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Friday, January 06, 2012

Cars 2 Review

So, as I'm sure has become very obvious by now, I'm a big, big fan of Pixar.  Love their films.  However, this past summer, I skipped their latest film.  The commercials just held no interest for me.  It was the first time I'd missed a Pixar film in the theatre in...ever.  I'd seen every Pixar film in the theatre!  Except this one.  However, with my pockets filled with Christmas money, I went out and I bought it on DVD.  I mean, I also own every Pixar film on DVD, so I can't have a gap in my collection. 

Tonight, I finally sat down to experience the mediocrity that is....

Cars 2

Directed by John Lasseter; Co-directed by Brad Lewis

Starring the voices of Larry the Cable Guy, Owen Wilson, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Eddie Izzard, John Turturo, Jason Issacs, Thomas Kretschman, Tony Shalhoub, and Bruce Campbell

Backstory:  So, when this film was first announced, the question that every Pixar geek had was, "Out of all the fantastic films that Pixar has made, why does Cars get a sequel?"  That question is best answered by Yogurt from Spaceballs:  "Merchandise!"  Granted, while Cars was Pixar's lowest grossing and not-best-reviewed film, it was also Pixar's biggest hit ever...in terms of merchandise sales.  And since merchandise sales are one of the biggest parts of a film's revenues these days, a sequel was pretty much assured.  But hey, we were all cynical towards Toy Story 2 & 3, and they turned out to be good, so Cars 2 could be good...right?

Plot:  In the freakish nightmare world where cars rule and humans are nowhere to be seen, the fuel magnate Sir Miles Axelrod develops a new alternative fuel call Allinol, and to promote the usage of this fuel, holds a race known as the World Grand Prix.  Of course, our hero from the first film, Lightening McQueen, is invited to race, and he brings along his best friend Mater the Tow Truck.  Mater, simple country bumpkin that he is, has all kinds of delightful culture shock misunderstandings, which eventually causes him to be berated by McQueen.  However, Mater is soon mistaken for an ace secret agent by two British spies, and is enlisted to help them in their latest adventure.  Seems that a crime syndicate made of history's greatest lemons is out to sabotage the World Grand Prix.  Can Mater and his two new spy buddies save the day?  Will Mater reconcile with Lightening McQueen?  And who will win the World Grand Prix?

What I Liked:  Well, it is Pixar, so the animation is gorgeous.  My current favourite composer, Michael Giacchino, did the score, and it's a great pseudo-James Bond score.  John Turturo voices McQueen's chief rival, a Formula One racer named Francesco, and he is hilariously over the top.

What I Didn't Like:  PREACHY.  This film is very blunt with its messages.  Look, I appreciated trying to whip a little wisdom at the kids, but it doesn't have to be this blunt.  The plot is kind of muddled, as we cut back and forth between McQueen on the race and Mater in his spy adventures.  Owen Wilson is really phoning it in this time out as the voice of McQueen.  And, as always, the humour of Larry the Cable Guy is an acquired taste. 

Final Verdict:  Well, what can I say?  Pixar's four films prior to this all had me in tears at the end.  No tears were shed at the end of Cars 2.  The typical Pixar effort just doesn't seem to be there this time out.  It's just...a sequel.

2.5 Nibs

Now, I've got a busy weekend ahead, but hopefully I'll be able to sit down and watch my other new DVD.  Another of my favourite filmmakers had a new film out in 2011 that I never got around to seeing, so hopefully I'll be able to find a few moments over the weekend to watch and review it as well.  Keep your eyes on this blog for when I finally check out Kevin Smith's Red State.  

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