Updated: Jul 1
Pixar for years have always gone to ‘infinity and beyond’ when it comes to raising the animation bar – starting their journey with 1995’s Toy Story.
But sadly, this spin-off to their iconic franchise – that put them groundbreakingly on the cinematic world stage – is a surprisingly uneventful paint-by-numbers affair.
It’s okay, but just well, lacks that colourful invention, spark, energy and excitement that usually goes hand in hand with arguably Disney/Pixar’s most legendary toy – that is Buzz Lightyear.
And sadly, this time Chris ‘Captain America’ Evans has taken over voice duties from Tim Allen, for this movie based on the character that made the toy famous – and that doesn’t quite come off the same either.
Buzz, a space ranger in Star Command, and his best friend Alisha (Uzo Aduba) get marooned on a hostile planet – along with a terraforming exploration space vessel housing hundreds of human astronauts. The only problem is Buzz blames himself after damaging the vessel, and then spends the next year testing a hyperspace-fuelled rocket in an attempt to discover a way of getting him and the colonists off this inhospitable ‘rock’ known as T’Kani Prime.
But the only problem is every time he tries this four-minute test (and comes up short) he finds four years have passed on the planet, and eventually 62 years have flown by – and his friends are starting to get old.
And against the orders of a new commanding officer, Buzz discovers a new fuel composition for one final test, but upon landing once again another 22 years has passed and the planet has been invaded by Emperor Zurg and his Zyclops robots.
But with the help of Alisha’s enthusiastic grand-daughter Izzy (Keke Palmer), the hapless Mo (Thor director Taika Waititi), geriatric Darby (Dale Soules) and trusty robotic companion Sox (Peter Sohn) – Buzz looks to destroy the invading force and save the ageing colony with his rookie team.
The only problem is this all comes together in such a predictable and uninspiring fashion – this would have been more at home as a straight-to-streaming Pixar TV film special on Disney Plus.
There’s some nice trademark ‘Buzz’ moments – with his relationship with old friend Alisha being a nice stand-out sub-plot – and it’s all harmless and generally passable fare. Just very meh. With little ‘replay’ value.
Arguably a ‘western-style’ back story for Woody probably would have gone down better – as this easily ends up at the lower end of Pixar’s film library with the likes of Cars 2.
Which leaves this as a rare underwhelming misfire for the famed animation studio, who usually don’t just knock it out of the park – but into the stratosphere.
This never really takes off at all.
ESP Rating: 2.5/5
Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now
Voice Cast: Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, Bill Hader, Uzo Aduba & James Brolin
Running Time: 1 Hr 45 Mins
Director: Angus Maclane
Go to www.showcasecinemas.co.uk for all the latest film information & showtimes at Peterborough’s Showcase Cinema De Lux.