'Lightyear' - Movie Review

Buzz Lightyear of "Toy Story" fame gets his own movie. This isn't part of the "Toy Story" continuity, at least not in the way you'd expect: the opening text panels in the movie claim that this is the movie Andy saw that made him want to have a Buzz Lightyear toy. In a decision many fans were unhappy about (and I find at least a little odd), Disney/Pixar replaced Tim Allen's voice work in the lead with that of Chris Evans. Evans did a good enough job, but ... why?

This movie shows us a Star Command vessel diverting from its course to explore a new world. Buzz Lightyear (Space Ranger) and his boss and best friend Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) are awoken from hibernation to deal with the exploration. Inimical native life strands the entire crew of ~1000 on the planet. Buzz feels responsible, and performs a series of tests that lead to him barely aging as years pass for everyone else. And eventually Zurg shows up, etc.

The movie is colourful, with lovely animation. There are many very powerful and nasty local lifeforms (and Zurg), and yet somehow the only death that ever happens in the movie is from old age. The movie has a number of mildly interesting fantastical elements, but sticks too close to formula (ie. rag-tag crew of misfits help Buzz, and while they're not well trained their unusual skils save the day - that kind of crap) to really live up to the very high standard set by all four of the "Toy Story" movies.

SPOILER ALERT: STOP READING NOW, etc. as I'm about to discuss a feature of the film that particularly annoyed me and covers events near the end of the film. Buzz is totally focussed on "completing the mission" even as everyone else ages 70 years and he stays young. But when Zurg shows up, his method of "completing the mission" is to try to reset the clock with time travel 70 years into the past, thus eliminating the lives lived by 1000-plus people. Buzz essentially terminates the mission because he doesn't agree with this interpretation - but he forgets the original one, get the Turnip working again. While this would be way over the heads of the target audience (young kids), it's the kind of logic that Pixar has in the past had the sense to work with - the kind of emotional depth and intelligence that made their work worthwhile for parents as well as kids. This is just one of several ways this particular movie falls down.