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Before I went to Lightyear (Rialto and Reading) I was trying to wrap my brain around how you could have an origin story for a toy.
Disney/Pixar solve this neatly enough by telling us that in 1995 a boy called Andy saw what was to become his favourite movie, leading him to beg his mother for a Buzz Lightyear action toy, and this is that movie.
It is an elegant set-up but, unfortunately, it sets up inflated expectations. If what we are seeing is good enough to be someone’s favourite film, why then did I feel underwhelmed?
It is not that Lightyear is a bad movie. It is perfectly fine, but it lacks that final spark of idiosyncratic brilliance that makes a film more than all right.
We start on a space mission, with a ship on which space rangers and science crew are all in deep sleep. An uninhabited planet displays unexpected signs of life and the ship’s computers wake one of the rangers, Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) to determine if it is worth interrupting their set course to investigate.
Buzz doesn’t need to think twice but the new planet turns out to be more of a handful than he anticipated and they end up marooned there.
Luckily, the ship is chocker with science types and soon they have a full-scale mining operation up and running trying to redevelop the crystal for the hyper core.
For those of you who demand space-movie conventions, we do end up running around an alien mother ship blowing things up and trying to outrun the self-destruct.
Director: Angus MacLane
Cast: Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Soln, Taiki Waititi, Dale Soules, James Brolin, Uzo Aduba, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Isiah Whitlock jun., Bill Hader
Rating: (PG) ★★★