Having conquered the hearts and minds of 90s kids with the Toy Story films, Pixar’s Lightyear is the franchise’s first attempt at a big, non-holiday short spinoff. The result is a movie that’s not half bad—if a little muddled about what exactly it is to a memetic degree—and manages to work thanks in part to Chris Evans’ surprisingly well-voiced commitment to the bit as the titular hero of Star Command. Tell us what you think about the film in the comments below if you’ve seen it, but since it’s a movie about toys, it’s as good a time as any to ask about the future of toy-based films.
Within the next couple of years, we’re getting a movie for Barbie, Robotech, Hot Wheels, and Beyblade, along with another Transformers movie. Hasbro’s likely trying to find another way to make GI Joe into a hot property, and Universal’s also got the rights to do theatrical Lego movies now, so we can also expect one or two of those in the near future as well. (Don’t forget, we’re also supposedly getting a heist film based on Uno, of all things.) Whether all these movies based on kids’ toys can reach the heights of films based on superheroes and Disney properties remains to be seen, but it’s pretty clear that this trend won’t be dying anytime soon, or at least until one of the aforementioned films dies at the theatres in such a way other studios push the eject button.
There’ve been plenty of pretty good movies based on toys, and not just the recent Lego films: several of the Transformers movies are pretty good (I’d argue that of the ones Michael Bay directed, that first movie? Not half bad), those old CG Barbie films have their fans. (If you, like me, are an old head Bionicle fan, those first three movies were very good, in a cheesy, early 2000s way.)
For this weekend’s Open Channel, let us know what toys you think would make good movies, or at the very least, what makes a good toy movie. Unlike with superheroes, there’s not a hard formula for these things being great, and it seems that just about any approach will work.
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