First of all, Lightyear is just pure space adventure — rockets, robots, and lasers. It follows the standard storytelling devices we expect from Pixar. No matter how easy the plan for success is, there’s no way in hell that it’s going to work. And it’s usually our hero’s fatal flaw that foils the plan. In this case, Buzz’s fatal flaw is his inability to work with and his distrust of others. Mo, Darby, and Izzy represent the worst of the worst, and in good storytelling fashion, it’s the worst that always gets the job done.
I also want to add that there is an actual villain present. Of course, the main baddie is Lightyear’s nemesis Zurg, but his true identity came as a pleasant surprise, even if it should not have been. I mention this because, for some reason, Disney and Pixar have been pushing many movies without a true villain (please tell me it’s not a woke thing), hoping that the hero’s adventure will be thrilling enough. There’s something about having an actual antagonist spoiling things for the hero at every turn that is fun.
Also returning in Lightyear is the trademark Pixar sense of humor. Like every film, all jokes are meticulously crafted in a way that will make children laugh and adults laugh harder. Mo and Darby bring a lot of silly comedy as inept space rangers, and Sox is an intelligent robot wrapped up in a cute merchandisable package. The script is full of witty and clever humor, which is precisely where Pixar excels.
“…there is redemption to be found from our mistakes.”
Lastly, each Pixar film has a simple message that strikes right at the heart. In this case, it’s the idea that there is redemption to be found from our mistakes. Buzz spends most of the film haunted by his past, and sometimes you have to accept that it happened and move on.
Yes, there’s a gay kiss by a same-sex couple. I’m frustrated by the uproar over this single second of the film. Let’s just say it’s a welcome home type peck, and we as a society have progressed to the point that same-sex couples with children are a reality in my social circles. As a critic, I review films based on what is on the screen and refuse to let the current political climate cloud into a single moment.
Lightyear is a fun, funny space adventure that speaks to the young child that still lives in my heart and mind. As such, I plan to watch it as much as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and even Cars.
"…a fun, funny space adventure that speaks to the young child that still lives in my heart and mind."