A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teaches viewers about the power of teamwork and appreciating that even "rookies" can make important contributions.
Promotes teamwork, family, empathy, perseverance, and human connection. Also encourages people to ask for help and value others' talents, even those of someone still new to a job or a mission.
Positive Role Models
Buzz is brave, thorough, determined, and loyal. He's committed to finishing his mission. Alisha is a courageous, caring, and encouraging commanding officer and friend. Izzy is eager to help and overcomes various obstacles to make a difference. Mo and Darby summon their courage and use their know-how to be part of Buzz's team.
Commander Alisha Hawthorne is Black and a lesbian; she's eventually shown with her Asian wife and their multicultural family. This is a milestone for Disney-Pixar, which has previously only hinted at this type of organic representation. Buzz's crew of helpers includes an older White woman, a culturally ambiguous man of color (voiced by Taika Waititi), and a young Black woman. Also body-type diversity.
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Violence & Scariness
The space rangers are attacked by sentient vines on an alien planet. The vines seem to swallow them. People build shields and use other tools/means to combat the hostile being on the planet. Zurg chases after Buzz and sends armed robots to capture him. Zurg personally wants to destroy Buzz. People fight robots with weapons, breaking the robots into pieces. Buzz fights with and outruns commanding officers who want to ground his mission.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A character announces her engagement and is later seen holding hands and kissing her wife at an anniversary celebration.
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"Shoot," as well as mild bathroom humor when friends misinterpret Buzz sticking his finger out to say "To infinity and beyond" as a "pull my finger" joke.
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Products & Purchases
Nothing on camera, but Disney-Pixar movies have tons of merchandise tie-ins including games, toys, apparel, and more.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lightyear is a Pixar-animated origin film for the character who inspired the Buzz Lightyear action figure from Toy Story. In the movie, space ranger Buzz (voiced by Chris Evans), his crew, and an entire spacecraft filled with people is marooned on an alien planet. Buzz's attempts to get everyone home end up transporting him far into the future, where evil robots controlled by Emperor Zurg (James Brolin) have taken over the planet. Sci-fi/action violence includes chases and weapons-based fights with robots, Zurg, and the planet's pesky vines. Positive diverse representation includes a Black lesbian supporting character who discusses her partner (and later wife) in a way that makes it clear that everyone supports her identity and relationship. This is a milestone for Disney-Pixar, which has only hinted at this type of representation in previous films like Finding Dory and Beauty and the Beast. Teamwork, perseverance, empathy, and courage are prominent themes, and the film encourages people to ask for help and value the talents that others bring to the table. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With its fabulous animation, honorable hero, and lovable sidekicks, this tribute to a host of space adventures is a story of perseverance, teamwork, and friendship. This version of Buzz Lightyear is ideally voiced by Evans, who already has that perfect Captain America halo of courage, loyalty, and hard work. For him, finishing a mission is paramount -- even above his own comfort or sense of belonging. His relationship with Alisha/Commander Hawthorne is a highlight, because they have complementary strengths and trust and respect each other. Aduba does a lovely job of expressing the commander's concern, love, and humor for her space ranger partner/bestie. Similarly, Palmer, Soules, and Waititi are hilarious as the ragtag trio who test Buzz's ability to rely on others, ask for help, and act as a patient and encouraging team leader. And Peter Sohn's scene-stealing portrayal of Sox the brilliant and candid robo cat is sure to delight viewers of all ages.
Director Angus MacLane impresses with the technical excellence of the movie's animation: Textured hair, Sox's fur, and the aggressive vines are as amazingly detailed as the epic landscapes of space and the planet on which all the action takes place. Composer Michael Giacchino's score is spot-on for '90s blockbusters, and the script tips its hat to nearly all of the big space-based films, from 2001 to Star Wars and back again. And Disney takes a big step forward (for them) on the representation and inclusion front by featuring a Black lesbian character. There's no coming out necessary for Commander Hawthorne; Buzz knows that his best friend's partner would be a "her," just as she knew he would need Sox because he'd end up lonely after all the time jumps. Animated movies need more organic inclusion, and Lightyear handles it in a natural way. Ultimately, although Lightyear isn't at the top of Pixar's "heartwarming" (and heartrending) scale, it's far more than the cash cow some viewers expected.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.