Lightyear Review: In the iconic movie, Toy Story, kiddo Andy Davis gets Buzz Lightyear figurine for his birthday after watching the film Lightyear. This is that movie — Buzz’s backstory. But while Buzz is a toy in the franchise, he’s an actual superhero in this one. And you can see why Andy is such a big fan. The intergalactic action-adventure is slick and thrilling from the time it starts (with the space rangers fighting carnivorous plants and giant bugs) and maintains the thrill throughout.
Soon, while trying to flee the uninhabitable planet, a lone ranger that Buzz is, he crashes the spaceship because he doesn’t trust rookies and autopilots. The entire crew is marooned because of this. He decides to right the wrong and test flights that will get them out after they fix the hyperdrive system by inventing crystal fuel. He embarks on the journey but it takes him four years into the future. So, his commander and bestie Alisha Hawthorne gets married and has a granddaughter but Buzz is still stuck in time.
For his last test flight, Buzz has been away for more than 22 years. When he comes back, the colony is under threat by a mysterious robot overlord. Now, not only must Buzz save the citizens but also take them back home.
Buzz thinks he can achieve this on his own but he has a team of oddballs already planning a ‘Surprise Party’ to defeat the army of robots and their mothership. There’s a brave but blithe Izzy (Keke Palmer as Alisha’s grandkid), a parolee who loves explosives, Darby Steele (Dale Soules), a cowardly Kiwi, Mo Morrison (Taika Waititi), and a robot-cat Sox (Peter Sohn) who’s been his companion ever since Buzz returned from his first expedition.
The rest of the film is about their adventures, regret and guilt, doing the right thing and acceptance.
Chris Evans as Buzz comes quite close to Tim Allen’s voice acting in the original series, yet has his own personality. His companions add humour, which sets off perfectly against how seriously Buzz takes himself.
Lightyear is an out-and-out entertainer and adventurous caper. Despite the premise being similar to Interstellar, it does not dwell upon loss of time and a life Buzz could have lived too much.
The animation is stupendous; the space expeditions will especially leave you awestruck. But then, the anomaly is the fact that the film is set in the 90s but the tech and treatment is too modern.
The show stealer is Sox. Unlike animal characters such as Rocket the raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy or Puss in the Boots from Shrek, the robot cat is not cheeky. He’s an affable cat you’d want to pet, who loves belly rubs and chases laser beams when he’s not innovating the crystal fuel or breathing a lighter to cut steel.
‘Lightyear’ will be a nostalgic trip for Toy Story fans as they recognise references such as the catchphrase ‘To infinity and beyond,’ and Buzz recording the logs of his adventures. But kiddos of today will enjoy it too as it’s an exciting standalone story despite being a prequel of sorts.