Of course, every great hero needs a great sidekick. “Lightyear” gives us Sox (Peter Sohn), a lovable cat whose job it is to provide emotional support for Buzz. Sox speaks in soothing tones, sort of a cross between Baymax from “Big Hero 6” and HAL, and will purr if you scratch your belly. He is exceptionally good at calculations and sometimes makes a noise that sounds like “Be-boop, be-boop, be-boop!” Like any cat, Sox is full of both hilarious and disturbing surprises. If Pixar’s plan was to create a character whose toy would fly off the shelves, they succeeded. He has a scene in the movie – you’ll know it when you see it – that caused audible gasps of panic in the theater. I don’t like cats, but I cared so much about Sox that I wanted…you’re kidding me, aren’t you?
No matter. As far as spinoffs go, “Lightyear” is a lot of fun. The vocal talent is top notch, especially Palmer and Evans. They have big shoes to fill; Palmer has to lean on the emotional connection created by Aduba, and Evans has to give us a Buzz Lightyear close enough to Tim Allen’s characterization to make us believe in the movie-tie toy. Sohn is perfectly feline and Bill Hader has fun with his little role as a rookie with a difficult to pronounce last name. When Zurg finally appears, he is voiced with deranged glee by Mr. Barbara Streisand himself, James Brolin. Hell, if his kid can play Thanos, I guess he can play Zurg.
After the lackluster “Toy Story 4”, I had had enough of this series, so much so that I expected to drop a negative review. In the immortal words of Buzz Lightyear, “Not today!”
“Lightyear” will only hit theaters on June 17.