The new LIGHTYEAR isn’t quite “to infinity and beyond,” yet it does stay safely within this galaxy’s orbit, creating an enjoyable STAR TREK episode-like ride. 

Pixar has recently developed a pattern with its films. They do a risky movie, followed by a safe one. Just check out the last few flicks in order of release:

  •  ONWARD (safe)
  • SOUL (risk)
  • LUCA (safe)
  • TURNING RED (risk)
  • LIGHTYEAR (safe)

That said, LIGHTYEAR might be the safest Pixar film over the last two years. 

For those worried that it’s a cash grab (looking at you, OBI-WAN), it’s not. Instead, it’s more heartfelt than it deserves to be and has a solid theme of teamwork/inclusion at the center of it. 

So what keeps this good, not great film from soaring out of this world? It’s due to the main plot keeping it stuck on one planet for the entirety. I get why the creators decided to do this, but Buzz has a missed opportunity to explore other planets.

While LIGHTYEAR’s plot (which I just realized could be a brilliant play on words based on the time mechanic in this movie 🤯 ) is a bit simple, the actual framing is full of heart. From an opening that is dark AF and surrounded by failure to a montage that rivals UP, this is Pixar at its best. Where it doesn’t soar is in the second and third acts. I could’ve done with a bit fewer fetch quest missions that are repeated until the very safe conclusion. 

I find it “safe” to say that I would gladly pack a “meat sandwich” and travel to “infinity and beyond” in any additional spinoffs featuring our favorite characters from TOY STORY.

LIGHTYEAR is available in theatres.

Aaron "Dobler" Goldstein

Aaron Goldstein is a Product Manager by day, ludicrous speed content consumer by night. He’s a LA Film School Alumni and TV Academy / Producers Guild of America member. Aaron is a proud parent and dad joke enthusiast.

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