I don’t need to bash Disney’s latest film “Lightyear” because of its attempt to shove a woke agenda into a kids’ film – that point has already been made by plenty of others. Instead, I simply need to explain how this movie — billed as an origin story of the Buzz Lightyear toy that Andy loves in “Toy Story” — is just another sad example of how far Disney and Pixar have fallen.
This is coming from a woman who has embarrassed her children on numerous occasions at the movie theater by bawling her eyes out over the storytelling of such incredible Pixar movies like “Toy Story 3,” “Inside Out,” and “Up,” just to name a few.
I considered myself a huge fan of these animated movies because, even though they are marketed toward kids, they always contain hidden messages that often leave adults wrecked emotionally. After all, it’s one of the things we all love about these films.
I must admit, I wasn’t even going to pay for the kids to see “Lightyear” in the movie theater, as I have done in the past, because the reviews were abysmal. Not to mention that one of my favorite actors, Tim Allen, who voiced Buzz Lightyear in the original “Toy Story” films, was not part of it. So, I waited until the movie came out on a streaming site.
When I finally did watch “Lightyear,” I was very disappointed. I did not shed one tear, and neither did my kids. But it’s worse than that. The film stirs little to no emotions at all, aside from Buzz’s robot cat named Sox. Seriously, the robot cat is probably the only redeeming quality of this hour and forty minute movie. The only other positive thing I can say about the film is that the animation is stunning. But those are really the only memorable things that stand out.
The film opens with a message making it clear this movie you are about to sit down and watch with your kids has zero to do with all those earlier “Toy Story” films you have loved. A message on the screen reads, “In 1995, a boy named Andy was given a Buzz Lightyear action figure from his favorite movie — and this is that movie.” To put it bluntly: The story doesn’t hold your interest like other Pixar films. Even Buzz’s catchphrase, “To Infinity and Beyond” seems uninspiring. The plot is too hard to follow and it’s quite lengthy for a kids’ movie. In the end, you almost can’t remember what you just watched. As many parents and kids alike on Common Sense Media noted, the film is simply forgettable.
Our hero Buzz feels uninspiring. Unlike in the original “Toy Story” films, Buzz is portrayed as whiny, stubborn, and, at times, insensitive. One of his lines is, “I’m better off just doing the job myself.” There is no way this movie inspired our Andy to ask for the spaceman for his birthday.
Even my kids said it was just “meh” and not what they expected. And I agree. It was flat.
Lightyear, voiced by “Marvel” star Chris Evans, must take numerous test flights “transporting him far into the future” trying to reach hyperspace so they can all get home. But with each flight, he missed out on four years of life on the planet, while he only lost a few minutes. He’s accompanied on the flights by Sox (voiced by Peter Sohn), who’s gifted to him by his best friend a black lesbian, Commander Alisha Hawthorne (voiced by actress Uzo Aduba).
Not only does the film feel flat – it has a litany of plot holes. First, the characters speak of “home” but the movie hardly ever explains where “home” is. They were all on what is described as an “exploration ship” headed to somewhere. Was it because their planet was dead? It is never explained.
Another plot hole in the film is the supposed friendship between Buzz and Hawthorne. The movie starts out trying to tell the audience about this deep friendship but it never establishes their bond. Instead, the writers seem more focused on pointing out all the things Buzz missed in his dear friend’s life which happens in a blink of an eye and includes her getting engaged (to a female), married, getting pregnant, and raising a son as a lesbian couple.
There’s a scene where Hawthorne shows Buzz she is pregnant. Then there is the part of the film that’s made headlines: In the second shot, we see Alisha kissing her wife. This simply does not need to be in a kids’ film. There are plenty of children’s movies that avoid showing heterosexual couples kissing, let alone a gay kiss. It seems gratuitous, for lack of a better word. It is clear both scenes were included to push Disney’s ‘not-at-all-secret-gay agenda.’
And there doesn’t seem to be a reason for it. Some might say it’s there to explain how Hawthorne’s granddaughter, Izzy (voiced by actress Keke Palmer) fits into the story. But I would counter that it’s a children’s film and the writers could have just added a line having Izzy explain, “Commander Hawthorne was my grandmother.”
(SPOILERS) Eventually, Buzz arrives back on the marooned planet to find his dear friend Hawthorne has died and then finds out that evil robots controlled by Emperor Zurg (voiced by James Brolin) have taken over.
This brings us to yet another plot hole. In “Toy Story” we learn that Buzz’s arch enemy is his father, a fun tribute to “Star Wars” fans. But in “Lightyear” Zurg is Buzz from another future. Um, what? Buzz ends up teaming up with Izzy and a random volunteer team of “self-motivated cadets” to defeat Zurg and his evil robots.
My kids are teens now, so the violence really didn’t bother us as much as it did parents with younger kids who noted as much on the movie review site. But for a kids film, it does include some intense scenes, especially at the beginning with giant bugs that Buzz and Hawthorne have to slice in half to stop, splattering their insides everywhere.
While some may think the reason parents chose not to take their kids to see “Lightyear” was because of its gay push, the real reason may be as simple as this: it’s just not that good.
As one reviewer with the Washington Examiner noted, possibly Lightyear’s “greater sin is its underlying message: The collective is stronger than the individual; you can’t accomplish anything alone, so don’t even bother trying.” This is not a message many parents would want to send their kids away with when watching a movie together.
(Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids’ entertainment content.)