Lightyear begins with the tagline, “In 1995, Andy got a toy from his favorite movie. This is that movie.” The film is able to have creative liberties since it’s not a direct spinoff of Tim Allen’s Buzz Lightyear. Initially, Toy Story fans were a little concerned that Allen was not voicing the beloved character, but Lightyear is able to effectively give space for Chris Evans to make this character his own.
The movie begins with Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear getting stuck on a distant planet with his fellow Space Ranger Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) and an entire spaceship full of people. Buzz becomes determined to “complete the mission,” a.k.a. get everyone back home. Every time Buzz tries to get the rocket into light speed, more years go by. As Buzz is hyper-focused on fixing what he thinks is a mistake, he misses out on building a life with the others back on the distant planet.
Buzz’s pal Alisha gifts him with a companion in the form of a robot cat named Sox, voiced by Peter Sohn. Sox becomes Buzz’s closest confidant the more time goes on. When Buzz returns back to base after his latest light-speed excursion, he finds that the space colony has been taken over by Zurg and his scary robot army.
Buzz crosses paths with Izzy Hawthorne, Alisha’s granddaughter, and forms a rag-tag crew with Alisha, Mo Morrison, Darby Soules, and, of course, Sox. They go on a thrilling adventure to take down Zurg — whose reveal is a solid twist — and save the space colony.
Along the way, Buzz learns that always going solo isn’t ultimately the best way to approach life. You have to work together as a team in order to save the day. Everyone can be a hero if they want to be.
Evans clearly had a blast voicing Buzz in his latest post-Marvel project. The movie is full of levity, even though Buzz takes his mission very seriously. Evans has impeccable comedic timing with co-stars Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, and more.
The unexpected star of Lightyear is definitely Sox. Not since Frozen’s Olaf has a side character had this kind of impact on an audience. Sox has all the biggest laughs in the movie, and you (and your kids) will become deeply attached to Buzz’s feline friend. There’s one moment in the film with Sox that will have audiences everywhere on the edge of their seats. Get ready for gasps!
Lightyear is the perfect film for the entire family to enjoy. Older audiences will enjoy getting Buzz’s backstory, while for many youngsters, this will be their introduction to the beloved character. Either way, it’s a win-win for everyone. Even after nearly 30 years, Buzz Lightyear’s impact continues to be infinite. Lightyear will be released in theaters on June 17.