Buzz Lightyear flies on autopilot in a minor movie for Pixar

In the Pixar's founding film, Toy Story (1999), John Lasseter used as the engine of the story the arrival of a new toy, a modern space ranger named Buzz Lightyear who displaced the lifelong cloth cowboy, Woody, as Andy's favorite. There was a defense of classicism, of the adventure of a lifetime, against the passing fads imposed by marketing specialists. It is still ironic, almost paradoxical, that for the first spin-off born from the saga there chosen, precisely, Buzz Lightyear to make a space odyssey full of fireworks.

Pixar has fallen, from the very conception of the project, into its own trap. It would have been nice if they had thrown themselves into the void and created a western to vindicate classic cinema, a genre almost forgotten in today's cinema. A film that would have connected in a wonderful way with the first Toy Story and that would also have been a very own risk for the studio and a declaration of intent. Take western movies, revisit them from his particular point of view and bring them to his pristine animation. Unfortunately, they have chosen the easy way, the short cut. Surely Buzz Lightyear sells more toys than Woody, and that has been one of the factors that have led them to this film, which is the film that Andy, the protagonist of that film, saw in the cinema to fall fascinated by the character.

After seeing Lightyear it is impossible for someone to want to change Woody for Buzz, because this adventure, which wants to be a tribute to lifelong science fiction movies, never goes beyond being a correct and conventional film that pays homage to many cinema gems recent as Interstellar, Apolo XII or The Martian. A film on autopilot that becomes boring and does not exploit all the narrative and visual potential of the studio. It's inevitable not to compare Pixar movies when two are released in the same year, but after enjoying Red's waste of energy, good vibes, originality and depth, a fresh and overwhelming look at female adolescencethis Lightyear loses on all counts.

The film tells the story of astronauts who are stranded on a strange planet. There they have to develop a colony that is growing while they search for the technology that will take them back to Earth. Buzz Lightyear was guilty of the mistake that left them stranded, so he will drag his guilt charge and try to fix his blunder in interstellar trips that, for him, last seconds and for the people who stay on the planet, years. This moment is one of the few where Pixar demonstrates his ability to move. In a resource similar to the beginning of Up, due to the clever use of ellipsis, but without its conciseness and brilliance, the viewer will see the life of Buzz's friend pass by in four years. Jumping and missing all the vital moments, just as he is missing them. She is a bright spark that shows that they could have gotten so much more out of a story that she always takes for granted.

The most obvious example is the character of Sox, the eternal funny sidekick, the manual sidekick that Disney has used so well all his life, and that here serves to generate funny moments, gags and, above all, to sell many dolls. On this occasion, he is a robot cat that does offer the best scenes, but whose function in the story is to get the protagonists out of all trouble through some blushing deus ex machina. He always has the right gadget to get the action moving. Many may see in it an homage to R2D2, but what worked in Star Wars here seems like a way to fix the mess.

There has been a lot of talk about LGBTQ representation in Lightyear, which has been censored in several countries for a lesbian kiss scene. A fleeting scene but one that shows a step forward in the normalization and representation of sexual diversity in Disney and Pixar films, which until now had been practically nil. Here, one of the protagonists tells naturally that her partner is a woman. She not only tells it, but we see her and we attend the first kiss between two people of the same sex in a studio film and also the birth of her son. Without a doubt, a step forward that is still scarce.

Lightyear stakes everything on the spectacular nature of his action scenes and the charisma of his protagonist, but he stays in no man's land. She is neither too serious nor too humorous and ends up making a ball and asking for the time. A pity because his underlying message, that of making room for the new generations and being an anti-nostalgic song that looks to the future and not to the past, could not be more current in these times. It is the best thing about this Pixar film that is among those that seem designed by an algorithm to sell tickets and dolls instead of being among those that raise animation to its peak.

In fact, this will be the first movie from the studio to be released in theaters after the pandemic. Neither Soul, nor Luca, nor Red, all original, personal bets that were not based on a previous saga, went to theaters, but landed directly on the Disney + platform. Lightyear hits theaters, and all forecasts point to a new hit for the studio, which at the box office does fly to infinity and beyond.

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