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This movie is Lightyears behind what made Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command so special.
Genre: Comedy
Directed By: Angus MacLane
Produced By: Galyn Susman
Written By/Screenplay: Angus MacLane
Matthew Aldrich
Jason Headley
Starring: Chris Evans
Keke Palmer
Peter Sohn
Taika Waititi
Dale Soules
James Brolin
Uzo Aduba
Cinematography: Jeremy Lasky (camera)
Ian Megibben (lighting)
Distributed By: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release Date: June 8, 2022 (El Capitan Theatre)
June 17, 2022 (United States)
Runtime: 105 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $200 million
Box Office: $225.9 million
Franchise: Toy Story
Prequel: Toy Story 4 (by release date)
Sequel: Toy Story 5 (by release date, and the confirmation of existence of that movie)

"You are a sad, strange little movie. And you have my pity."

James (Schaffrillas)' official Letterboxd review.

"This isn't the movie Andy saw. This was the reboot movie Andy goes to with his son to recapture his childhood. The Buzz Lightyear of Star Command cartoon was what he watched as a kiddo."


"My biggest problem with this movie is the fact that it’s SOOO human-centric. Where are the aliens? Where is Star Command? Where is this Galactic Alliance? It’s crazy because they had an amazing template with Buzz Lightyear of Star Command!"

Juan Escobar Rojas

Lightyear is a 2022 American computer-animated science fiction action-adventure film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios, and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film is a spin-off of the Toy Story film series, and the fifth overall installment in the franchise. It features the character Buzz Lightyear, but it does not take place within the same fictional universe as the main Toy Story films, where Buzz Lightyear is a plastic toy; instead, it is billed as a film of the characters within the central Toy Story universe have watched, in which Lightyear is a human "space ranger". It was directed by Angus MacLane in his directorial debut and produced by Galyn Susman, and stars Chris Evans as the voice of the titular character, with Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, James Brolin, and Uzo Aduba in supporting roles. Despite having a cult following and receiving generally positive reviews (including a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes), the movie is still very flawed.


Legendary space ranger Buzz Lightyear embarks on an intergalactic adventure alongside ambitious recruits Izzy, Mo, Darby, and his robot companion, Sox. As this motley crew tackles their toughest mission yet, they must learn to work together as a team to escape the evil Zurg and his dutiful robot army that is never far behind.

Bad Qualities

  1. Despite the film flat-out saying that this is what inspired Andy to get into Buzz Lightyear (to the point of there being concept art of Andy watching the movie with the toys he brought) there isn't that much personality, believability, or charm that'd make any sense for Andy to love Buzz so much in the first place with a few exceptions, especially since there is no clever scene of Andy making a cameo in the film where he watches the movie or anything like that. There is art in the movie with Andy and his toys watching the movie.
    • On that topic, Angus MacLane claimed that this movie would be made in either the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, in the veins of Star Wars, Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey. This shockingly doesn't make a lick of sense since the movie does not feel or have the definitive style of any such movie made around that time. Instead, it feels and looks more like something made around this current period.
      • There are a few scenes that feature a same-sex relationship and kiss between Alisha Hawthorne and her wife, Kiko. This is sort of contradicting MacLane's statement of when the movie would've been made, as homosexual relationships weren't that relevant (and were frowned upon during the 1970s and 80s due to the AIDS crisis) until the 2010s, further supporting the fact that this film feels more like it was made a couple of years ago rather than decades.
    • To take this a step further, even films like Galaxy Quest (which also starred Tim Allen as Jason Nesmith), and Spaceballs managed to capture the original's personality and charm by presenting an original story, and having their sense of charm. Still, this one comes across as having a generic story with nothing worth of interest, aside from a few exceptions.
    • Aside from Disney's financial benefits, this raises the question: if this movie is what inspired the toy Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story films, then why do we only see toys based on Buzz and Zurg, especially since characters like Sox would practically fly off the shelves? According to Angus MacLane, the reason why Andy didn't have a Sox toy is because his mother couldn't get him one, they were sold out and were too expensive.
  2. Another main problem of this film is how incredibly surprisingly generic it is compared to most other Pixar films. All it is just another run-of-the-mill space adventure film with Buzz Lightyear skinned onto it for profit. Anyone could replace Buzz and Zurg with different characters and nothing would change, considering the lack of Toy Story elements. Sound familiar?
  3. Executive meddling: After finishing work on Finding Dory, MacLane, who directed the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command opening sequences, pitched the idea of making a film about Buzz Lightyear, evoking the science fiction films he grew up watching with the animators giving the film a "cinematic" and "chunky" look to do so. Despite the ideas and ambitions MacLane had, however, in an interview with Angus MacLane said that after the showcase, he and the other staff from Pixar forgot about the continuity of Buzz Lightyear while they were making and producing the movie due to it being rushed and somewhat money-driven (i.e. the 2000 direct-to-video spin-off movie Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins and the TV spin-off series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command). This does explain why the movie has plenty of flaws, to begin with.
  4. Stunt casting: Even though Chris Evans does a good job voicing Buzz, it feels more like Pixar replaced Tim Allen with Evans due to the latter's high popularity as Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  5. While most of the characters are tolerable, there are some characters (with some exceptions) that are one-noted, clichéd, one-dimensional, or just unfunny.
    • The worst example is Mo Morrison, whose levels of cowardice, foolishness, and clumsiness practically never get a laugh, especially for how overdone his jokes are relating to his little pen and for improperly using a metallic bow and arrow.
    • Buzz, while likable, can be a bit unlikable at rookies at times. Of course, this can be justified since this is a prequel film and most heroes don't get their good qualities right away.
    • Darby Steel is a clichéd surly old firecracker who loves explosions and acts snarky due to her resourcefulness and sarcasm.
    • Zurg, before his merely confusing and ridiculous reveal, is a boring and generic villain. Instead of being an intimidating and badass villain with a malicious streak, he is depicted as belligerent and emotionless, chasing after Buzz with almost no lines of dialogue but still failing to get Buzz to do what he wants him to comply with due to being very incompetent. He also doesn’t have an outstanding personality, and it doesn't distinguish him from the Zyclops he sends to chase after Buzz, who pose more of a threat than Zurg surprisingly enough.
  6. This movie makes too many Buzz Lightyear references from the first Toy Story as a form of nostalgia pandering. While some of them are great to hear at first, Buzz reiterating them so much can be quite irritating a lot of the time.
    • Somehow, the spacesuit Buzz Lightyear is well-remembered for isn't represented correctly. The film gets rid of the laser beam with a built-in laser blaster and the wings are nowhere to be seen until Buzz uses it in space (which is almost at the end of the movie). The replacements we have now are slasher blades, a camouflaging ability to use as Stealth Mode (which is ripped right out of Halo), and an inflatable red ball as the "surrender button", though he does get his iconic suit with all the gizmos mentioned at the end of the movie.
    • Sometimes the movie makes fun of Buzz's iconic lines as seen in the movie's introduction with Alisha Hawthorne mocking Buzz for his narration verbally and playing a music track that pokes fun at heartfelt speeches. That feels a little down-putting to most Buzz Lightyear fans.
    • The most iconic and legendary quote of fiction: "To Infinity & Beyond", is overused way too much and is also done in an extremely lame fashion because of how this line is reused so much.
    • To show exactly how much these lines are repeated, in the scene right before Buzz uses his laser gun to explode the crystal Zurg took from him, he says, "Not today, Zurg!", a clear reference to the intro of Toy Story 2. However, near the beginning of the movie, when Buzz fails at his first attempt at reaching hyperspeed and IVAN asks for his last words, he says, "Not today, IVAN!". See what we mean?
  7. While the soundtrack isn’t that bad, it can be bland, uninspired, and unfitting for the scene selected most of the time.
    • "Afternoon Delight Speed" rips some notes from Incredibles 2's "Consider Yourselves Undermined".
  8. The film's story and writing are disorganized and all over the place.
    • Buzz made a life-ruining mistake of wanting to finish the mission of going through the hoops in space to find his way home after marooning everyone on a planet, but as the process is told, Buzz gets older by day while everyone else gets older by year, so this process leads to Alisha eventually dying and everyone gets invaded by Zurg. For whatever reason, Buzz still wanted to continue with the mission despite knowing the process, nobody is remotely angry or upset at Buzz for his behavior and his single-minded mistakes.
    • Despite Izzy Hawthorne being a space ranger, she's scared of space. This is baffling since she wants to be like her grandmother, Alisha Hawthorne, who was also a space ranger.
    • Darby's methods for blowing things up are pretty insane, irrational, and cheap. From saying that she can take three any objects and make them explode (which literally cannot work unless she has, well, explosive material), to the point of using a rocket launcher in the spaceship Buzz was driving to blow away Zurgbots, she remarks how satisfying it is, and is completely unaware of what could've happened to the spaceship if the situation was mishandled.
  9. Extremely Confusing Plot Twist: Instead of Zurg being Buzz's father as depicted in Toy Story 2 or possibly being a rookie who's been mistreated by Buzz over time and wanting vengeance, he's revealed to be an older version of Buzz from an alternative time paradox. This downright baffling part of the story that introduces the concept of time travel of all things, actually ruins the film's story for how nonsensical this idea is.
    • It especially doesn't make any sense how or why Buzz himself, would turn into a cat-destroying psychopath with a single-minded goal if Buzz, in his younger days, already knows that he made a huge mistake with marooning Star Command and wants to fix it, and because of this reveal, it doesn't make any sense for how or why the Zurg bots even exist in Buzz's regular timeline if Buzz was also Zurg this whole time. Especially since it has been known that the Zurg robots and everyone else can only say the name Zurg since Buzz is supposedly a hard name to say (no, we are not even joking about this!).
    • Somehow, this shows how Buzz became uncharacteristically evil as he was then revealed to be what Zurg is and is so single-minded about fixing what Buzz started in the first place to the point he doesn't know when to quit, even after this version of himself is willing to wipe out the universe to get back to the future, which is so stupid and senseless, the younger Buzz already sees the flaws in what he's doing. This makes him out to have another evil clone after there were already many other iterations of Buzz Lightyear having an evil clone of himself in past media, except THIS version shows how Buzz became even stupider than ever before, therefore making this one of (if not the worst) Disney twist-villain(s) ever conceived.
    • This has angered many viewers watching the movie, making them easily realize that this plot twist was ripped directly from The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part or even the Operation Timeguard storyline in Cookie Run: OvenBreak as well as the plot twist of the first Infamous game, where Rex Dangervest was a grown-up, evil version of Emmet the whole time, Timekeeper Cookie being an evil version of Croissant Cookie the whole time and Kessler turned out to be future Cole Mcgrath who made cole into a superhuman to destroy the world-destroying Beast, which is carried blatantly into Zurg.
    • And yes, Zurg being Buzz's father is a subtle reference to Darth Vader's iconic line "I am your father" from The Empire Strikes Back, but still; audiences concluded that Zurg was actually Buzz's father as Zurg was meant to be based on Darth Vader.
      • In fact, Angus MacLane originally intended for Zurg to be Buzz's father, but it was changed by the staff as that twist was too predictable. But it still doesn't make any sense for the reasons discussed above.
  10. The humor is very hit-or-miss. Some jokes either land or miss by a long shot.
    • For example, in the scene where Buzz Lightyear quotes the "Infinity and Beyond" line while reaching for Izzy Hawthorne for both fingers to collide, she then looks at Buzz in confusion and assumed that Buzz was making a childish fart joke with the act of finger-pulling, which comes off incredibly unfunny.
  11. Wasted potential: Due to how this movie presents itself as a straightforward sci-fi "movie-within-a-movie", it doesn't feel like it belongs in the Toy Story universe compared to how it could've been viewed at first glance, especially due to the many radical changes that make it stand out from Toy Story and it doesn't feel special as a movie based on… well, Buzz Lightyear, like how Buzz was depicted as a "larger than life" space ranger when this film gives him a little personality to work with. It also feels like an animated and underdeveloped version of Interstellar, with time dilation (i.e. time being affected by gravity) even being used for dramatic effect.
  12. Sequel baiting: After both the credits and the closing logos, Zurg is seen floating through space. His eyes then light red, indicating that he survived the ship’s self-destruction.
    • However, due to the film's poor box office performance and low Disney+ viewership, a sequel will most likely not happen.
  13. Inconsistent direction and execution by Angus MacLane. Despite the movie having a fair level of logic regardless of idiocy, and aside from the movie's concept and the infamously bad plot twist the movie has, the movie tends to provide once too many "jokes" (and sometimes ridiculous scenes) that make it hard to tell what to genuinely take seriously or what is played for laughs.
    • Where the environment Buzz & Star Command were marooned on supposedly has fairly intimidating environments like a gloomy setting with the location being filled with huge bugs and vicious vines, but the bugs are treated as brainless & bumbling, and the vines pull people away are either treated like a threat or are treated like it doesn't matter since it was played for laughs sometimes. Stuff like this makes the comedy and the drama very inconsistent and all over the place.
    • The biggest example was the "tear-jerking" moment of Sox nearly dying. When Mo and Darby are talking about how great the meat-bread-meat sandwiches were on their planet, Mo clumsily knocks down an object that falls onto Sox, damaging him and concerning everyone as if they killed a real-life animal. The following scene is played way too seriously, and as a result, it comes off as either laughable, groan-worthy, or pathetically desperate to make an emotional moment.
  14. When Sox reboots after nearly dying, he makes the dial-up sound, which is nothing more than yet more anachronism for the supposed 1980s setting, since the Internet didn't exist until the 90s (though it could have been added for nostalgia). Not to mention, given the futuristic setting of the movie, why on earth would a robot use such outdated software is beyond us.
  15. The galaxy/world feels a lot smaller because normally, you likely expect a Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story story to take place on many planets. The movie takes place on only one. Compared to Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins, the galaxy feels a lot emptier, and the stakes are not as high. Buzz Lightyear is supposed to be about protecting the Galaxy, but we don't see any of that in this movie. The only alien/non-human characters we see on-screen are the generic oversized bugs, robots, and plant vines. In the show and the aforementioned spin-off movie, there were alien members of the Space Rangers, but here, every single Space Ranger is human.
  16. The film's poor performance caused Disney to lay off a majority of Pixar's workforce including director MacLane and producer Galyn Susman in 2023 ending their tenures at Pixar for good.

Good Qualities

  1. As expected, the visuals and animation for this movie are fantastic, stellar, polished, detailed, and colorful, which all fit its serious-driven and cosmic vibe and is an amazing step up.
    • In fact, it's almost comparable to that of a live-action film and makes the setting realistic enough.
  2. The voice acting is tremendous and, despite not being as great as Tim Allen, Chris Evans does a good job as Buzz Lightyear, putting his spin on the character and not just an imitation of Allen.
  3. It has plenty of hilarious moments here and there. Sox himself provides the biggest highlights of the film's well-executed comedy.
  4. The action scenes are passable and well-paced.
  5. Despite it being grating sometimes, there are many references to Buzz's lines from Toy Story that viewers can find satisfying to hear done by Chris Evans.
  6. The shots are very well-composed and especially look great in IMAX.
    • Speaking of IMAX, this is the very first animated film to be filmed in a 1.43:1 aspect ratio, which is impressive, and hopefully sets a start for more IMAX-filmed animated movies in the future.
  7. Even though most of the characters are very flawed, one-note, flat, and clichéd, there are also some passable and likable characters here and there.
    • Buzz is still a likable and decent protagonist for the most part. And despite all of his flaws, He still does his best to help Space Command find their way home in an individualistic and experimental way and he does get more used to rookies in the end.
    • Sox is very much a fan-favorite by many audiences and critics, he was often praised and beloved when the film was released for his comedic and witty personality as a cute comic relief.
    • Izzy Hawthorne and her grandmother, Alisha Hawthorne, are likable and good-hearted people.
    • Star Command has some good-hearted members who are mostly scientists trying to navigate their way home.
    • As mentioned above in BQ#6, most of the side characters are tolerable.
  8. The score from Michael Giacchino can be great at times, despite being bland and uninspired most of the time, and is admittedly catchy.
    • "Mission Perpetual", in particular, is a great music choice for the montage of Alisha and the other Star Command members aging as Buzz fails at reaching hyper speed.
  9. Speaking of the montage, despite it not being as tear-jerking or legendary as Up's montage was, it's still very sad, and is one of the main highlights of the movie.
  10. The posters, trailers, and marketing look cool.
  11. The concept of a Buzz Lightyear theatrical spin-off movie is great, despite being averagely executed for the previously discussed reasons.
  12. Some people may enjoy the movie, despite its flaws.


  • The opening of the movie became an internet meme due to its infamous absurdity.
  • This is the second Pixar movie to be released in theaters in the 2020s decade with the first being Onward, which was released a week before the movie theaters closed on March 13, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this reason, Soul (2020), Luca (2021), and Turning Red (despite releasing the same year as this article's said movie title) skipped their theatrical releases and moved to Disney+. This movie also marks Pixar's return to theaters after the previously mentioned Pixar movies got the Disney+ dumping treatment.
  • The film is considered to be Pixar's third box-office bomb, having grossed $225 million worldwide against a $200 million production budget.
  • The ship's internal voice-activated navigator (IVAN), the equivalent of a GPS, acts like a real-world, misbehaving GPS. Ironically, it's voiced by Mary McDonald-Lewis, who's also the voice of OnStar's navigation system.
  • The oxygen tanks in the movie are screaming canisters used in Monsters, Inc. to save the scares and laughs of children.
  • The Space Ranger suit that Darby wears throughout the film reads "Tempus". This is a reference to "Tempus from Morph", one of the names being considered for Buzz Lightyear early in the development of the original Toy Story (1995). The "Tempus from Morph" name was used in the 1992 test footage for that film.
  • On Buzz's ship, there's a piece of technology that gives him trouble. He pops out the unit, blows into it to clear out the dust, and sticks it back in, after which it miraculously works. This is similar to a widely used technique for the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) when game cartridges failed to load properly (However, Nintendo at the time warned against it, and many game experts since then have debunked the practice as an urban legend. Blowing on the cartridge tended to make the problem worse by corroding the copper pins, making it harder for the NES connector pins to make a clean connection).
  • The scene with the same-sex kiss between Alisha Hawthorne and her wife, Kiko was originally cut out of the film, but it was re-inserted as a means to protest Florida's House Bill 1557 (otherwise known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill by critics and detractors). As a result, the film would be banned in the Arab world (including Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates), as well as in Malaysia and Kazakhstan. The scene also resulted in the film being allowed only for people above 16 years of age in Singapore.
  • Taika Waititi voices a character named Mo Morrison. This is a nod to Waititi's fellow New Zealand actor, Temuera Morrison, best known internationally for playing the role of Jango Fett in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and several more recent spin-off television series.
  • James Brolin admitted that he had never seen any of the previous Toy Story movies so nothing about any of the characters in this film. He said he agreed to voice Zurg purely because '...the Pixar guys have good judgment'.
  • The film deliberately borrows plot points and imagery as nods to several classic science fiction films and TV series, notably the original Star Wars trilogy (1977-1983), Alien (1979), Star Trek (2009), Lost in Space (1998), Flash Gordon (1980), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), 2010; The Year We Make Contact (1984), The Black Hole (1979), Silent Running (1972), Babylon 5 (1993-1998), Lost in Space (1965-1968), Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979), Flash Gordon (1954-1955; 2007-2008), Buck Rogers In The 25th Century (1979-1981), and even the original Thunderbirds (1965-1966) television series as well as the Transformers and Planet Of The Apes franchises.
  • James Brolin, who voices Zurg is the father of Josh Brolin who played Thanos in Marvel Cinematic Universe films, and Chris Evans, who voices Buzz Lightyear, played Captain America in the same franchise.
  • When actress Patricia Heaton criticized Pixar for casting Chris Evans instead of Tim Allen, several outlets claimed that Allen was let go from Disney due to the actor's conservative beliefs and that Evans would permanently voice Buzz in all future projects. However, in truth, Allen working on a sequel series to The Santa Clause with Disney at the time of Lightyear's premiere, and director Angus MacLane had stated that Evans was chosen as Buzz because he wanted the film's Buzz to differentiate himself from the Toy Story Buzz. Plus, Allen himself was fine with the recasting, and even encouraged his followers on social media to give Evans (who himself gave heavy praise to Allen's original performance) a chance in the role.
  • Sox makes the AOL/MSN/Compuserve/Prodigy Dial-up sound when he reboots after nearly dying. (as mentioned in BQ #15)
  • E.R.I.C. is renamed D/E.R.I.C. The D probably stands for Decommissioned.
  • Wade from the Elemental film makes a cameo in the film where he can be seen as a mascot for a brand of water called Wade Water.


Critical response

The film received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics, and it’s currently the lowest-rated movie in the Toy Story franchise, and has been criticized for its messy plot, underwhelming twist-villain, lack of emotion when compared to the other Toy Story installments, forced nostalgia moments, and lack of ambition. Some audiences at the theater revolted when the movie came out as a matter of fact.

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 75% of 304 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The website's consensus reads, "Lightyear settles for being a rather conventional origin story instead of reaching for the stars, but this gorgeously animated adventure ably accomplishes its mission of straightforward fun." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 60 out of 100, based on 57 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

It had plenty of review-bombs. These range from trivial reasons like the film having a quick scene with two LGBT characters to much more valid reasons like how it was written and presented differently from the original Toy Story trilogy, having several instances of nostalgia pandering, having once too many major plot holes & many mistakes that went into the writing were reasons for why it got plenty of critical backlashes after it was released. It also got review-bombed due to Chris Evans voicing Buzz instead of Tim Allen and how the director for this movie, Angus MacLane, made a baffling relation to it being a film Andy saw in the 70s-90s when he also disregarded the continuity of Buzz Lightyear's spin-off Star Command, a show he directed the opening of, Making that statement a notable issue of the movie's concept and its mere existence. However, Allen said the film has nothing to do with the toy Buzz Lightyear whatsoever.

Box office

As of August 14, 2022, Lightyear has grossed $118.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $107.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $225.9 million.

In the United States and Canada, Lightyear was originally projected to gross $70–85 million from 4,255 theaters in its opening weekend, with some estimates reaching as high as $105 million. However, after making just $20.7 million on its first day (including $5.2 million from Thursday night previews), estimates were lowered to $51–55 million. It went on to debut at $50.6 million.

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