Initially presented as “the story of the icon behind the toy” Lightyear now is the movie of the movie that Andy watched and inspired his love of Buzz. Reinvention requires recasting so out goes Tim Allen and in comes Chris Evans to voice the square-jawed Space Ranger. Joined by his own motley crew of Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, James Brolin and Taika Waititi.
After his whole crew is stuck on an inhospitable planet after a moment of arrogance. Buzz is driven to try and get everyone back to their lives. Oblivious to the fact that many have made do with their new circumstances, while he is forced to learn “Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.”
With the underwhelming Toy Story 4 hanging as an appendix to what was a flawless trilogy of films. It would be easy to dismiss Lightyear as a cynical cash grab. With its own toy-making, machine in Buzz’s adorable Kitty sidekick “Sox” to its own version of the opening scene of “Up”. However, there is a genuine heart and sincerity to it that is hard not to get swept up in. Its same-sex kiss which has seen the movie banned in 14 countries including the much-coveted Chinese market. Has seen a welcome digging of heels by Disney, not to remove the scene. As opposed to the frankly offensively box-checking and easily omitted moment in Jurassic World.
None of this matters to audiences if the film itself isn’t entertaining. On that front Lightyear duly delivers a funny, exciting and earnest addition to the Pixar family. Buzz is wonderfully fleshed out without disrupting any of the previous movies. There is no cringe-inducing “Solo” like origin given to the character.
Lightyear is visually astounding and busting with imagination and heart. With enough for both adults and children without tipping the balance too much in either direction. It is hard to argue against it being the best family movie of the year.
Andy McCarroll @andymc1983
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