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Thursday, July 07, 2022

Lightyear review: Chris Evans film struggles to keep it fresh

Lightyear movie review: The Chris Evans film has little soul, spark and moving moments -- those Pixar hallmarks that are sure to make you chuckle, and cry at least once.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi |
Updated: June 18, 2022 8:45:22 am
Chris Evans voices the title character in Pixar's Lightyear. (Photo: Disney-Pixar)

In a blink-and-bliss introductory scene, we are informed that back in 1995, when young Andy got his toys, Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear was a figurine from Andy’s favourite film. And this, the film that we are about to watch, is that film. Ooh, meta.

Did we know back then that Buzz, one of Andy’s many beloved toys, would have his own spin-off? Given Pixar’s penchant for sequels and prequels with familiar figures, it’s only surprising that it took the studio so long to get down to it. It’s even more surprising how little soul and spark ‘Lightyear’ has, those Pixar hallmarks that are sure to make you chuckle, and cry at least once.

Upon encountering hostile elements on a planet, Buzz (Chris Evans) and his commanding officer Alisha (Uzo Aduba) scramble back to the safety of their ship, and manage to set up a safe space for the people on the ship. The doughty Buzz keeps trying to come up with a super fuel which will take them back to earth. But every time he takes off, the four minutes he spends in space become four years back on the planet, and before he knows it, 64 years have passed. The spry Alisha is now old and ailing, and the community’s new boss has no time for Buzz’s buzzing about in deep space. What will our never-say-die space ranger do now?

A space ranger needs to range in space. Got that. But this new Pixar space adventure, despite its slick computer graphics, struggles to keep it fresh. A giant robotic figure who calls himself Zurg (James Brolin) and his scary army, looking straight out of a ‘Star Wars’ movie, hovers over the planet. And all those snatch-and-grab manoeuvres in space give off a very Nolan-‘Interstellar’ feel. Buzz’s new team — Alisha’s grand-daughter Izzy Hawthorne (Palmer), accident-prone new recruit Mo Morrison (Waititi) and Darby Steel (Soules), an old criminal hand, currently on parole, sliding into place, should have infused more interest, but not one of them, even with their quirks firmly in place, lifts off.

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The only character which makes you sit up in this only-made-because-we-can-sell-more-toys enterprise is a cat called Sox, who is super-smart, can do complicated calculations, and goes meow-meow-meow whenever he gets a chance. And saves the gang from doom and gloom. What are the chances that Sox (Sohn) will get his own spin-off soon?

Lightyear movie review: Chris Evans film struggles to keep it fresh
Lightyear voice cast: Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, James Brolin, Taika Waititi, Uzo Aduba, Dale Soules
Lightyear director: Angus MacLane
Lightyear rating: 2/5

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