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Today’s Prayer Focus
MOVIE REVIEW

Lightyear

also known as “Bazz Layter,” “Buzz Astral,” “Buzz l'Éclair,” “Buzz Lightyear,” “Işıkyılı,” “Lightyear - Cảnh Sát Vũ Trụ,” “Lightyear - La vera storia di Buzz,” “Rakeťák,” “Svjetlosni,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for action/peril.

Reviewed by: Keith Rowe
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Kids • Preteens • Family
Genre:
Animation Sci-Fi Action Adventure Family Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2022
USA Release:
June 17, 2022 (wide release)
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picturesclick photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Relevant Issues

Outer space science fiction

Hostile lifeforms

Malevolent robots

Time dilation

Another Woke Disney product that attempts to validate LGBTQ and Feminist idealogy

Makes Buzz’s inspiration and the story’s true hero his Lesbian friend, Aisha

Attempts to normalize the idea of two women marrying each other and having a baby

GAY—What’s wrong with being Gay? AnswerHomosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born Gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?

What about Gays needs to change? AnswerIt may not be what you think.

What does the Bible say about same sex marriages? Answer

Read stories about those who have struggled with homosexuality

Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Featuring Chris EvansBuzz Lightyear (voice)
Keke PalmerIzzy Hawthorne (voice)
Peter SohnSOX (voice)
Taika WaititiMo Morrison (voice)
Dale SoulesDarby Steel (voice)
James BrolinZurg (voice)
Uzo AdubaAlisha Hawthorne (voice)
Mary McDonald-LewisI.V.A.N. (voice)
Isiah Whitlock Jr. … Commander Burnside (voice)
Angus MacLane … ERIC / DERIC and Zyclops (voice)
Bill HaderFeatheringhamstan (voice)
Efren Ramirez … Airman Díaz (voice)
Keira Hairston … Young Izzy (voice)
Director Angus MacLane
Producer Pixar Animation Studios
Pixar [Canada]
Walt Disney Pictures
See all »
Distributor Walt Disney PicturesWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

While exploring an unknown planet, Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans), Commander Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) and Rookie Featheringhamstan (Bill Hader) are forced to make a hasty departure when they’re attacked by vine creatures. Buzz can’t quite steer the ship over the top of a jagged peak and the vessel crash-lands on the inhospitable world.

One year later, a small base has sprung up around the ship, constructed by the ship’s crew who’ve been roused from their suspended animation naps. These industrious pioneers also have designed an experimental spaceplane that might be able to achieve hyperspeed, which will allow Buzz to bring his crew home and complete his mission.

With each unsuccessful mission, Buzz returns to the base to find that everyone has grown older. When Buzz finally achieves hyperspeed, he comes home to a grim reality… the descendants of his original crew have been wiped out by an army of malevolent robots.

Does that synopsis make “Lightyear” sound kind of ho-hum and hard to follow for a kid’s movie? It is.

If you find the plot hard to track, try apprehending the movie’s “meta” introduction, which tells us that young Andy from “Toy Story” (1995) first idolized his favorite toy (Buzz, not Woody apparently) while watching a movie starring the Space Ranger, and that “This is that story.” So, just to be clear, we’re watching an animated movie about an action hero that a kid in another animated movie also watched; and his toy, based on the action hero in the movie, becomes the co-star of four films. Somebody pass the Advil.

The opening sequence of “Toy Story 2” (1999) features a brief episode where Buzz cleverly defeats an army of robots and encounters the villainous Zurg. The action-packed sequence cleverly sets up the climactic confrontation and starts the movie off with a bang.

As exhilarating as the pulse-pounding preamble is in “Toy Story 2,” I couldn’t have handled an entire movie in the same style and at the same breakneck pace. Though the story here isn’t nearly as pedestrian as the dramatized video game in “Toy Story 2,” it has an overall campiness that the film’s handful of decent character moments can’t quite overcome.

“Lightyear” serves as an origin story for Buzz Lightyear and a loose prequel to the “Toy Story” movies. It gives us more details about the way Star Command and its Space Rangers operate. However, despite some nifty weapons, like the laser blade, and sweet-looking ships, like the XL-15, much of the movie is a pastiche of other sci-fi franchises, particularly “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.”

Buzz’ mission logs are an obvious rip-off of the captain’s log in “Star Trek.” Also, the visuals when the XL spaceship attempts to slingshot around a sun are remarkably similar to the slingshot sequences in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986).

Other than their bright yellow paint job, the hulking Zyclops robots bear more than a passing resemblance to the super battle droids in the “Star Wars” prequels. The capital ship Zurg commands is reminiscent of an Imperial Star Destroyer (the Arquitens Class command cruiser in particular). Buzz and his team come up with a plan to destroy Zurg’s mother ship, which will deactivate all the robots. This plan is virtually identical to the one hatched by the Gungans and the Naboo to destroy the Trade Federation ship, which deactivates all the battle droids in “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” (1999).

Spiritual Aspects

Aside from leaning on well-worn sci-fi tropes, the movie attempts to explore some adult themes, with varying degrees of success. The challenges inherent in colonizing an alien planet are addressed obliquely, but the dome-like protection, called “Laser Shield,” prevents a lot of dramatic tension and potential action scenes. To its credit, the movie references some science, like relative velocity and time dilation… pretty ambitious for a kid’s movie.

Also to its credit, the film subtly weaves an allusion to “Moby Dick” into its plot. After repeated failed attempts to reach hyperspeed, Buzz realizes his friends are getting older and are having kids and grandkids. At some point you’d think Buzz would stop, turn the mission over to a younger pilot and spend some quality time with his aging friends. But no, Buzz’ pride (Proverbs 16:18) won’t allow that.

Breaking the hyperspeed barrier is Buzz’ white whale. He risks everything to reach that goal. Sadly, obsession blinds him to what matters most in life; he never gets to say goodbye to Hawthorne and his other friends because he’s off flying a mission when they pass away. It’s a poignant moment for the audience, as we place ourselves in Buzz’ boots and consider the brevity of life (James 4:13-17) and what awaits us in the Great Beyond.

However, after learning that his friends have died (Hebrews 9:27), Buzz doubles down on his quixotic quest. With the space program scrapped, Buzz steals his old spaceplane, thereby violating the Eighth Commandment, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15). When the command center asks who’s in the cockpit, he lies (Proverbs 12:22) and says he’s part of the cleaning crew.

Other than the secondary themes of obsession and growing old, the movie’s main themes, which are hammered home over and over again in the dialog, are Buzz’ independence and the crew’s guilt beatings from making mistakes.

Buzz isn’t very likable at the beginning of the film. He’s arrogant, controlling (he detests autopilots) and overconfident (Buzz’ overestimation of his piloting abilities is what causes the ship to crash, which is the inciting incident for the movie’s many complications). He makes condescending remarks about the rookie and ignores the young man’s frequent attempts to lend a hand. In essence, Buzz is John Wayne in space.

Buzz’ narcissism is on full display when he makes mission logs. Dictated like a dramatic reading, these oft-embellished recordings are just to make him look good in the eyes of his superiors. Hawthorne calls out Buzz’ compulsion to record their missions and refers to his habit as “narrating” (not to be confused with “monologuing” in “The Incredibles”). The fact that Hawthorne tells him no one listens to his recordings doesn’t dissuade Buzz from making log entries during the rest of the movie. Add stubbornness to Buzz’ list of negative character traits.

As was mentioned earlier, the movie’s writers work overtime to highlight Buzz’ independent nature. At one point, Buzz says, “I’m better off doing the job by myself.” Later, he says, “I’m always sure.”

Q & A

What does the Bible say about pride and HUMILITY?

Fortunately, Buzz comes to see the value of teamwork. He gradually abandons his desire to control everything. He learns to accept the ideas of others and even delegates responsibilities he’d normally shoulder himself. Buzz’ loner leader turned team player story arc culminates with this admission, “I can’t do it alone. I need help.” Buzz’ transformative realization is also germane for those in the audience; we all need others in our life, and must learn to yield to a Higher Power.

A few characters beat themselves up over mistakes they make. The first is Buzz, who wants to court martial himself after crashing the ship. His all-consuming need to break the hyperspeed barrier is tied to the guilt he feels over waylaying the mission and placing everyone on the ship at risk.

Side character, Mo Morrison (Taika Waititi), expresses feelings of guilt over a mistake, as does Izzy Hawthorne (Keke Palmer). Izzy also experiences the crushing weight of expectations she’s placed on herself. She says, “I’m supposed to be as good as my grandmother.” Sadly, Izzy doesn’t realize that her Creator has a unique purpose (Romans 8:28) for her life, a separate path from her grandmother’s.

While guilt can be a useful emotion, it also can consume a person’s life, which isn’t healthy. The Good News is that there is One (1 Timothy 2:5) who can remove the guilt over past mistakes. If we confess (1 John 1:9) our faults, He promises to forgive the things we’ve done wrong. He died so we can have eternal life (Hebrews 9:15).

Q & A

GUILT—How can I be and feel forgiven? Answer

FORGIVEN?—If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer

Saving the worst for last, the movie features a homosexual (Romans 1:26-27) relationship. After returning from a mission, Buzz notices a ring on Hawthorne’s finger. Buzz must already know that Hawthorne is a lesbian because he asks, “Who is she?” (otherwise, he would’ve asked “Who is he?” or “Who’s the lucky person?”).

As Buzz checks in on Hawthorne after various missions, we see her in an apartment with another woman, and then later with the same woman and some kids. In one montage shot, we see Hawthorne kiss her female partner.

Surely, this is Disney’s influence on the story, since the company is brazenly pro-homosexual. It’s a sad, sad day when moviemakers foist an alternate lifestyle on impressionable young viewers. Unfortunately, unless they repent, their fate is sealed (Luke 17:2).

Q & A

GAY—What’s wrong with being Gay? AnswerHomosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born Gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?

What about Gays needs to change? AnswerIt may not be what you think.

What does the Bible say about same sex marriages? Answer

Objectionable Material

OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE/VULGARITIES: There aren’t any expletives in the movie. However, there are a few instances of mild vain speech like “shoot” and “blast.” Several other fairly benign phrases, such as “you’re mocking me,” “dumb bugs” and “screwed up,” may concern some parents. A man mistakenly thinks Buzz wants someone to pull his finger—a fart joke done on the sly.

ALCOHOL/DRUGS: No alcohol or drugs here.

NUDITY AND SEXUAL CONTENT: The movie doesn’t have any nudity or sex scenes. However, there’s an awkward scene where Buzz explains that he and Izzy’s grandmother used to point their fingers at each other (and say “To infinity and beyond”). Though Buzz’s actions were completely innocent and appropriate, some characters misinterpret this as an act of impropriety. The only display of affection in the movie is the lesbian kiss mentioned above.

VIOLENCE AND GRAPHIC CONTENT: There isn’t any graphic violence in the movie, but there are several action sequences where characters fire laser guns at robots or slice through vine creatures with glowing laser blades. Giant flying bugs are blown apart or sliced in half by lasers. An arrow is shot through the head of one robot. Several robots are blasted and appendages or parts fall off their bodies.

There’s a scene where Buzz arms his team with guns and various other weapons from an armory. One character says he’s on parole and isn’t allowed to fire a gun. Buzz says their desperate situation warrants breaking the law… and he hands the person a gun.

During a battle with robots, some members of Buzz’ team throw grenades and fire different kinds of weapons. Again, there isn’t any blood or gore here, but you could make a pretty large mound of scrap metal from all the dismembered or demolished robots.

Final Thoughts

“Lightyear” is a disappointment on many levels. It contains the merest fraction of the movie magic that made the “Toy Story” franchise so wildly popular with kids, parents and critics alike.

Thematically, the movie is very adult, and aesthetically, it’s very dark. There’s little levity and very few funny lines in the movie. Plus, the hero isn’t very heroic for the first half of the film. Then there’s that Lesbian/Feminist ideology, which really sullies the movie’s innocence.

Though the production elements are top-notch, the story is lacking. I expect much more from Pixar (the quality of their movies has steadily declined since Disney bought the studio).

Still, “Lightyear” is educational. It teaches us the proper way to make a meat sandwich. It also leaves us pondering the big questions about life and the universe.

Like, what’s beyond infinity?

  • Violence: Moderate
  • Profane language: None
  • Vulgar/Crude language: None
  • Nudity: None
  • Sex: None
  • Drugs/Alcohol: None
  • Occult: None

Editor’s Note: Christian Spotlight recommends viewers SKIP this film. We also sadly recognize that the Disney company has for some time now become an active enemy of biblical Christianity.

Learn about DISCERNMENT—wisdom in making personal entertainment decisions

cinema tickets. ©  Alexey SmirnovEvery time you buy a movie ticket or buy or rent a video you are in effect casting a vote telling Hollywood, “I’ll pay for that. That’s what I want.” Read our article

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative
Negative—Disney took one of the best and most famous children’s movies and managed to turn it into a mediocre (at best) animated sci-fi adventure movie. However, the worst part of the film is the in your face lesbian propaganda where Buzz’s best friend (a woman) marries another woman. She is later shown pregnant with no explanation of how she got pregnant. The heroine thus is raised with two moms and no dad. Disturbing that this is what our society has degraded to.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
Dr. David, age 55 (USA)
Negative—With apologies to Neil Armstrong, “Lightyear is one small misstep for Pixar, one giant leap backwards for Disney.'

A spinoff story set in Pixar’s “Toy Story” franchise, Lightyear has hit the box office and it’s definitely not going to infinity and beyond in more ways than one. It’s arguably Pixar’s worst film.

Created by Pixar, the animated origin film is about the character who inspired the Buzz Lightyear action figure from the Toy Story movies.

The movie tells the story of space ranger Buzz (voiced by Chris Evans), his crew and their spaceship filled with people who are stranded on an alien planet. However, Buzz’s efforts to bring everyone home results in transporting him way into the future, where evil robots controlled by Emperor Zurg (James Brolin) have seized the planet.

Sounds like a good premise considering Zurg is supposed to be Buzz’s arch enemy, right? Wrong!See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
Eric Tiansay, age (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I wasn’t interested in this film initially (originally because I dislike shameless retcons of franchises, which I’ll briefly get to in a minute), but I definitely won’t be seeing it now, and I don’t recommend it for any viewer. A major plot point is that one of Buzz’s friends is a lesbian, and this is made one of the main focuses of the movie. Apparently this same character is also pregnant at one point in the movie, implying artificial semination from a man that she isn’t even married to. Both of these are sins, and the movie apparently shoves them in your face to the point where they can’t be missed.

For those who want to see “What the Buzz Lightyear toy was based on in-universe,” I instead recommend seeking out the animated TV series from the eary 2000s, entitled “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command,” which which Disney/Pixar has retconned and replaced with this movie, and which is also conspicuously absent from Disney+, probably to hide the fact that it’s been retconned.

If you can’t find the TV series (as it’s hard to find), I say avoid this movie anyway. It won’t be worth your money.
Curt, age 25 (USA)
Negative—Even though I love the Toy Story franchise (short films included), I do not plan to see the spin-off prequel “Lightyear” in cinemas for one simple reason. The shoehorned in lesbian subplot, which was initially cut from the photo play, but reinserted for reasons already well known. Why does Walt Disney Pictures feel the need to tarnish its once sterling reputation for quality family entertainment by wallowing in the mud like swine? Even though “Beauty And The Beast” (2017) carefully eschewed any overt on-screen affection, it was still disturbing. A subsequent short from PIXAR, titled “Out,” and a recent musical on Disney+ called “Forever Nate Than Never” go further. But “Lightyear” goes all the way. Such depravity goeth against what God saith in His Word: “Thou shalt not lie with a male as one lieth with a woman; it is abomination.”

At least, we have the animated classics and some live-action remakes to enjoy (i.e., The 2015 “Cinderella,” etcetera). For now, I also do not plan on seeing “Lightyear” when it blasts its way to Disney+. But curiosity and nostalgia might get the better of me.

Please do yourselves and your children a favor by skipping Lightyear. However, if you really want to see it, Be prepared for a heavy discussion afterwards on what the Bible saith concerning homosexuality.

“Lightyear” is rated PG, but should be rated R for disturbing sexual content.
D, age 36 (USA)
Secular Movie Critics
…the movie feels empty and pointless overall…
Alison Willmore, Vulture
…A frustratingly slow, melancholy drama… sloppy screenplay… The story is thin, repetitive, and almost entirely dependent on the heroes being clumsy. …If Lightyear had been a rollicking, Flash Gordon-style yarn about a Space Ranger zooming around the galaxy and zapping evil aliens, you could see why it might be Andy's “favourite movie.” But MacLane has made a frustratingly slow, melancholy drama with a gloomy, grey setting, drab, uninspired production design, and a depressing story that's hardly livened up by the forced banter or the predictable pratfalls. …Is this dreary ordeal really what anyone had in mind when they first heard the phrase "To infinity – and beyond"? Whatever escapades young Andy imagined in 1995 when he was playing with his Space Ranger toy, they were bound to be more fun than this one. [2/5]…
Nicholas Barber, BBC
…A franchise low, Pixar’s meta ‘Toy Story’ spin-off gets lost in space… But perhaps true to form, the favourite film of a seven-year-old kid is… not that great. …Every minute Buzz spends trying to reach the hyper-speed necessary for escape, four years pass for those left on the planet’s surface. So as he goes through his attempts, those left behind have children, grow old and die. A lesbian relationship and gay parenthood offer nods to modernity, but there’s no real sense of delivering on that early premise: exactly why is this Andy’s favourite film of the mid-’90s? …For Pixar, which must surely have a Woody western in mind, it’s a wake-up call. Let’s hope they’re soon back on more fertile ground, because Lightyear feels like that horrible moment when you broke a much-loved toy. …[2/5]
Kaleem Aftab, Time Out
…Sorry, Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ is a buzzkill …A dead-end wrong turn in the usually boundless Pixar universe. Buzz, himself, is a bit of a bore, too. …What’s compelling “Lightyear” is harder to say, but there is a bland, vaguely “Planes” feeling here that smacks of a straight-to-video spinoff. …
Jake Coyle, Associated Press
…predictable… recycled… There’s more message than laughs or heart in the screenplay. … It’s also constructed in ways that maximize representation — many races, a gay couple, etc. …A “real” Andy would’ve probably preferred Sox as a birthday present to Buzz, I dare say. But honestly, I didn’t find much in “Lightyear” that any kid, or adult, would obsess over. Impressive as it looks, it’s emotionally lacking, humorless and kind of dull. …
Roger Moore, Movie Nation
…Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ is no ‘Toy Story.’ It’s not even close… Ultimately, the people who made “Lightyear” bet too much on the appeal of Buzz, when they really needed to be deepening him and transforming him. Buzz is no Woody, and to sustain an entire movie, he pretty much had to be. …Though Pixar’s “Toy Story” series is consistently gripping and deeply emotional, this spin-off is flaccid, repetitive and emotionally dead, almost from its first moments. …
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
…To mediocrity, and beyond! …lacking in all those meticulously crafted visual details that typically bring Pixar’s unabashed sentimentality to vivid life. Indeed, the overall look of the film is disappointingly unimaginative, a conglomeration of elements borrowed from the canon of science fiction cinema—the bug aliens from “Starship Troopers” here, the light trip from 2001: A Space Odyssey there, and set designs cribbed from “Star Wars” all over the place. … [2/4]
Keith Watson, Slant
…Pixar’s lifeless return to theaters is a great excuse to stay home …feels like it only belongs on Disney Plus. …the most glaring problem with “Lightyear” is that it misses its hyper-specific target audience. …I’m struggling to believe that any child’s imagination could be set on fire by this awkward space odyssey with its bland locations, dull sidekicks, and deeply uncool villain. Sure, Andy first saw it in 1995, before his brain had been smoothed over by Marvel, “Paw Patrol,” or even “The Phantom Menace,” but the idea that he would drop all of his other toys for an intergalactic dork like Buzz Lightyear has never made less sense than it does here. …this is the rare Pixar film that should’ve aimed so much bigger than it does. There’s no excuse for a Buzz Lightyear spinoff not to reach for the stars, and the decision to have its story fall back on the upside of failure — the real mission is the friends we made along the way! — doesn’t explain why this movie settles for so little success. …
David Ehrlich, IndieWire