Opening 16 Jun 2022
Writing credits: Angus MacLane, Matthew Aldrich, Jason Headley, John Lasseter, Pete Docter
Principal actors: Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules
Billed as Andy’s favorite movie, starring his beloved action figure Buzz Lightyear, this film is not really part of the Toy Story franchise, but the back story to one of the familiar characters. Buzz (Chris Evans) and his best friend and comrade, Alisha (Uzo Adube), are on a mission and the ship and crew end up stranded on a foreign planet. Buzz is determined to make things right to get off the planet, but each attempt results in him losing 4 years of time. Buzz stays the same, but life goes on for those living on the planet. Ultimately Buzz is successful with the help of a ragtag group of recruits from the future, including Alisha’s granddaughter Izzy (Keke Palmer).
Kudos to Pixar for including some commendable themes: racial and gender inclusivity; the pursuit of a goal in spite of failure; and the value of finding meaning when life throws a wrench in your plans. However, the many themes make for a somewhat messy film and probably most of them won’t make much of an impression of young viewers. In the end, what you have is a typical action film with a renegade lone-wolf hero who goes by his own rules and whose rash decisions leave a mess behind for others to clean-up. The repetitive process Buzz takes to correct his mistake becomes somewhat tedious in terms of action and, to his credit, he realizes what he’s lost in his time travel adventure and chooses the value of relationships over the annihilation that his future self wants. The action will appeal to young viewers, but the movie lacks the commraderie and heart of the Toy Story movies. (Anne Crocker)