live up to his name as the greatest space ranger ever. He’ll discover the greatest strength in his arsenal are those in his corner ready and waiting to serve the greater good.

The prospect of Lightyear felt like a childhood memory that grew into an adult just like I did. His character in the Toy Story movies, however funny and poignant he was, was always very childlike. Lightyear felt like that memory grew up and this was the opportunity to see him matured and fully fleshed out. While my expectations weren’t met, I still had a lot of fun with this latest Pixar adventure. While there are lessons to be learned, this felt less introspective than we have come to expect with past Pixar stories and more straightforward science fiction. That said, there are certainly those famous cry worthy moments that every good Pixar movie possesses. Oh and SOX… what a hoot he is. Prepare to fall in love with a robotic cat.

Rated PG For: action/peril
Runtime: 100 minutes
After Credits Scene: Two. Mid-credits and post-credits. They aren’t plot oriented. Just silly quick cuts.
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Starring (Voice): Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, Taika Waititi
Directed By: Angus MacLane

Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 7/ Acting: 8/ Directing: 8/ Visuals: 9.5
OVERALL: 8 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: Yes.

Check out the trailer below:

Warning! Expletive filled rant impending. Consider yourself warned. The review section of the article is over.

I want to add something here at the end. As I was writing this I was looking up information about the movie on IMDb when I noticed the abnormally low rating. I had heard people were already upset about gay representation in the movie but this is the first time I’m seeing it firsthand. You people, and you know who I’m talking about, are absolutely ridiculous. How does it feel knowing you and your kind and making like the dinosaurs and becoming extinct? You pathetic, homophobic fucking assholes. You disgust me. Oh no! Two women are married in the movie. Woke! Woke! What the fuck does that even mean? Not homophobic? Then mark me down as woke because at the very least it means I’m nothing like you, you pitiful waste of flesh. God dammit I can’t believe this is still a topic of discussion. You want to know why no one likes people like you? Aside from the vitriol that spews from your cockholes, you strive for a world stuck in the 50’s with separate water fountains, fire hoses aimed at black people and hanging anyone not aligned with your religious, bigoted nonsense. I fucking despise your very existence and wish the absolute worst on you and anyone like you. Shame on you.

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard