Light Years

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"‘In a thousand years, Gandahar was destroyed, and all its people massacred. A thousand years ago, Gandahar will be saved, and what can’t be avoided will be.”"
  • PG
  • 1988
  • 1 hr 23 min
  • 7.0  (5,254)

Light Years is a 1987 animated film set in a fantastical future where a civilization living on a distant planet is facing inevitable extinction. The story follows two young lovers, who are forced to separate, as they navigate the end of their world and the loss of everything they know. The opening sequence provides stunning visuals, introducing us to the planet of Terra, a place so beautiful and otherworldly that it's hard to tell if it's even real. Here, we meet two characters, a young girl named Lia (voiced by Lisa Jane Persky) and her lover, a boy named Jimsa (voiced by Stephen Shea). They are out stargazing when Lia notices that one of the stars seems to be getting brighter. Jimsa explains it's just a supernova, but Lia is convinced it's something else. In the next few scenes, we see that Lia's fears were not just delusions, but a harbinger of things to come.

As Terra faces imminent destruction, the film explores themes of loss and the power of collective memory. While the planet crumbles around them, Lia and Jimsa are forced to flee their home and bid farewell to the ones they love. Along the way, they encounter all sorts of characters, some helpful and others obstructing, all of whom provide insights about love, life, and the mysteries of the universe.

One scene shows Lia and Jimsa at a strange space station, where they meet a group of space travelers who are trying to escape the planet's destruction. They are befriended by a wise old man named Jay Maturi (voiced by Christopher Plummer), who shares a poignant story about his life and the meaning of existence. The story is a beautiful meditation on the fleeting nature of life and the eternal importance of cherished memories.

But the film is not all bleakness and sorrow. Along the way, Lia and Jimsa also share moments of joy and wonder as they explore other planets and their inhabitants. The visuals in this film are stunning, with each new environment appearing more beautiful than the last. The bright colors and intricate designs of each new world are spectacular and provide an enchanting backdrop to the story.

As Lia and Jimsa travel, they start to understand that their memories are the only thing that can save their civilization from slipping into oblivion. They also realize that they must work together to share their memories with others, so that the future generations can learn from their mistakes and build a better world.

The film is directed by René Laloux, who also directed the 1973 cult classic La Planète Sauvage, and the animation is done using traditional hand-drawn techniques. Although the film was released in 1987, the visuals still hold up today, with the imaginative designs and attention to detail showing just how much care was put into this beautiful production.

Glenn Close voices the character of Queen Ambisextra, a powerful and regal figure who has the power to control people's minds. She uses her abilities to try to force Lia and Jimsa to stay on the planet, but ultimately they resist, determined to continue their journey and save their world.

In conclusion, Light Years is a beautiful, poignant, and visually stunning film that explores the most profound and universal themes of existence. Its message about memory and the power of human connection is a timeless one, and the gorgeous visuals created by the hand-drawn animation make this an unforgettable cinematic experience.

Light Years
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 23 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (5,254)