Chris Evans' Lightyear is Pixar's most divisive movie yet
Who'da thought it: a Toy Story spin-off exploring the backstory of the real-life, still weirdly proportioned Buzz Lightyear, the series' heroic protagonist voiced by the not-so-heroic Tim Allen, has stirred up some strong feelings among critics. While some are praising the animated origin story of Pixar's most famous character (sorry, Woody), other reviews are arguing Lightyear – out in UK cinemas on Friday with Allen swapped out for Chris Evans – is an atypical disaster of intergalactic magnitude.
Here's the deal. Not A Toy, Actually A Real Bloke Buzz is a young astronaut marooned away from terra nova, chipping away at the rocks of a hostile planet, trying to find a way home for him and his crew. He has a robotic cat companion, Sox, the Jar Jar Binks designed to sell plushies and animatronic figures — just cute enough not to make you want to bash it over the noggin with a space wrench. Maybe this Buzz isn't a kids' plastic figure that drops to the floor inanimate whenever humans are around, but for all intents and purposes, the likeness is the same… right up to those mesmerising, gigantic jowls.
“This is a funny spinoff with suspense and heart, a captivatingly spirited toon take on splashy live-action retro popcorn entertainment,” writes The Hollywood Reporter's chief film critic, David Rooney. “The title character is given splendid voice by Chris Evans, balancing heroism and human fallibility with infectious warmth.” Well, that's certainly everything you'd want out of a leading (star)man. “As far as spin-offs go, Lightyear is a lot of fun,” concurs Odie Henderson of RogerEbert.com. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian was too a fan: “The film just bounces along, zipping through its running time,” he writes. Again… one hundred and ten minutes.