Friday, July 1, 2011

Movie Review-- Disney Pixar's Cars 2

I'll just start off by saying that I didn't love it as much as my 10-year-old son did.  Compared to a lot of the mind-numbing, drool-inducing, waste-of-time movies marketed toward kids, that Hollywood puts out these days, it was very good.  Compared to other Pixar movies... not my fave.

I have to say I was a little disappointed.  The look of the movie was fantastic.  The story, on the other hand, was lacking.  The computer graphics were amazing, the animation superb.  Nothing less than you would expect from the Pixar Studios.  They did a great job with making a whole imaginary "World of Cars" with 'car-ified' characters traveling to exotic 'car-ified' locales.  Where I think the makers of the movie 'took a wrong turn' was in trying to make it more exciting, they lost sight of what was so endearing about the first movie.  The focus was much more on eye-popping action and less on the characters we have come to love and cherish over the years.

My son really enjoyed all of the 'spy action' including lots of shooting and explosions.  What was that?  Shooting and explosions?!  Are we talking about a Disney/Pixar movie or Die Hard?  To say that the movie was as far from Radiator Springs as you can get would be an understatement.  It really felt like it was tailored more toward adults than kids.  The story set-up was much too deep for kids under about the age of seven to understand and during the times when there wasn't a lot of action going on, the story often dragged.  Some of the violence seemed inappropriate for children and I personally felt that what Cars 2 had in action, it lacked in humor.  I only remember laughing out loud less than a handful of times.  I seem to remember most other Pixar movies having a lot more comedy.

I did enjoy that the Pixar group stayed true-to-form with a plethora of inside jokes (little things tucked into the scenery and wording) that only the adults would get, but I was sorry to see that they stepped too 'far off the beaten path' as far as the original characters were concerned.  Unlike the extremely popular Toy Story series, Cars 2 did not give us enough screen time with the original cast of characters from the first installment.  While both Toy Story 2 & 3 brought on new characters, they also made sure to keep the original characters center stage.  While it's true that it would be impossible to bring Doc Hudson back without the late, great Paul Newman, he was not the only interesting character, besides Lightening McQueen and Mater, in the first Cars movie. What kept us coming back for more with the Toy Story series just wasn't there in Cars 2.  I doubt seriously that the Toy Story sequels would have been quite as popular if they had only featured Woody and Buzz.

This latest offering from the folks at Disney/Pixar would have been more appropriately marketed as a Mater movie.  Basically it was 'The Mater Show' and really wasn't worthy of being labeled as a Cars movie. We saw very little of any of the original characters, other than Mater and Lightening McQueen, and what we did see of Lightening McQueen, I found extremely disappointing.  Whether it was due to writing, directing, or acting, or a combination of all three, Owen Wilson's character-voicing of the beloved race car was sullen, bland, and flat-out depressing.  His lines were uninteresting and delivered that way. Even his trademark "Ka-chow!" sounded like he just couldn't be bothered.

If you haven't been out to the theater yet to see it, save your money and wait for the DVD.  As a Pixar fan, I feel it's still worthy of adding to my DVD collection but it will never be one that I sit down to watch anytime my son puts it on.  It doesn't matter how many times I've seen "A Bug's Life", "Monsters, Inc.", or "Finding Nemo", I never tire of them.  Those, along with the original "Cars" and the "Toy Story" series, are classics that I find myself getting sucked into every time we watch them.  "Cars 2" will end up being like so many other kid movies my son watches: mindless noise droning on in the background while I go about my day.  In other words... 'nothing special'.


vaxhacker said...

Wow, that sucks. I have pretty high expectations in general of Pixar. Sorry to see they missed on this one. Cars 1 was very enjoyable.

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