Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been fascinated with stars, the planets, our solar system, galaxies, and the ever-expanding universe. Unfortunately, I’ve never had the smarts enough to be an astrophysicist or astronaut, but that has never deterred me from my love of space.
Instead, I found solace through following astrology, excitedly spotting constellations whenever the night skies are clear (Orion is my favourite), and diving into science fiction via video games, TV, and film. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a film set in space that has given me the same kind of warmth and inspiring feeling for space that I once had as a kid, but this feeling quickly returned after seeing Disney-Pixar’s Lightyear.
The film’s concept is derived from the idea that Andy, the little boy from the original Toy Story film franchise, saw a movie that made him desire to have a Buzz Lightyear toy. Apparently, this is that movie, and to be frank, I am quite surprised that Andy did not want a Sox toy instead.
While Chris Evans did a great job voicing the ever-determined young Buzz Lightyear who throughout the film, strives continuously to complete his mission, and Uzo Aduba is wonderful as Alisha Hawthorne, James Brolin is impressive as Zurg, Keke Palmer is fantastic as Izzy Hawthorne, alongside fellow recruit misfits Taika Watiti’s Mo Morrison and Dale Soules’ Darby Steel, it is actually Peter Sohn’s Sox – Buzz’s robot cat, that steals the show. And honestly, I’m not complaining. If anything, I want my very own mechanical feline now too.
Sox is adorable and is welcome comic relief to an otherwise very serious film. Lightyear is not for kids. The little ones will probably not follow and enjoy this film as thoroughly as you’d like. Instead, Lightyear is clearly targeted at the older kids and the big kids at heart that, like me, grew up watching the beloved Toy Story film franchise.
Lightyear is essentially an action-adventure space film that just happens to be animated. This very script could easily be used with a live action cast and CGI special effects thrown in. There are also many nods in the film to various 80s sci-fi film and TV shows that I really enjoyed, and like all Pixar films, the film is visually stunning and the morality messages from Lightyear are very clear to understand. At times, I even forgot I was watching an animated film and felt that I was just mesmerised in the exciting space story that Lightyear provides.
It’s been a long time since Pixar has had a film released on the big screen. A handful of their films have sadly gone straight to streaming on Disney+ over the last few years, but thankfully Lightyear hasn’t and is definitely a movie you must see on the big screen. And because we’re all a little out of practice with films in cinemas lately, don’t forget that there is always an after credits scene for Pixar features. For Lightyear, there are two, one during the credits and one post credits scene. However, both will make you smile. They certainly did with me.
With many touching moments that will not only move you to tears (well, I cried, twice), but remind you the importance of love, friendship and family, and the fragility of both time and humanity, Lightyear is a love letter not only to 80s sci-fi but is a tribute to those that grew up loving Buzz from the Toy Story film franchise, as well as the many that never stopped pushing the boundaries to achieve their dreams. I am personally so, so very grateful to have had the ability to travel to space vicariously through the art of film, games, and TV, but especially now with Buzz in Lightyear.