What Critics Think About the Buzz Lightyear Movie

'Lightyear' is a solid addition to the franchise, but Sox the cat steals the show
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2022 12:13 PM CDT

Buzz Lightyear breaks out of the Toy Story franchise to showcase the adventure that led to him becoming an action figure in Lightyear, the Disney-Pixar film in theaters Friday. From director and co-writer Angus MacLane, it finds Buzz (voiced by Chris Evans, not Tim Allen) and friends trapped on a distant, forbidding planet. In an effort to escape, Buzz takes hyperspeed test flights that keep him essentially ageless while his friends grow old. Here's what critics are saying:

  • It "works primarily as a fairly likable action vehicle mixed with a familiar rumination on what defines a life, without rising into that top tier of Pixar fare its predecessors occupied," writes Brian Lowry at CNN. Evans is "the perfect choice to voice this version of Buzz Lightyear," though he doesn't steal the show. That honor goes to a robot cat named Sox, who Lowry calls "the most consistently pleasing addition."
  • Sox, voiced by Pixar animator and sometimes voice actor Peter Sohn, "steals every scene he's in," writes Alan Zilberman at the Washington Post. But he's "the only character who makes much of an impression." Still, "the special effects can be exhilarating" as when one character "considers the vast void of space at a crucial moment." Zilberman also applauds that the film "takes friendship and diversity seriously."

  • A same-sex kiss in "a touching miniature movie-within-the-movie" about the life of Lightyear's mentor, Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba), who weds a female partner, presents "the characters' sexuality in a commendably matter-of-fact manner," AO Scott writes at the New York Times. But "their marginality to the main plot makes it feel as if the filmmakers were content to check a diversity box … and move on" to what is ultimately "an energetic, somewhat familiar adventure."
  • Peter Travers agrees Lightyear doesn’t match "the top-tier magic" of the Toy Story films. In fact, "Buzz gets a little boring" in what is "more of a lark than a new cinema landmark." But the film "hits the sweet spot" through Buzz and Sox's relationship and delivers "laughs, suspense, thrills and visual sparks that do the trick," he writes at ABC News. There's also "a soaring score by Michael Giacchino."
(More movie review stories.)

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