The latest from Pixar might not be as joyful as its predecessors, but it’s fun. And it also presents some heartfelt themes about friendship and loss that ring true in so many other family films.

I like the way the movie is a prequel in a wonderfully different sense than most other origin films. If you’re familiar with the character of Buzz Lightyear from the “Toy Story” series, you’ll recognize the main character “Lightyear” here.

Here’s the concept: In the “Toy Story” universe, Buzz Lightyear is one of Andy’s toys, right? Well, this is the movie Andy watched that motivated him to buy the toy.

So this isn’t about the Buzz Lightyear toy. Rather, it’s the movie on which the toy was based.

Buzz (Chris Evans), of course, is a space ranger. He has a partner named Alisha (Uzo Aduba.) The two are great friends, and they work wonderfully together as a team. When one mission ends up on a deserted planet, it’s Alisha who helps build a whole city from scratch.

Buzz becomes determined to achieve hyper speed and get everybody home. At first, Buzz doesn’t think he has reached hyper speed. But when he returns, he discovers Alisha has aged four years from the time he left.

“Time dilation” means that, when Buzz travels, he ages only minutes while those he leaves behind age years. Buzz watches while Alisha builds a family for herself. It’s not hard to guess that the lonely Buzz will need to grapple with loss while he continues his mission.

The movie beautifully embraces diversity throughout. And it’s not a “kid movie,” either – its themes and nods to prior science-fiction movies will engage grownups, too. Buzz’s robotic cat – shades of Data’s cat Spot in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” – the hand gesture from “E.T.,” some recognizable dialogue from the “Toy Story” franchise, and “Star Wars” nods will delight longtime sci-fi aficionados.

This is a solid, and often thoughtful, adventure.

And yes, for all you Pixar fanatics: The pizza truck can be glimpsed here. But you’ll have to look for at hyper speed.

3 stars

Rated: PG for dangerous situations.

Running time: One hour and 40 minutes.

At Cinemark, Davenport; Regal, Moline; and Palms 10, Muscatine.

Watch the trailer here.