The first thing — and the most important thing — a film does is establish where it will sit between your mind and the worlds you know. Often there is some clever interplay between what it is directly, and what games it will play with you about that identity and yours. I’ve called this ‘folding’. Among the joys of looking at films this way is the marvellous variety of folding tricks we seem to be evolving. Young viewers are amazingly adept at this.
‘Lightyear’ is a bold experiment in this, and the sad thing is that it has apparently failed. My faith in the elastic introspective ability of our youth has been dashed. This is a second order Pixar film. It relies on you inhabiting the original Pixar world, and then making leap into another world that is just as different from the original world as your actual world is from it.
We do this all the time: our heroic action movies today are a different genre that those they reference. Same with the various threads of horror.
Science fiction is particularly prominent in this trend, especially since ‘2001’ and ‘Solaris’. So here we have Pixar once again pushing the boundaries. You have to have known the ’Toy Story’ world, where Andy’s imagination — always shown at the beginning — animates toys. That whole franchise is set in a boy’s imagination, an alternative world opened by play.
Now that that world. Not your world, but Andy’s toy story world and instead of seeing a story that happens in that word, see a story, a film created within and for that world. You need to hop twice to enter this. I did and loved it. There isn’t much to compare it to, just as we had with the original ‘Toy Story’ so any criticism that it doesn’t compare well with such and such just comes from folks who don’t get movies. There seem to be a lot of these, more than I imagined. And that depresses me.
Posted in 2022
Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.