Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cars 2 - It Could Use A Tune-Up

Normally, I look forward to Pixar movies. Pixar is a studio that always manages to churn out a high quality movie with attention to every small detail. However, while I do love what they put out, Cars is the exception. While enjoyable, the original Cars just felt like something was missing that would have made it as good as every other Pixar movie. I wasn't expecting much out of the sequel, and it has done little to impress.

The plot is basically every spy movie you have seen in your entire life, but with cars, down to the character types and sequence of events. All you need to do is make the main character a bumbling idiot, then replace that idiot with Larry the Cable Guy. Instead of a genuine Pixar movie, it feels more like a movie dedicated to him with spy elements shoehorned in. It's very uninspired and clichéd, which is surprising considering Pixar's track record.

While I do applaud the detail in the movie, mostly the cars, there were some things that seemed off. For example, the oil rigs at the beginning of the movie spew flames from the top, but they look unfinished like a low-res video game. It was not only things like this, but also logistically and location-wise. All the different types of cars that race each other in the World Grand Prix, the supposed central race of the movie that feels more like a background event, would not be able to race in real life due to how different the models are. When the race starts in Tokyo, the obligatory bathroom scene has a bit too much focus on Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) and the bidet joke doesn't work very well because it is a French bathroom appliance and not Japanese. Also, the "bromance" between Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and Mater seems to come completely out of nowhere, since the first installment did not leave me with the feeling that they were that close as friends.

I wish I had more to say, but there actually isn't much else. While children who enjoyed the original Cars may get some satisfaction out of the sequel, there isn't much to offer for adults, except for the Toy Story short at the beginning which, sadly, is a much more clever and entertaining three minutes than the hour-and-a-half that follows. Pixar has been able to create movie gold since their first feature, Toy Story. If the next offering can keep the same magic as most every other movie the studio has put out before, then consider Cars 2 a pit stop between movies. If you want to watch it to complete your Pixar experience, that's fine, but this one actually seems skip-worthy at best.

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