Despite the vertigo-inspiring meta-ness of Lightyear, the movie tells a fun origin story. The movie begins with a title card that says that this was eight-year-old Andy Davis’ favourite movie and his Buzz Lightyear action figure is based on this film. So then you have a film for an origin story of an action figure from a movie, which was a child’s favourite toy from another movie — gosh, stop the carousel, I want to get off!
In the Toy Story movies, part of the joke was Buzz believing he was this heroic space ranger going where no one has gone before, and not a toy. Lightyear shows Buzz to be a real hero bending time, giving our heads another spin as we bounce along with Buzz into alternate realities on the space-time continuum.
If, however, you are willing to put metaphysical questions aside, Lightyear can be enjoyed as a jolly adventure story with awesome animation. Lightyear (Chris Evans) and his commanding officer, Alisha (Uzo Aduba) land on a planet to check if it is habitable. They quickly figure out the planet is hostile as there are evil, wicked vines twisting themselves around everything and everybody. As they flee the planet, their craft is damaged.
A year later, Lightyear tests the hyperspace fuel, a crucial component for their flight out. The fuel does not work but Lightyear realises he has bent time. So what was four minutes for him turns out to be four years for those on ground. Many years and flights later, the hyperspace test is successful but Lightyear finds the ground reality radically changed.
Lightyear is the right side of space adventure with laughs and thrills aplenty. The truth about the villainous Zurg (James Brolin) is revealed once more. Izzy (Keke Palmer), Mo (Taika Waititi) and Darby (Dale Soules), are fun as the last of the defence forces. Lightyear’s constant run-ins with the autopilot I.V.A.N (Mary McDonald-Lewis) bring little ripples of laughter.
And there are chuckles courtesy Sox (Peter Sohn), the robot cat who can do anything from calibrating the right formula for hyperspace fuel to coughing up darts to immobilise the opposition. While Lightyear does not go to infinity and beyond, that sandwich idea of filling on the outside and bread in the centre is definitely worth trying.
Lightyear is currently running in theatres