Welcome, World Travelers! Do Not Watch Lightyear. It’s Boring!
by James Coulter
What’s the worst type of movie to talk about? Surprisingly, it’s not bad movies. At least you can discuss why bad movies are bad. Sometimes, they’re so bad they’re good, and you can ridicule how absurdly bad they are. No. The worst type of movies are mediocre movies. Those movies are neither good or bad. They have absolutley nothing to say about them because nothing significant happens in them. That’s why they are the worst!
Lightyear is a mediocre movie. It is neither good nor bad. Rather, it is bland, uninspiring, and forgettable. As I write this review, it has been less than an hour since I watched the film in theaters, and I am struggling to recall anything specific about it to discuss. I am currently restraining myself from typing out the sentence, “Lightyear is boring, don’t see it!” over and over again like Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining. That’s how unremarkable this movie is.
Remember in the Toy Story movies how Buzz Lightyear was a toy based off of a space ranger character whose mission was to help Star Command defend the Galactic Alliance from the Evil Emperor Zurg? This movie is not about that character. Rather, it is a re-imagining of him. That’s fine. Problem is, this movie sells itself as being the film that Toy Story‘s Buzz Lightyear was based upon. It even says at the very beginning that Andy watched this movie back in 1995.
That’s a lie! The Buzz Lightyear character in this movie acts nothing like the toy from the Toy Story film. Lightyear looks like nothing that would have been shown in 1995. Even ignoring the enhanced computer graphics, the tone feels very much like a contemporary movie. These are two different versions of Buzz Lightyear. They are nothing alike. Which is fine. But the movie should not have marketed itself as being the one that Buzz Lightyear was based upon.
In this movie, Lightyear and his partner crash land on a remote planet. They and their team now have to mine the planet’s resources and create fuel for their ship. Buzz tries to test the fuel with a smaller ship but fails every time. Worse, because he is traveling at near light speed, time slows down for him so that four years pass when he returns to the planet. After several failed test flights, nearly 50 years have passed and his partner has passed away. Now he must work with her granddaughter and a rag tag team to complete their mission. Oh, and Zurg is also there!
This movie is boring. I have not much to say about it. The humor is unfunny. Every attempt at a joke falls flat. (The closest thing to a “funny” joke is a conversation about a sandwich made with bread between two slices of meat. Even that’s stretching the concept of a “joke”!) The action scenes carry no emotional weight. The characters other than Buzz Lightyear are bland archetypes with stock personalities. Even Buzz himself is lifeless and boring. Gone is the charismatic space ranger with an over-the-top personality. Instead, we have a bland cardboard cutout of a copy that feels more lifeless than an actual plastic toy.
The only thing spectacular or noteworthy about the movie is the third act twist, which is so absurdly dumb that, even though I don’t care about spoiling this mediocre mess of a movie, I don’t want to bother explaining. Let’s just say that Emperor Zurg turns out to be a surprise twist villian and, well, Buzz has met the enemy and it is him. (It’s as dumb as you think it is!)
As I write this review, Lightyear has been in theaters for one week, and it has flopped hard at the box office. Some people are blaming the movie’s poor performance allegedly on Disney’s “woke” agenda. Some say it’s because there’s a same-sex couple who share an on-screen kiss together. Others say it’s because Buzz’s original voice actor, Tim Allen, was replaced because of his “conservative” political views. No. This movie did not fail because it’s pushing a “gay” agenda, nor because Tim Allen was “cancelled” (despite getting his own made-for-streaming series on Disney Plus). No. This movie is bad because it is boring!
In short, do not watch this movie. Do not watch it in theaters. The only people who will like it are little kids who love Toy Story and who will be easily distracted by its wacky “shenanigans” and bright, flashing lights. Even then, do not take them to the theaters to watch this. Wait until it releases on Disney Plus or it becomes available to rent on DVD. If you must visit the cinema, watch a matinee showing. This movie is not worth the full price of admission. Needless to say, it does not go to infinity and beyond!