Cars 2 – Don’t do!

Posted by admin on June 25th, 2011 filed in Beren, General, Movies

This contains very mild spoilers for Cars 2.

Beren has been very excited to see Cars 2. You can’t walk into any sort of retail environment without being bombarded with the merchandising, so he knew it was time for the movie to come out. I took him to see it today. He was bouncing-off-the-walls excited.

And then we were so disappointed.

First, let me tell you how much I loved the first Cars movie. It’s been a favorite in our house ever since Gerry and Mike got it for Beren on his 2nd birthday. It was visually stunning, emotionally satisfying, and fun for adults and children to watch. Great movie. One of the things I appreciate most about it is that it’s not full of bad guys and good vs. evil like pretty much every other kids’ movie made today. There weren’t any bad guys (well, maybe Chick Hicks, but he’s just a bully, not an arch enemy) and no one has to get killed for McQueen to be the hero. It’s about his journey and how he changes himself. I like that kind of movie. It’s something I can feel good about the kids watching.

Well, Cars 2 was not that. Not being like the first one isn’t reason enough not to like it. It supplied plenty of reasons for that. It was some amazing animation, but that doesn’t make up for the confusing plot and sorry script.

Cars was about slowing down and really seeing something from a different point of view, and appreciating it. I think a lot of people enjoyed that. So the obvious thing to do for Cars 2 was to speed it up and add non-stop action! Maybe they thought mostly kids would be watching it and that they needed rapidly changing scenes to accommodate short attention spans? Who knows. It was still pretty tedious in some places.

I really appreciated the lack of violence in Cars. About the worst that happens is the car crash on the race track and The King’s accident. Those were tense, but they weren’t quite the same as characters shooting at one another. Cars 2 is full of weapons and violence and pain. I’m not really opposed to this sort of thing, except it is so different from what I really liked about the first movie. I mean, this movie had several cars dying violent deaths, including one car who is tortured with a beam that’s microwaving him from the inside and eventually he bursts into flames and dies. Based on the first installment, I expected this movie to have a certain level of family-friendliness, and it didn’t. Do we really need all this stuff to be entertained?

Mater was pretty much the main character in this one. Ugh. I thought he was fine as a sidekick/occasional comic relief sort of character, but I never wanted to see him center stage. Those short episodes they did with him were enough.

A big part of the movie was the use of organic, clean fuel vs. fossil fuels. Does a hot debate like that really have a place in a kids’ movie? Can’t we just enjoy a fun summer film without that sort of thing? If they wanted a deeper meaning in the movie, maybe they should have made this one a little more like the first one and included some way for us to feel emotionally connected to the characters. Their lame attempt at it was to point out that sometimes friends fight and you shouldn’t try to change people. Or something. Oh, and that getting made fun of isn’t a reason to make cars burst into flames.

And spies? Really? I think part of the fun of watching spy movies is that you can see real people do all those stunts with all their fancy gadgets. Real people had to learn those moves, develop the muscle to pull it off, and then practice it over and over until it looked that good. This movie had a lot of animated cars doing stunts with fancy car mounted gadgets. I appreciate the incredible animating job and how good the whole movie looked, but it’s really not that exciting to see a cartoon character do stunts. They were drawn that way; of course they can execute the moves and look good doing it!

Well, sadly, I could go on. You get the point though. It was a really disappointing movie for me. I expected better from Pixar. This is what we waited 5 years for? I think the giggling little car on the screen in the Japanese bathroom was the only part that got a real laugh out of me. At least the Toy Story short film at the beginning was really cute and funny.

Right after the movie, I took Beren on the carousel to help dampen the disappointment. He seemed to enjoy going to the theater and seeing Lightning McQueen on the big screen. However, he was fidgeting and sighing the way he does when he has to sit still and doesn’t want to. He didn’t want to see the end and we left before it was completely over. Tonight he was playing with his Cars that Mum Mum got him for Christmas, so I think he still had a good experience of it.

2 Responses to “Cars 2 – Don’t do!”

  1. jo Says:

    Totally agree and so did Abby. She must have asked to leave four times. She has been playing with her Lego Mater ever since though… I was pretty bored by all the chase scenes too. Tim says Pixar recycled a lot of backgrounds from other movies, and that looks lazy.

    I agree about character development. When you start suspending reality so much (as with the endless gadget assisted getaways in endless chases) the characters just start seeming cliche an nothing about them rings true or unique. There is never any question that the heros will escape and win at that point. You are just waiting to see how clever the gadget is. It gets so tediously boring when that happens.

  2. Jo Says:

    Super 8, Oh YES DO!!!!!!