There’s no denying that Pixar has been a force in the realm of animation since they first emerged on the scene. The studio pumped out instant classics over and over that resonated with critics and fans of all ages. It got to the point where a Pixar movie meant to embody a series of ideals and concepts. Viewers could expect something from a Pixar movie. And even though their films and stories took place in many different worlds, consisting of many different characters, that same thread of feeling and emotion could be seen throughout all of their output. That has changed with Lightyear. And although fans might be disappointed by the change, for Pixar, it’s certainly for the better.
Lightyear is, by far, a very different film from the studio. It focuses on plot much more than characterization. To Lightyear, the journey of a sci-fi adventure is the top priority; not crafting an emotional wave that resonates in the heart. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. It just means it’s a different thing. It’s an experience for sci-fi fans to revel in. And it shows a change in Pixar that signifies its evolution.
When people think of film studios, they don’t tend to think of a body of work. Universal, Paramount, Fox, even Pixar’s parent company, Disney, produces a wide range of films that touch on many different topics. Pixar has always focused on their wheelhouse. Everything from Cars to Brave to Inside Out — and all the way back to Toy Story — puts childhood pathos above all else. Lightyear doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a Pixar movie. This departure shows that Pixar has attempted to become a more well-rounded studio that can play in many different sandboxes at once. Nobody puts together lists of the best films for many classic studios. But they do for Pixar because it always tends to focus on the same theme. The fact that Pixar is willing to take a chance in something different with Lightyear shows that it is growing and will only become stronger because of it.
Lightyear is now in theaters.