We have been Pixar fans since the very beginning with “Toy Story”. They give a good, fun story with rich characters; throw in some things the adults can appreciate (like all the old toys in that movie, and the answer to your childhood suspicions about your toys — hey, I know I left that toy over here… how’d it get over there?); put it all in beautiful, highly detailed animation; and (usually) leave out stuff like politics and environmentalism. (Hey, I said “usually” — don’t get on me about “WALL-E”, which, in spite of the environmentalism, was a very cute movie.)
So, for some time now, we’ve closed our eyes and plunked down the money once every year or so to take the whole family (6 of us now, with my uncle) to the theater. Last year, our only choice was 3-D, unless we wanted to go way out of town. This year, we had the option of either version, but went with 3-D anyway, for the sake of the kids.
So we went to see “Cars 2″, and got in almost late. The theater was way busier that day than we had ever seen it before. We had seen the previews, and the kids had even collected codes from Kellogg cereals to get points for language translators that were being offered (among other things). We ordered the translators just the other day. For once, I participated in one of these things, figuring if they wanted language translators, that was not a bad thing.
Hopefully, the translators (when they get here sometime in the next 90 days) won’t be a disappointment, because, for once, the Pixar movie was.
Don’t get me wrong, “Cars 2″ was a cute movie. But that’s really all I can say about the story itself. It was not what we’ve come to expect from Pixar.
Toy Story 1, 2, and 3 — A Bug’s Life — Monsters, Inc. — Finding Nemo — The Incredibles — Cars — Ratatouille — WALL-E — Up — What made these movies so good? Brilliant graphics and amazing detail in abundance, yes, but what made them excellent was character development, plausibility (yes, even in a movie about talking fish), and well-thought-out themes of friendship, family, endurance, overcoming adversity, and fighting evil. All this, with no vulgarity. The occasional girl-boy stuff is fleeting and non-sexual.
So what went wrong with “Cars 2″?
It had the brilliant graphics and amazing detail a good bit of the time. We struggled with some blurriness in a good bit of it. I saw someone else’s comments on it that stated that they had watched the 2-D version, and had the blurriness there, too. I thought it was just a sloppy 3-D job, but apparently not. The character development was nearly non-existent. Plausibility was pretty much zero, which I already had figured out from the previews, but I was willing to give them that in exchange for all the other stuff that makes an excellent movie. It’s a James Bond movie done with talking cars, and Mater as an accidental spy. You’re plausibility’s automatically gone. LOL
Unfortunately, there was very little to exchange the lack of plausibility for. There was a weak lesson in friendship, and not expecting a friend to be something they aren’t. Other than that, it was action, action, action, and Mater’s social blunders… and Sally’s fixation with an Italian car’s open wheels. The movie seemed geared more toward the adults than to the kids. It contained many things that were main themes, that were things pretty much only adults would get. Lemon cars, like Gremlins, Pacers, and Yugos… kids aren’t going to remember these (I even needed help from Shay). The lemons were a big theme, but only the adults will get it. The oil/alternative theme was big, too. I’m guessing more of the kids got this one, with all the environmentalism they are taught in public schools.
The result? Other than an occasional chuckle, not much laughter from the audience. The absence of children’s laughter was telling. They didn’t enjoy this movie like they had previous Pixar movies, and it was obvious.
Such a shame. I hope Pixar realizes and corrects their mistakes before releasing their next offering to the theaters.