In uncharted space, 4.2 million light-years from Earth, space ranger Buzz (voice of Chris Evans), Commander Hawthorne (voice of Uzo Aduba) and a rookie ranger are investigating an alien planet when they’re attacked by destructive vines. They’re marooned, along with another 1200 crew members.
Feeling responsible for what has happened, Buzz takes it upon himself to find a way home. He pilots test flights while the team tries to figure out the correct fuel combination to get them to hyperspace. Each flight is only 4 minutes long but each time Buzz returns, at least 4 years has passed. He watches Commander Hawthorne’s family grow as he returns from each mission. He also befriends the robotic cat, Sox (voice of Peter Sohn), Hawthorne leaves behind for him. After 62 years, Sox finally cracks the hyperspace code and accompanies Buzz on a final test flight.
The pair returns to find that the planet has been taken over by the evil robot Zurg (voice of James Brolin) and his lethal robotic army.
With only a motley crew of would-be space rangers, including Hawthorne’s granddaughter, Izzy (voice of Keke Palmer), and former convict and explosives specialist, Darby Steel (voice of Dale Soules), Buzz must defeat the robots, destroy their ship and get everyone home as he promised. The only problem is that everyone else is already home and Buzz, who has missed a lifetime, must figure out where he belongs.
Time travel; separation from family; lack of family; danger from alien life forms; loneliness
Lightyear has some violence. For example:
- Sinister vines grab a rookie space ranger and pull him underground.
- Buzz and Commander Hawthorne shoot, kick and battle hostile flying creatures that have red glowing eyes.
- Vines try to drag the spaceship down into the ground. They constantly attack and must be continually hacked away.
- Sox shoots a tranquilizer dart into a guard’s neck.
- After his first successful attempt to reach hyperspeed, Buzz crashes back on the alien planet.
- Evil robots have invaded the alien planet and attack the population.
- Buzz and others fight back. A robot is harpooned in the head. A robotic arm is severed but goes crazy and continues to shoot randomly at everything.
- A large, menacing robot shoots at Buzz as he and the others try to escape.
- Creepy, alien, crab-like creatures attack Buzz and the trainee space rangers.
- The crab-like creatures fall off the spaceship. They’re later shown to be dead.
- Ships are shot down.
- A man knocks Sox off a counter and nearly kills him.
- Zurg relentlessly pursues Buzz and the rangers.
- Darby shoots the robots and tries to explode them.
- Buzz uses fire geysers to escape the robot army, blasting and shooting them while Darby uses grenades.
- Buzz shoots Zurg.
- Sox shoots a tranquilizer dart at another character.
- Buzz is strangled by Zurg and then thrown into a control panel.
- Darby creates a bomb and part of the alien spaceship explodes.
Lightyear has some sexual references. For example, Commander Hawthorne announces her engagement to another woman. They’re shown holding hands and kissing, and their children/grandchildren are shown growing up.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There’s no use of substances in Lightyear.
Nudity and sexual activity
There’s no nudity and sexual activity in Lightyear.
There’s no product placement in Lightyear.
There are some mild insults in Lightyear, including ‘dumb’. There are also a couple of examples of toilet humour, including ‘pull my finger’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Lightyear is a Disney-Pixar animated adventure, featuring a wonderful cast, excellent animation and a range of diverse characters. The violence and themes might be a bit much for younger viewers, but families with older children and fans of the original Toy Story movies will find much to enjoy in Lightyear.
These are the main messages from Lightyear:
- Never give up.
- It’s OK to ask for help.
- Home is wherever you make it.
- If you’re haunted by past mistakes, it’s important to let them go and find forgiveness within yourself.
Values in Lightyear that you could reinforce with your children include teamwork, courage, persistence, empathy and helpfulness.
Lightyear could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of things like:
- trying to do everything by yourself and not giving others the chance to help
- giving up everything and everyone because of a false sense of obligation
- failing to forgive yourself or others for things beyond your control
- failing to see the value of other people’s perspective and opinions and making self-serving decisions that affect everyone.