Pixar is finally set to return to theaters. After Turning Red, Soul and Luca all saw releases straight to Disney+ subscribers, Lightyear will hit the big screen on Friday, June 10, with the origin story for the beloved Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear. This movie is about the actual space ranger that the action figure from the Toy Story movies is based on, allowing for Chris Evans to step in as the voice of Buzz, replacing Tim Allen. It’s not Buzz’s voice, however, that’s dominating the conversation following the movie’s screening, as viewers can’t stop talking about Sox, Buzz’s robotic cat companion.
When the first 30 minutes of Lightyear was previewed at CinemaCon in April, those who got a sneak peek were fascinated by the movie’s sci-fi feel, its visual scope and emotional hooks. It was also immediately obvious that Sox — voiced by Peter Sohn — was capable of stealing the whole show. Now that the entire movie has been seen, let’s see what people are saying about Lightyear, including that character that’s likely to dominate the merch. CinemaBlend’s Mike Reyes says the Pixar blockbuster was more than he was expecting, and even Sox as the comedic sidekick was actually, legitimately funny:
Seriously, Sox is a character that could TOTALLY collapse under the weight of being the "funny sidekick." But Sox is legitimately funny, in a movie that gives a comedic Pixar legend a more serious spin. (And, as always, fantastic music from Michael Giacchino.) pic.twitter.com/LBjw3Y3ZkGJune 9, 2022
Sean O’Connell, also of CinemaBlend, agrees that Lightyear surpasses expectations. The visuals are gorgeous, there’s plenty of action, and, of course, there’s a scene-stealer …
I absolutely LOVE #Lightyear . From start to finish, it is the most purely entertaining film Pixar has made. It’s Pixar’s STAR WARS. Action packed, with gorgeous Sci-fi visuals (a space walk scene messed with my anxiety) and a scene-stealing Sox. Didn’t expect it to be that fun! pic.twitter.com/z0uSXhUE6hJune 9, 2022
It’s not just a scene Sox steals, but the whole movie, says critic Josh Sewell, who reminds audiences to bring the tissues.
I was very pleasantly surprised with #Lightyear. Lots of adventure and comedy, with a dose of those Pixar tears. Chris Evans is good, but #Sox steals the whole movie.June 9, 2022
It’s a Pixar movie, after all, so high-quality animation is to be expected, as well as stories that pack an emotional punch. Uzo Aduba’s arc as Buzz’s friend Alisha Hawthorne is drawing praise, as well as Chris Evans in the leading role, who seems to be a hit with audiences who are used to a different actor voicing the titular character. Brandon Lewis of Geek Vibes Nation says the visuals are some of the studio’s best yet:
For the AM: minus some story hiccups, #Lightyear is a blast, with humor and poignancy about our relationship to time. Chris Evans and Uzo Aduba are excellent. #Sox is an icon. The visuals are breathtaking - some of the best in the Pixar canon. Review on @GeekVibesNation soon.June 9, 2022
When there’s an animated character as beloved as Sox apparently is, the merch won’t be far behind. After screening the film, some viewers, like Miriam Tapia, are already thinking about their future purchases:
#Lightyear went to infinity and beyond! The animation is spectacular and the story is full of heart. It’s full of laughs, surprises and brought me so much nostalgia of my childhood. Can’t wait to watch it again And I will be buying every Sox toy/Funko Pop that comes out. pic.twitter.com/zjK4GDYk7VJune 9, 2022
Perri Nemiroff of Collider is one critic who is obsessed with Sox. She says the robotic cat is one of Pixar's best characters ever (take a minute to think about what a huge statement that is):
#Lightyear: Sox is EVERYTHING. I love Sox SO MUCH. Sox is one of the best characters Pixar has ever created. That’s it. That’s my Lightyear reaction. I am obsessed. pic.twitter.com/QfHkx4Hqh7June 9, 2022
Jennifer Borget speaks to Lightyear’s beautiful animation, as well as its representation. And while she's fully on board the Sox bandwagon like so many of the other audience members, she says the movie’s plot is fun but “unspectacular”:
Lightyear blasts off with a first half that has you on the edge of your seat. Then plateaus with with a fun but unspectacular storyline. The animation is absolutely stunning, the representation is beautiful. Sox had us at hello. #lightyear pic.twitter.com/1bBj7ZbA1EJune 9, 2022
Indeed, the first reactions aren’t 100 percent positive. David Ehrlich of IndieWire isn’t impressed by Lightyear, thinking it has more straight-to-Disney+ energy than the movies that skipped theaters during the pandemic.
LIGHTYEAR is the first Pixar movie since the start of the pandemic to premiere in theaters, and the first Pixar movie since the start of the pandemic to feel like it only belongs on Disney Plus.June 9, 2022
Okay, but what does he think about Sox? “Cute, but pandering,” he tweeted in response to just that question. Alan French, meanwhile, thinks Sox is the MVP but agrees that Lightyear didn’t hit as hard emotionally as some of its Pixar predecessors like Turning Red:
#Lightyear exceeds expectations as a visual wonder. It’s one of Pixar’s most beautiful films to date. It lacks the emotional pull of films like #TurningRed, but it’s messages and comedy make it one I’m excited to watch again. #Sox is the MVP.June 9, 2022
While there are a few criticisms surrounding Lightyear’s plot, the first reactions seem generally positive, with opinions about Peter Sohn’s Sox so far stealing the show as much as the animatronic feline apparently does in the movie. The wait is almost over now. The Toy Story spinoff hits theaters on Friday, June 10. Be sure to also check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what other films are coming soon to theaters.
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Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.