screenplay by Jason Headley, Angus MacLane
directed by Angus MacLane
by Walter Chaw Angus MacLane's handsome-looking Lightyear gets enough things right that it's unfortunate it can't quite shake how its best parts are borrowed from Joe Haldeman's classic The Forever War. It has more problems than that, granted, mainly with how its thin supporting cast fails to give the film the humour and pathos it needs to honour the by-now-familiar "heartwarming tearjerker" Pixar formula. There's not a lot of rewatch value here, alas, and that has everything to do with Lightyear's awkward dialogue and inability to stick the landing--maladies, both, that afflicted co-writer Jason Headley's previous Pixar outing, the similarly disappointing and COVID-doomed Onward. The highlight of the piece is robot cat SOX (Peter Sohn), who provides the film its credulous audience surrogate as well as its adorable animal-sidekick comic relief. By himself, SOX saves Lightyear, though he can't elevate it above the airless jokes and pained delivery. What a shame, considering the movie sets a new bar in terms of the complexity of its digital imagery and animation. With Taika Waititi in the cast, I gotta think they could've hit him up for a quick joke polish.