image for Lightyear

Short takes

Not suitable under 7; parental guidance to 10 (violence, themes, scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Lightyear
  • a review of Lightyear completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 29 June 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not suitable due to violence, scary scenes and themes.
Children aged 7–10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, scary scenes and themes.
Children over the age of 10 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Lightyear
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild science fiction themes and animated violence
Length: 105 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

In uncharted space, 4.2 million light years from Earth, space ranger Buzz (voice of Chris Evans), Commander Hawthorn (voice of Uzo Aduba) and a rookie ranger are investigating an alien planet when they are attacked by destructive vines and they, along with another 1,200 crew members, are marooned. Feeling responsible for what happened, Buzz takes it upon himself to find them all a way home. He mans the test flights while they try to figure out the correct fuel combination to enable them to reach hyperspace. Each flight is only 4 minutes long but each time Buzz returns, at least 4 years has passed. He watches Commander Hawthorn’s family grow as he returns from each mission, and he befriends the robotic cat, Sox (voice of Peter Sohn), she has left behind for him. It is Sox who, after 62 years, finally cracks the hyperspace code and accompanies Buzz on a final test flight. The pair return 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 Hawthorn’s granddaughter, Izzy (voice of Keke Palmer), and former convict and explosives specialist, Darby Steel (voice of Dale Soules), Buzz must try to defeat the robots, destroy their ship and get everyone home like 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.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Time travel; Separation from family; The lack of family; Danger from alternate life forms; Loneliness.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Sinister vines grab a rookie space ranger and pull him underground.
  • Buzz and Commander Hawthorn shoot, kick and battle hostile flying creatures with red glowing eyes.
  • Vines try to drag the spaceship down into the ground. They must be continually hacked away as they are constantly attacking characters.
  • Sox shoots a tranquilizer dart into the neck of a guard.
  • After his first successful attempt to reach hyper speed, Buzz crash lands back on the alien planet.
  • Evil robots have invaded the alien planet and attack the population there.
  • Buzz and others fight back. A robot is harpooned in the head; and a robotic arm is severed but goes haywire and continues to randomly shoot 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 would-be space rangers.
  • The crab-like creatures fall off the spaceship. They are 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 try 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.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There are a number of creepy or alien life forms that are very sinister looking: flying creatures with glowing eyes, crab-like monsters that attack with a vengeance, a creepy future version of Sox is shown where he is missing an eye and looks very mangy and mangled. The images may upset some young children.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • While not scary, it is noteworthy that while Buzz attends his many missions, life is passing by quite quickly for all left behind. Buzz becomes emotional when he returns to find that his good friend, Commander Hawthorne, has passed away, leaving him a good-bye video message instead. The interactions between young Izzy and her dying grandmother are captured on screen and cause Buzz to break down.
  • It is also worth noting that, while they are not exactly scary, there are a couple of tense scenes. In one, Buzz is blown off course by unstable fuel; escapes imminent death; and very nearly doesn’t make it back to the alien planet. In another tense scene, Izzy must face her worst fear of going out into space and just dying. She must space walk from one side of an alien space ship to another but she gets blown off course by the impact of an explosion and heads to open space. Sox is nearly lost as well but Izzy manages to grasp the last hold on the ship and grabs Sox’s tail before he is lost forever.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Commander Hawthorn announces her engagement to another woman. They are later seen holding hands and kissing and their children/grandchildren are depicted growing up.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Dumb.
  • A couple of instances of toilet humour, such as a “pull my finger” reference in relation to the catchphrase, “to infinity and beyond”.

In a nutshell

Lightyear is a Disney-Pixar animated adventure, featuring a wonderful cast, excellent animation and a range of diverse characters. The violence and themes may be a bit much for younger viewers but families with older children and fans of the original, Toy Story film series, will find something to like in Lightyear.

The main messages from this movie are to never give up; that it is ok to ask for help; that home is wherever you make it; and that if you are haunted by past mistakes, it is important to let them go and find forgiveness within yourself.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Teamwork
  • Courage
  • Persistence
  • Empathy
  • Helpfulness.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Trying to do everything by yourself and not allowing others the chance to help or to offer support.
  • Giving up everything and everyone due to a false sense of obligation.
  • Failing to forgive yourself or others for things beyond your control.
  • Failing to see the value or perspective of others and their different opinions and making decisions that are purely self-serving but that would have far reaching implications for everyone involved.