‘Lightyear’ Review: A Nostaglic Masterpiece for a New Generation

Buzz Lightyear

Growing up in the 90s, 1995’s Toy Story was a staple for me. It was the first film from Pixar. And it was a completely new style of animation. I was 12 when the film came out, and I still remember the sense of wonderment I felt watching it for the first time. 

Nearly 30 years later, it’s nostalgic to see this tale on the big screen. I’ve loved all the Toy Story films, especially the last one, which I felt really strongly about.

Lightyear brings us the origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the hero who inspired the toy that we all fell in love with in Disney Pixar’s Toy Story films. The film follows Buzz after he’s marooned on a hostile planet 4.2 million light-years from Earth alongside his commander and their crew.

As Buzz tries to find a way back home through space and time, he’s joined by a group of ambitious recruits and his charming robot companion cat, Sox. Complicating matters and threatening the mission is the arrival of Zurg, an imposing presence with an army of ruthless robots and a mysterious agenda.

Lightyear Trailer

Lightyear Review: What I Did and Didn’t Like

There’s not a single thing I didn’t like about this film. So this section is going to be overwhelming positive. 

With a run time of 1 hour and 45 minutes, Pixar manages to create an engrossing story that will capture the attention (and hearts) of all audiences, regardless of age. Delivering beautiful animation, perfectly timed humor, sidekicks that will be all the rage come Christmas (looking at you Sox), and a subtle but powerful message, Lightyear wraps everything up with a nice bow on top. 

What’s extra cool about this story? It’s the same film that Andy saw that made him become a fan of Buzz in 1995’s Toy Story. Now that’s just some cool world-building.


Not to say it can’t be done, but it’s hard for an animated film to bring something to the table for all ages. We tend to just write off animated movies geared at younger audiences as kid movies. But having grown up with the Toy Story franchise, Pixar manages to honor that 30 year journey, yet still bring something new to the table. I don’t know how they do it and keep doing it with their films. But I’ll keep showing up for them.

Movies in this genre can tend to feel heavy-handed with messages geared at kids. Lightyear does a good job at doing it subtly, and they’re smart about it. So you’re not rolling your eyes every time it’s clear that Buzz needs to learn how to trust others and that it’s okay to make mistakes. The film assumes that its audience is smart, which is a nice change from another movie I saw two days before this one.

The overall story is entertaining, the dialogue flows naturally between the characters, and the overall character development is insanely impressive. The best new character to enter the Disney-verse? Sox. He’s beyond adorable, and every kid is going to want to bring him home.


I also immensely appreciate some of the surprises in the film. I won’t go into detail, as I like to do spoiler-free reviews. But when a film like this and franchise that is nearly 30 years old can still surprise me. It’s just damn good writing.


It’s Pixar. What more do you need to say? With every Pixar film, the animation style just gets better and better. Colors are more vibrant, textures look more real, and yet they keep the character design in such a fun style that it avoids any “uncanny valley” weirdness.

Lightyear is no exception. It’s a visually stunning film.

Lightyear Review: Overall Thoughts

Lightyear delivers a fun sci-fi adventure that will pull you no matter your age. It pulls at your heart strings, makes you laugh, introduces you to new characters that you’ll love forever, and it honors the franchise in truly beautiful way.

Oh, and don’t forget to stay until the VERY end. There is a post-credit scene that you won’t want to miss!

But the real question that fans are going to walk away from this one with…. When is Sox getting his own Disney+ series? Because it needs to happen.

Lightyear Review:

Grade: A+


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  1. Yes! Great review and I cannot wait to see this one. I had the opportunity to see a preview last night but could not make it and was so disappointed. However, this is a must watch so I will be seeing it soon!