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SYFY WIRE Lightyear

'Lightyear' reviews call the Pixar film a 'solid space adventure' that boasts a 'genius' robot cat

Pixar's Lightyear blasts into theaters this Friday, June 17. Here's what critics have to say. 

By Vanessa Armstrong
A still from Lightyear (2022)

The reviews for Lightyear — the latest Pixar animated movie that is ostensibly the “live-action” film about Buzz Lightyear that spawned the toy that lived in Andy’s Toy Story bedroom — have blasted onto the internet. 

While the response to the film was mixed, most critics are calling the film a callback to sci-fi films of old and a fun way to spend a summer afternoon, even though it’s not in the top-tier of Pixar films. With the Rotten Tomatoes score currently hovering around 80%, however, it sounds like the actual adventures of Buzz (voiced this time around by Chris Evans) as well as his utterly delightful robot cat, Sox (Peter Sohn), might be worth a trip to the theater.

Here’s a roundup of critics’ reviews of Lightyear, from the entertainment trades and beyond. 

The Hollywood Reporter critic David Rooney’s biggest gripe with the film is that he is now “low-key obsessed with wanting an emotional cat robot like Sox” and goes on to praise the look of the movie as well as the talent attached, adding: “The textured visuals are often breathtaking, pulsing with luminous color, and the detailed character work is delightful, matched by strong contributions from the voice actors.”

Over at Variety, Owen Gleiberman calls Lightyear “eminently conventional and likable,” while noting it's “full of elegantly fun chases and escapes and droll bits of gizmo business.” He does add, however, that — especially compared to the Toy Story movies it was spun off from — Lightyear “is one of those Pixar movies that feels like it has 50 percent Disney DNA.”

Sox also seems to steal the show for Patrick Gomez at Entertainment Weekly, who says the movie is “most effective when it's focused on an emotional-support robot kitten named Sox” and ends his review by saying: “Kids will love Lightyear. Adults will enjoy it. The only reason it falls short of what we've come to expect from Pixar is that they've set their own bar so damn high.”

At Empire, Sophie Butcher also has praise for the robot feline, calling Sox “an adorable, quick-witted genius” and adding that “Sohn’s deadpan delivery is excellent.” And even though Butcher notes the film has a “messy plot and underwhelming villain,” she goes on to say “the strong voice performances and stunning visuals — and, of course, Sox the cat — make Lightyear a solid space adventure.”

In summary, critics largely agree that the movie is fun and pretty good, if not amazing. “It’s a film of modest charms and secondhand pleasures, enough to help pass a summer afternoon, if not to quell the sense that it was made for less-than-creative reasons,” says The Los Angeles Times’ Justin Chang. 

You can decide for yourself when Lightyear lands on the big screen on Friday, June 17.