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"Dark Side of Lightyear" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP30 Dec 2022 8:53 p.m. PST

"Well, after much hype from Disney and Pixar, the origin tale of Buzz Lightyear, the appropriately named "Lightyear" came and went this summer. Despite Toy Story and it's three sequels being box office classics, Pixar's latest outing received a slightly lacklustre reception. A shame, as standing alone as a sci fi tale, it's excellent and a gorgeous piece of space opera. Where it fails though, is it's intended audience. Whereas previous outings have been loved by children and adults, some of the themes in Lightyear are unmistakably adult. The chief problem I think is relativity. Whilst time travel and general relativity are difficult enough for an adult to apprehend, when you add them and the effects of temporal dilation to a kids film, along with the unfortunate emotional fallout from them, it becomes a bit of a buzz killer and seeing your hero cry on screen does not make for a fun ride. I don't want to spoil the film for anyone who hasn't watched it, but suffice to say there is a basic plot whereby our eponymous hero needs to breach the light barrier in order to return home. Where this fits in with my post is the means that Lightyear uses to reach hyper speed.

Mattel, as licensor for Pixar really went to town on producing a supporting toy line for the film, with at least three different sizes of action figure, two scales of vehicles and play sets and a ton of other goodies. Mattel, who historically produced Hot Wheels and Major Matt Mason, know how to make great toys and the Lightyear range is no exception. Back in 1979 they made a superb line of toys to support Battlestar Galactica, with a range of interchangeable, modular vehicles equipped with a small 1" figure. Unfortunately, the toys fired small projectiles, one of which was inadvertently ingested by a child, resulting in a fatality. This changed the toy industry almost overnight, as action features were exchanged for sound effects and lights courtesy of the burgeoning silicon revolution and Mattel's Galactica line tanked almost immediately. Mattel rejoined the space toy line some years later with the acquisition of Coleco and rebadged the amazing StarCom line, but once more it was short lived success…"


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