Saturday, September 19, 2015

Backtracking: A 'Cars 2' Defense


Nothing news-wise here, just another opinion piece from yours truly...

Cars 2...

The name alone seems to cause commotion, at least on the Internet. Cars alone is enough to ruffle some feathers.

I was there. In spring 2006, I was anticipating the first film because it was... Well... The new Pixar film! I became a full-fledged Pixar fanatic after watching (and re-watching) Monsters, Inc. on DVD around Christmas of 2002, when I was ten years old. I was geared up for Finding Nemo, I was geared up for The Incredibles, I was geared up for Cars. I also happened to be really into autos and racing at the time, still am to some extent.

Prior to Cars' release, a movie review site posted their review. This person, I assume, must've caught a test screening or something. It was up on the net roughly a month before the critics got to see the film, it was a little while before its world premiere. The review was positive, but it wasn't glowing. The writer's main beef with the film was that it was too similar to the 1991 Michael J. Fox film Doc Hollywood, and that it didn't feel original enough. For some reason, a lot of people seemed to run with the Doc Hollywood comparisons after that...

When the film was finally released, it was the first Pixar film to score less than the coveted 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Less than 80%, too. 74% isn't bad at all, it's pretty positive actually, but this wasn't "gold standard Pixar" for many. Many reviews were overall positive, but all echoed a similar sentiment: "It's not great."

I had a rather bad taste in film back in 2006. I loved Cars, it was my world for a little while. I really, really, really loved the film. As the years went on and as my tastes changed, I never lost any of that love I had for it. I still love it. I still think it's a great Pixar classic, definitely worthy of the films they made before and after. I didn't agree with the main criticisms: "It's too much like Doc Hollywood", "The universe it takes place in makes no sense", "It's bland", "It's too long", "It isn't all that original", and so on and so forth...

What I saw was John Lasseter's honest and heartfelt love letter to Americana, car culture, and the lost towns of Route 66 and other abandoned roads. It's his picture through and through, it goes as slow as it wants (it's Pixar's longest film too, clocking in at 116 minutes), has a very cool soundtrack, it isn't loud or noisy or zany like many family and/or kids' movies, you could argue - because it's Lasseter's pet project - it's auteur-driven. Yes, I went there...

I'm okay with others not liking it, who am I to tell them that they are wrong? Sometimes though, I think the film gets a little too much heat. I get it in a way. Coming off of the triple-punch of ambition and imaginative storytelling greatness that Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles were, the mundane and more laid-back Cars could definitely be seen as something of a letdown. Had it come out after A Bug's Life and hit in say, 1999 or 2000, perhaps it would've gotten better reception?

Cars was sandwiched between that acclaimed trifecta of films, and another praised trifecta that consisted of Ratatouille, WALL-E, and Up. Prior to the release of Cars, A Bug's Life - another John Lasseter-directed picture - was kind of the whipping post of the Pixar films. It was the weak leg, it was the not-so-great feature, it wasn't anything special. No big shock, I love A Bug's Life as well. Around this time, I saw many people say "John Lasseter is the worst director at Pixar", using A Bug's Life and Cars as their back-up for their claims. You know, forget that he directed Toy Story and not only directed Toy Story 2, but singlehandedly saved it...

No matter what people may say about Lasseter's anthropomorphic autos comedy, I love it. Plain and simple. I think it's a great film, maybe not perfect, but it clicks for me...

Cars was not quite the box office juggernaut that Monsters, Inc.Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles were. It played strong stateside, growing excellent legs in a summer of virtually no competition (anyone remember Barnyard and Nacho Libre?), but overseas it wasn't that big of a smash. It still did very well in the end, with a good $461 million finish. That's not bad for a film that was arguably not very overseas market-friendly, what with its 50s American nostalgia and NASCAR and whatnot...

Cars was released in the summer of 2006. You know what else happened in the summer of 2006? The Walt Disney Company, under the orchestration of the then-new CEO Bob Iger, fully acquired Pixar for $7.4 billion. Iger's Disney wasn't Michael Eisner's Disney. Iger sought to repair the damage his predecessor created, bad relations with Pixar being one of them. There was a bad time when it seemed like Pixar would break away from Disney because of Eisner's actions, while Disney would own the rights to the films they made for them up until Cars... And make numerous sequels to them - via an animation studio called Disney Circle 7 - without any involvement from Pixar. Yes kids, this was a thing we were worried about over a decade ago...

No longer did Pixar have to worry about breaking away from the company, Disney owning the rights to their films and exploiting them, or anything of the sort. Pixar was now in creative control of what they were going to make, sequels included. Toy Story 3 was greenlit shortly after the acquisition, their Toy Story 3, not Disney's film where they all go to Taiwan to rescue a recalled Buzz Lightyear, that would've just been a rehash of the second film. Monsters University went through, too, replacing the Monsters, Inc. 2 that Disney/Circle 7 intended to make before Eisner was ousted. Finding Nemo 2 was also in the script stage before the merger, so there's a reason why Finding Dory exists as well.

A Cars sequel could've been talked about back then, but Cars was deep in production so it couldn't progress to the point where a script was completed or something got copyrighted. Whereas Toy Story 3, Monsters University, and Finding Dory are Circle 7 legal clean-up, Cars 2 wasn't. Cars 2's production history is murky and a bit of an enigma at best, which usually isn't the case when it comes to Pixar's films.

Cars was on the lower end of the Pixar box office pool, but The Walt Disney Company wanted Pixar to keep the engine revving. Why's that? Cars may not have been a box office titan on the order of Finding Nemo, but it was a merchandising monster. By early 2008, the same time the sequel was officially announced to the public, the film's merchandise topped $5 billion in global sales!


From a business perspective, an around-the-world Cars sequel is a golden idea. From a creative standpoint, maybe not so much.

How did I react to the Cars 2 announcement back in 2008? Well, Toy Story 3 was not out yet so I was solely going by Toy Story 2's high quality and the Pixar brass always saying "We won't do sequels unless we have a good story to tell." Back in early 2008, we didn't know about Monsters University or Finding Dory. All we knew was Toy Story 3 and Cars 2. I didn't worry, not too many people worried. In fact, I remember the consensus being "Well Toy Story 2 was awesome, so I trust Pixar", while others would say "First one wasn't good, but the sequel could be better!"

Like a couple of Pixar films, Cars 2 was a troubled production fraught with behind-the-scenes drama. Sometimes bright minds don't always make the best decisions, but I attribute a lot of the Cars 2 production woes to the release date change. When announced, it was pegged for a summer 2012 release. Then months later, it moved up to summer 2011, cutting the schedule down a full year. Brad Lewis, who never directed a feature film before, probably faced some serious pressure trying to get the big spy/racing story (reportedly, Cars 2 was going to be about world racing and all the spy stuff originated from a scrapped Mater Tall Tale short, the two were hastily mashed together) under control in a short period of time. Even under Lasseter's watch, problems can still rise.

Lasseter then took over as director no longer than a year before completion, but he did most of the directing through his iPad, because he's a super-busy guy. Anyone who is in the know about the industry knows this, for he not only runs Pixar, but is also a head at Walt Disney Animation Studios, Imagineering, and the seemingly-defunct DisneyToon Studios. Unfortunately, he didn't quite pull a Toy Story 2 with this movie. He didn't turn it around the way he miraculously did with Toy Story 2 some 11 years prior. That was a different John Lasseter operating in 1999...

Cars 2's problems, for me, don't really lie in the meshing of the spy plot and racing structure, nor do they lie in the prominence of Mater. On the surface, it's a slick, well-made spy action-comedy romp. There's cool set-pieces, but with anthropomorphic autos. If one isn't against the idea of a world of talking autos, there's a lot to enjoy here with the gadgets and explosions and tech that's shown to us. The plot isn't a disjointed mess despite having a few inner-workings and subplots, so that's a real plus right there. Under different hands, it could've been a complicated misfire! Most of the comedy isn't bad, either. There's maybe one or two cringeworthy jokes, but the funny bits make up for it all, I think.

I used to have multiple issues with the film. Now I do think that Mater dominates a little too much, I wanted to see more of the other faces from the first Cars, especially McQueen. Heck, I wanted to see more of McQueen's World Grand Prix competition, the only one who has a somewhat significant role in the movie is rival Francesco. I wanted to see more of the races themselves. Perhaps there should've been a better balance of the WGP stuff and the spy stuff.

One of my two main problems with the film lies in the connections to the first Cars...


Cars 2, I think, should've left Radiator Springs behind. There's really no need to rope Mater and Lightning McQueen into a conspiracy plot that ends up putting McQueen's life in danger. Cars is a sweet story about how you should stop and appreciate the little things in life, and not always be in such a rush. It's not an action movie, no one is in peril, it's a very slow and calm movie. What do spies and oil tycoons masquerading as alternative fuel supporters and mafia-like gangs of undesirable cars have to do with the events of the first Cars? Had Cars 2 been about spies Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell taking on a bad guy, that would've been fine. That way, you can continue the franchise, please the Disney bean counters, introduce tons of new characters that'll sell like hotcakes in toy form, and not possibly taint the original.

Now there's nothing wrong with plucking the RS gang out of their desert town and throwing them into the international world of spies, but there was a good reason why it wouldn't work so well. Something happened when development began on the sequel. Something that I think really hurt it...


Paul Newman, the voice of Doc Hudson, died in 2008. The heart of Cars is arguably Doc Hudson, the bitter, grandfatherly, legendary Hudson Hornet racecar with a past he wants to hide. When Newman died in 2008, Pixar was put in a predicament. The franchise had to continue now that a sequel was in development, but replacing Newman as Doc Hudson (they made an exception for the short films) would've been wrong. Now, replacements aren't anything new. Jim Varney voiced Slinky in Toy Story and Toy Story 2, and died a year after Toy Story 2 came out. Blake Clark, a close friend of Varney's, was his replacement for the third film.

Toy Story 3, unlike Cars 2, was a sequel driven by more by creativity and passion. Pixar's folks wanted to tell a bittersweet story about Andy growing up and what happens to his toy pals, and a third Toy Story chapter was in consideration prior to what had gone down between Disney and Pixar a decade ago. Slinky was certainly not the heart of the first two films, he was a supporting character. That's not to say Varney's performance was disposable, it certainly was not, but getting a soundalike wasn't too bad of an idea for the character. Cars 2 was mostly Iger cattle-prodding, and replacing the voice of the heart of Cars in the cash-grab sequel just feels a bit wrong to me. If they had gotten a really good Newman sound alike and gave Doc something to do in a sequel, I probably wouldn't have minded too much, but it seems kind of wrong in this particular case...

Writing the character out altogether also would've seemed wrong, but Pixar's team did just that... And in the film, it's heavily implied that he passed away. Story supervisor Nate Stanton said in an interview that this indeed the case...

This is the one major problem I have with this film, and I'm not angry at Pixar for it, because what could they have done? Cars 2 was demanded, it had to be about the gang everyone was familiar with in the first film and not an entirely new cast of characters, and the voice of one of the film's major characters passed away. They decided not to get a replacement, out of respect for Newman (Lasseter specifically stated that he personally couldn't do it), and killed him off. But his "death" makes no sense to me. Doc Hudson is a 1951 Hudson Hornet, a legendary racecar on top of that. How could he die so young while Lizzie, a Model T from roughly 1928, is still kicking? I could understand Stanley's death, because he's a vehicle from the turn of the century. He was probably a geriatric before his death. Plus I like the little storytelling bit where it's shown that Lizzie is a widow. However, I don't buy Doc's death from a writing point of view. He's a 1951 powerhouse racecar, Stanley was nearing 100 when he died.

All of this of course brings up the whole "The Cars universe makes no sense" argument. I always saw the Cars universe as a fun "what-if" scenario that wasn't meant to be taken so literally. I can buy cars having feelings, I can buy cars eating and consuming food, I can buy the idea of a world of cars without humans, I can buy a world of cars that has a Popemobile that implies that some cars are religious. It's a goofy, cartoony premise and it knows it, Pixar probably didn't want you to overanalyze this particular series because it's meant to be more laid-back, more comedic, more fun, and not like the likes of WALL-E or Up or Inside Out. If anything, they probably think something like "Hey look! The Pope in car form, but he's the Popemobile!" It's joke-driven. There's nothing wrong with something like that, in my opinion, so long as it works and isn't much of a distraction from the core of the film. Again, just a "Hey! What if?" kind of thing.

What mattered to me more in Cars was the actual story, not the "logic" of the world it took place in. Cars 2 has a story element that I question as a story element alone. How did Doc Hudson die? The only thing I can buy is a rare disease or rare kind of parts failure, but that's about. The movie doesn't know, I don't think the filmmakers even know.

It all just makes me wish that they would've abandoned Radiator Springs altogether for the sequel's storyline, which in turn would've overrode the whole "What do we do about Doc Hudson?" issue. Again, just a Finn McMissile and Holley take on bad guys movie. McQueen could cameo during a race or something.

This is the only element that's going to bother me in Cars 3 as well, unless they cook up a good explanation. That is all regardless of how Cars 3 turns out as a story...

It's interesting to note that one point in development, the filmmakers were going to have Doc's "death" be a vital part of the story, and how it would've affected McQueen and Mater on their international journey. You know, even if the death makes no sense to me, I would've been okay with them going this route. At least they address the death more, rather than quickly give the character a tribute and then sweep him under the rug as if he's not relevant.

The second major problem I have with this film concerns the third act...


Throughout the movie, Mater's stupidity drives everything. His obliviousness and actions anger his best friend, inadvertently make him a super-spy, and he succeeds in missions whilst not knowing that he's doing so. He begins to catch on to fact that he embarrasses himself and isn't fit to be a spy, and he clearly considers that before the third act set-piece. The reality check comes just before the Italy mission goes completely awry. He feels remorse over his actions, which is all good stuff. The problem is, the theme isn't given a suitable payoff. During the last third mayhem, Mater has to explain to the Queen of England that he knows who is behind everything, but is afraid to do so because he thinks he's an idiot and that he won't be taken seriously.

By the time Mater reunites with Lightning McQueen, he has learned that he can't act the way he does at home elsewhere. He shows that he's clearly capable of acting mature in a serious situation. McQueen then tells him to do the exact opposite, telling him to be the bumbling yokel he is in Radiator Springs wherever he goes... Mater confidently exposes the villainous Miles Axelrod, saves the day, and is knighted. But did he learn anything? While we don't see him make a fool of himself (aside from making faces at the Buckingham Palace Guard) afterwards, he was basically told to do what he wasn't supposed to do! Maybe it's just a case of poor writing and Mater actually did get the point, but I feel that's an issue. You got to be clear when telling a story, you know?

So these two issues take two sizable chunks off of the quality grade, so what are we left with?

A pretty fun, entertaining, somewhat unbalanced spy-action romp with talking cars...


For starters, I like the plot quite a bit. Though it's made obvious who the real villain is very early on (keeping him in the shadows would've worked wonders, I think), how we get to the climax is some genuinely fun stuff. The filmmakers could've been just getting this film off of their chests and could've had no fun working on it at all, but I see them having a lot of fun. This is a film that is loaded with little visual gags and cool tech, and it's all well integrated into the cars world. Guns and tasers coming out of hubcaps, magnetic bombs and missiles shooting out of headlights, grappling hooks, little rolling spherical cameras. Outside of the tech, there's all the fantastic details on the buildings, objects, and whatnot. Like Cars, everything is Car-ified here and some of the results are cool and humorous. Perhaps Pixar wants you to laugh at the absurdity of the Cars universe, something like this gets a chuckle out of me...

Anyways, if you don't feel the story is all that hot, you got to admit that these details are very clever! Real-world landmarks and such get their car treatment too. When I look at these things, I think "Wow, the way they changed it is pretty cool!" Again, just clever.

The plot itself is never convoluted, I think. It's actually quite simple, Mater basically becomes a spy because of his tomfoolery and obliviousness. Then we have a mafia-esque gang of "lemons" - cars that were picked on and shunned because of their looks and performance - that threatens the World Grand Prix and the alternative fuel it is pushing. The new fuel is a threat to their power, and to them as well. Lightning McQueen agrees to use the fuel in the last race after the creator discourages it, prompting the lemons to enact a plan to kill Lightning, now Mater must save him since only he of the Radiator Springs gang knows about the plan... But he realizes he got to where he is by accident and realizes how much of a fool he makes of himself, and that he ruined his best friend's winning chances.

I fail to see how any of this is so insultingly bad. Minus the very odd third act sequence where Mater backwards speeds away from McQueen with the bomb strapped to him on the London race track, I think it all works! It all might be silly and stupid to those who weren't onboard with the Cars world concept to begin with, but even some fans of the original or those who tolerated it don't like this film. Maybe it's just Mater himself? Mater is very much a secondary character in Cars, but I liked him for what he was: A somewhat dimwitted, fun-loving tow truck who means well and ultimately just wants to be Lightning's friend despite Lightning's initial dislike of rusty old cars.

Making him the main character is probably a real task considering that his voice actor, Larry the Cable Guy, could get on many nerves. I'd say he's good in small doses, and in a lot of ways Mater is him, but not to the point where it's annoying. For me, at least. I don't listen to LTCG much, he's not my cup of tea, but I think Mater is likable and appealing for what he is, so... As a lead, he's not awful. I mean, the Cable Guy gets the country bumpkin role down pat, but I think whether it works or not all lies in people's tolerance for someone like the Cable Guy or his comedy. (I can imagine some readers may hate the fact that I referred to what he does as "comedy", but I digress. Git 'r done!)

Maybe a little more McQueen and the gang would've sharpened up the overall story, but I really like Finn McMissile (can't go wrong with Michael Caine, either) and Holley Shiftwell. One's a master spy and a total badass, the other is a likable rookie that's very dedicated. I like the idea of these posh, upper crust spies working alongside the most unlikely partner even if it's been done before. (The Man Who Knew Too Little) I can only imagine a really cool movie where it isn't Mater in the lead role, but the actual American spy - Rod "Torque" Redline - who was expected to work alongside them. Yes, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, and Bruce Campbell as car spies... That would've made for an awesome Cars 2 if you ask me!

That being said, I don't mind the main plot. Just a little more McQueen and co. and it would've been pretty darn good.


The action is some of the film's highlights. With animation, you can do some wild things with the camera and you can stage things in unique ways. Pixar is no slouch when it comes to this, as The Incredibles has some of my favorite action set-pieces ever. Cars 2's action set-pieces are real knock-outs in all the areas: The visuals, the staging, the pacing, the editing. The opening sequence on the oil rig is a perfect moment. The airport chase is lots of fun, the whole portion set in Italy has some good suspense and a crazy shootout in a casino, in the London portion we see that the Radiator Springs gang don't mess around either! Lots of a little surprises here and there. The more violent bits aren't watered down, either. Cars are blown up, tortured to death, and they shoot at each other. If this film starred humans, it would've rated PG, easily. Give Pixar kudos for not watering down the more intense moments for five-year-olds.

I also kind of like how Mater upsets McQueen and feels bad for it, eventually realizing it later on. It doesn't make for any "Pixar heartbreaking" moments, but I feel it works for what it is. This is essentially a summer blockbuster-type film, not something like Inside Out, so some scenes showing how Mater feels about what he did are welcome. Sure, I don't like that bit of writing when McQueen tells Mater to be himself anywhere, but I think what they do with the friendship stuff is a little more than serviceable.

Out of all the Pixar films, Cars 2 is probably the least ambitious. Not because it was commissioned to make Disney some good money, but because it's very simple: Spies vs. diabolical bad guys. Again, for what it is - minus the Doc Hudson issue and how it goes against some of the first Cars - it's enjoyable and has surprising moments, on top of fantastic visuals and a great attention to detail. Certainly not the brainy, game-changing, moving adventure Inside Out or the cautionary sci-fi tale WALL-E. It's not a potent story on growing old and unfulfilled wishes, nor is it a passionate exploration of forgotten towns.

Now it doesn't get a pass for not aiming as high. I don't quite approve of animated romps that don't have much to say, or ones that don't even try to be anything beyond "cute". Films like, say, The Lorax or Turbo or one of the Ice Age sequels. I don't think Cars 2 is just that, I just think it's Pixar trying to make a fun spy action movie with a pretty sharp plot. Is it shallow? Maybe. John Lasseter, if you listen to the film's audio commentary, seems very passionate about this series' world and this sequel's storyline. I don't know about you, but I feel the fun. I think it's basically Pixar serving up breezy, lightweight summer entertainment.


Pixar has done this sort of thing before, too. A Bug's Life doesn't move mountains like WALL-E or Inside Out, it's a pretty simple Western-like tale of bugs fending off more powerful bugs with the help of an unlikely gang, a la The Magnificent Seven. Does it have a grand message? Maybe not, though I'd say there's a little theme of being an outcast in there. I care about the execution, not what the story is about. Remember when Roger Ebert said, "It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it"? That's my line of thinking. Is the story well-told and sincere? In A Bug's Life and Cars' case, yes, I think so. In the case of a more cutesy animated romp that only aims to babysit, no, it doesn't get a pass.

Cars 2 has some issues, which is why I can't put it alongside the Pixar greats, but had it not had the Doc Hudson problem or that flimsy writing in the third act, yes, I would've considered this to be a very good film! Action, spies, a little friendship story mixed in with some good humor, lots of little details that shows you that the filmmakers did some serious research? Yes. Had they gone with the "Doc's death affecting them on the journey" plot, I probably would've thought it was great. Heck, I would like to see an alternate version where it's just the straightforward World Grand Prix plot!

Basically, my reaction is... What is so bad about it? I can understand gripes like "Larry the Cable Guy can't sustain a feature", "it's too safe", or "too much Mater, not enough of the McQueen stuff", not ones like "it's horrible" or "the Cars universe makes no sense!" What's good in it, I think, is really good. It shows me that despite a compromised story and script (yes, as I've said, I can see this film working with a couple tweaks), there was a level of care that went into the film. I can't see that in some other mediocre animated features that seem to get a pass for being somewhat "entertaining".


It's apparently okay for other animation studios to coast, but Pixar can't catch a break for making what is kind of a "nothing" movie. They still get flack for this film, the negativity lingers like a bad virus. But is it really a "nothing" movie? Thematically? Maybe, probably. In terms of everything else? I don't think so. What I see is Pixar making the best of the situation they were put in by Disney, and the predicament that Newman's death inadvertently created. The result is a blockbuster that just aims to be high-octane fun. Most of Pixar's filmography is films with strong messages, deep themes, captivating stories, imaginative settings, and what not... Call me crazy, but I think they're allowed to do at least one lightweight fun actioner like this.

I mean, it didn't push theatrical animation backwards. After this, Pixar went to mother-daughter relationship drama with Brave, then they told a story that tells younger audiences that you may not be able to get what you want called Monsters University, and then they gave us a beautiful tale of how the emotions in your head work and what happens when change comes into and heavily affects your life, titled Inside Out. No, it's not films like Cars 2 that I think are toxic to American feature animation. No, it's innocuous little movies like Hop and The Lorax, even Despicable Me 2 to an extent. (I have yet to see Minions.) It's movies like The Smurfs, the Alvin and the Hipmunks movies, Legends of Oz, Escape from Planet Earth, even lesser DreamWorks fare like Turbo. You can make a silly, kid-friendly, meaningless romp good. But sometimes, those kinds of films feel like - despite the animators and artists giving it their all in the visual departments - they're just business-as-usual and impersonal. As if committees decided on things, not people genuinely wanting to tell decent-to-good stories. Cars 2 at least has Lasseter's automobile obsession written all over it, and some attempts at genuine fun.

Would I like to see Pixar do something lightweight like this again? Well, if they can do it good, yes. Again, I bring up something like A Bug's Life. It's a wafer compared to WALL-E and Inside Out and Ratatouille, but it's sincere and warm, with great characters, well-conceived scenes, inventive stuff, and a witty script that hardly misses a beat. I don't see much of a problem. If you can take something that's light as a feather, and do something that's somewhat cool with it, I'll admire the effort. Disney Feature Animation has some "nothing"-like films in their library, but I'll be the first to tell you that something like Robin Hood - which is episodic, lacks an emotional core or a theme, is very pieced-together, and has a half-assed ending - is pretty good purely on an entertainment level.

I've seen some people even say that Cars 2 is one of the worst animated films ever. I don't know, I think it stands above the recent animated films I just mentioned. It's nowhere near as bad or mediocre as the countless non-Disney animated films of the 90s that just didn't try, the likes of Don Bluth's post-All Dogs films (though I will give something like Rock-a-Doodle some kudos for having some of Bluth's trademark weirdness in it), The Swan Princess, WB's non-Iron Giant animated films, and so on. I think it's much better than the countless Pixar and Shrek wannabes of the last decade, including films like Happily N'ever After and Barnyard and stuff.

90% of the time I'm on the Internet and Cars comes up, I see it get greeted with this absolute level of contempt. I barely saw the Shrek franchise get that, or things like The Smurfs and The Lorax. Maybe it's because Cars is from such a universally loved and respected studio that continuously keeps reminding us in the modern day why animation is such a great art form. Like some say, if Cars wasn't Pixar, it simply wouldn't get this much flack. Look at the Planes movies, both DisneyToon. People in the know don't knock it as much because they aren't Pixar films. It also doesn't help that Disney loves Lasseter's auto-world series and markets the bejeezus out of it. I can see how that can get on some nerves, but it seems like the film series is just the worst thing ever to some.

Not to this writer.

Though I don't like the terms "overrated" and "underrated", I'm going to have to apply the latter to Cars 2. Letter grades? For me it's a solid C. Average. A little above passable, at least it does a little something that got my eyes and ears. I'd give it around a B if it weren't for those aforementioned issues.

In short, I like the film, I love the good stuff in it, I wish it could be better because I know it could've been much better, I don't understand the contempt the series as a whole gets because I love the first Cars, I think it's alright...

Cars 3. I didn't beg for one, but since it's a reality? Yeah sure, bring it on. Cars 3 is set to return to what I think makes the first film good, so I'm a bit excited and interested to see what direction they go with it. Room for improvement, no? Plus, it'll pocket Pixar some money that they can spend on another super-creative original film...

No comments:

Post a Comment