Lightyear isn’t an origin story. It isn’t really the newest installment in the Toy Story story. It’s how Andy got hooked on Buzz. And it’s pretty much how we all get hooked on heroes.
Even though most kids watching it may not be able to read or read well, the movie opens concisely with words explaining how Toy Story’s beloved little boy and toy owner Andy got a new toy in 1995. This happens essentially after Andy watches a ’90s movie and falls in love with its action hero. “This is that movie,” the screen shares.
My four-year-old, Cole, is a Buzz fan. Jules is seven and also likes the Toy Story movies. I think we’ve watched all four but honestly the last seven years have been a blur.
It’s not fully the Buzz we know. It’s Captain America, or Chris Evans, voicing the character Buzz in his original animated movie. You can immediately sink into the beautiful animation and excitement, the colors and technology better than ever as Disney and Pixar keep evolving and creating works of art together.
We jumped. We laughed. There are tears and thrills. There’s colorful “science” and problem-solving.
Cole is the one at home who runs around yelling with fist out: “To infinity and beyond!”
A scene gets intense. Is the hero going to make it? Is he going to save his friends?
“Doesn’t he have wings?” Cole whispers loudly with wide, determined eyes.
Cole can’t stand the suspense and burrows into his seat like a snail curled in its shell.
My preschooler called it. I whisper loudly back to him, pointing: “Look!
And now there’s a whole story behind a gentler version of Buzz’ catchphrase. With more meaning and like the best stories, those focused less on romance or rescue and more on relationships, bravery, sacrifice and resilience. You’ll have to watch to find out more.
Though there is a part related to time travel that didn’t make sense to us, yet someone smarter might be able to explain it to me. Also sometimes my little guy got bored in the less action-driven scenes. I think those are the points too when Jules wandered over to me for more candy.
The robot kitty, voiced by Peter Sohn, and underdogs played by Taika Waititi and Dale Soules win you over pretty easily. Like a Star Wars droid, the robot cat easily becomes almost the best part of the movie. The rag tag group paints the formidable challenge of space, its emptiness and difficulties. Plus the characters voiced by Keke Palmer and Uzo Aduba are related but different, wise and inspiring women.
It takes a team to save the day.
While they’re getting in their carseats, I ask Jules and Cole what they thought, what was their favorite part.
Jules: It was great!
Jules: So good.
Cole: I like the part when it ends!
The sooner he could get back to playing Buzz.
Movie times: click here for showtimes
Genre: Family, Animation, Adventure
Production Companies: Disney and Pixar
Director: Angus MacLane
Actors: Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi
Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes