Lightyear is a good example of one of Pixar's recent running themes: failure

Lightyear is a good example of one of Pixar's recent running themes: failure ...

Lightyear, a big summer film by Disney and Pixars, has arrived on the Disney Plus streaming service, grossing around $120 million at the domestic box office in 2022. It is, at the moment, the tenth biggest North American gross of 2022, surpassing many other films such as The Bad Guys, The Lost City, and The Black Phone.

Lightyear's finances seem to be indistinct from the Toy Story series that spawned it. All of this entails a switch to a more suitable movie format, which leaves Lightyear's humanization of Buzz somewhere between redundant and obsolete. (Yes, The Good Dinosaur was marginally more popular than Lightyear.)

Lightyear has an unusual, compelling feature: It preemptively addresses its own failure through its narrative. The film is very much about learning to accept the consequences of making a mistake rather than heroically correcting or undoing the error.

The Good Dinosaur, an interestingly weird film that was also the first Pixar production that felt like it was going out for a release date, has a lot in common with a number of Pixar films from the past decade. During this time, the studio has remained a box office powerhouse; half of its biggest-ever movies have been released since 2012.

Pixar's first-generation obsession for parenting (Toy Story, Cars, Monsters, Inc.) and encouraging the exceptional (The Incredibles) is evident in Monsters University, a prequel to Monsters, Inc., which explores how diminutive green monster Mike (Billy Crystal) became a formidable champion scarer, despite his lack of success.

This might seem like an extension of off-putting Pixar exceptionalism, providing a warning to children in the audience that they may not possess the natural talent required to succeed, accompanied by the more comforting conclusion that happiness does not depend on achieving a youthful dream.

Pixars Soul is powered by a dynamic marriage between youthful ambitions for greatness and mundane work life. This desire drives a middle school music teacher who wants to become a jazz musician; this time, it drives him to question the practicality of a big dream leading to lasting success (that is, hovering near death). He must also consider his life more holistically; success can still be a failure if you do not appreciate what you have.

Like many of Soul's metaphysical mechanics, its ideas about spark and purpose are complex in a way that borders on convoluted. They also contradict the aforementioned Pixar high-achiever vibe in a way that threatens to make the film seem out of touch. With that in mind, it may be difficult to accept their high-minded pursuits of life's simpler pleasures.

Soul is often interpreted as a messier Inside Out remake, which is Pixars clearest and most satisfying film to address failure in a sidelong way. Riley isnt failing in her chosen profession; she is just in a state where nothing in her life seems to be going smoothly, and her usual parental-style of putting a smile on her difficulties and disappointments is no longer working for her.

Lightyear fails to reach these lofty goals, though the film has a bit more emotional punch than you would expect from a corporate team-building retreat. The film is mostly about Buzz (Chris Evans) stranded on a distant and hostile planet, then pushing himself to the limit in an effort to fix his mistake. Eventually, he must confront both his inability to undo his own damage and his eagerness to reinvent himself as a crowdpleaser.

Lightyear isn't quite in the desired shape. It's both admirable and, perhaps, a case of Buzz-like hubris. Like Lightyear, it spends a lot of time trying to make something worthwhile out of an easy-to-understand plan for a second franchise: It seems to be atoning for its existence.

The film comes up a long way from achieving the goal, even subverting the Toy Story movies that spoof good-versus-evil mythmaking by putting Buzz against himself, both figuratively and literally. Eventually, he realizes that he can move forward with a mission and a set of pals that were not part of his original plan. Yet some of Pixar's failure-focused films do have a sense of aliens attempting to understand their human inferiors as

This has more to do with the company's collective identity. Despite Pixar's outstanding achievements, most everyone has surely experienced some form of disappointment, failure, or setback on a personal level, and these likely inform the moments of truth that poke through films like Lightyear or Soul, far more often than they do at other American animation studios.