"To infinity and… is he trying to get me to pull his finger?"

Well well, if anyone had a spin off of a 27 year old CGI franchise being a must see family film in their post Covid apocalyptic bingo then now is truly the time to own up.

I honestly went into this film without expectation, the original Toy Story came out back in 1995 and whilst it was revolutionary I can’t say it was ever top of my list of cherished childhood blockbusters and I didn’t have any sentimental attachment to the narrative. However, I’m very happy to say I have been proved wrong in this instance and what awaited me was a fresh take on the Buzz Lightyear character, and one that the whole family can enjoy.

As its set out in the opening 10 seconds of the film (so therefore not a spoiler due to this loophole) we find out that Andy got his Buzz Lightyear toy because it was his favourite character from his favourite film, and what we’re watching is that film in question. Personally I liked this twist, it made narrative sense, allows a fresh story to be told and also makes Chris Evans voicing Buzz much more palatable.

The story is well written and the writers haven’t just turned in a cookie cutter story which would work with any unnamed protagonist, this shows throughout. There are clichés of course but that’s to be expected and as mentioned earlier Chris Evans turns in a great performance.

There are however a few notable parts of the film that have gotten people, particularly parents talking. One of those being that there is an openly lesbian character. For my own thoughts on this I feel that it’s a great step forward for inclusion and rather that it being made the main trait for the character, it is treated as it should be treated and is just a simple part of their story. It’s caused controversy elsewhere in the world, thankfully us Brits seem to have our heads screwed on (at least in some areas). I do wonder however, if this would of caused a larger uproar in the 90’s when the film was canonically released in the Toy Story Universe, that’s a minor nit pick however.

Chris Evans is joined by a great supporting cast that includes Taika Waititi who seems to be in just about everything as of late and James Brolin. There’s also Peter Sohn, a great seasoned voice actor and director who lends his voice to Sox, Buzz’s robot Cat who provides emotional support as well as comic relief and honestly for my money steals the entire film and has some of the best lines.

Some critics I feel have judged this film entirely too harshly and whilst in a year that has provided hugely successful animated blockbusters the likes of Encanto and Turning Red, it would be hard not to a agree that Lightyear is good clean family fun and a solid if predictable romp for all ages.

Overall I’d give Lightyear a solid 4 out of 5, it’s not exactly going to set the world on fire but it’s almost 2 hours of entertainment, perfect for when a break is needed in our ever increasingly stressful world. I also predict it’s going to perform strongly when it comes to streaming in a few months.