Alan Smithee

Movie Review, Cars 2

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It’s hard to put my finger on what it is exactly, but you can always pick a Pixar movie over a competitor’s product. That’s not to say that Dreamworks isn’t capable of producing good animated features, but let’s face it, there’s always something magical about Pixar movies.

For years, I’ve harbored a grudge against Pixar for the one movie that I felt was their worst product, when come to find out that it’s actually not only a pretty decent movie, but a hell of a money maker for Pixar and Disney. The movie in question is Cars.
I’m serious, I avoided this movie like the plague because I thought that it was pandering to the NASCAR/Wal-Mart consumer crowd a bit to hard with the soundtrack full of country music and the mere inclusion of Larry “The Cable Guy”. Those two reasons were enough to keep me away for a long time…until I had a child of my own who didn’t come installed with such biases already installed.

I feel like I have to eat crow about all of the trash talking I did to a movie without actually watching it, something that I’ve been trying to remedy. It was a decent movie with great visual effects and really personable characters. Even the annoying Tow Mater, the bumbling idiot redneck stereotype, was pretty lovable. With that being said, I feel that I can now move onto the sequel.

Cars 2, a movie that when I saw the trailers I felt that it was going to be a groan worthy tacked on film that shamelessly told parents and kids alike that “You NEED to watch me, and buy my merch!”…thank Crom I was wrong, and wrong big time. The things that I hated about the first Cars movie were removed and the focus shifted from Wilson’s Lightning McQueen character to the much more deserving characters of Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) and Finn McMissile (Michael Caine). I kid you not, Caine’s portrayal of a British intelligence officer was the reason to watch this flick.

The story, one that I won’t spoil, revolves around the dreaded ‘big oil’ companies trying to tarnish the reputation for the the safer, cleaner competition called Allinol. In order to promote the new energy alternative, there is a world grand prix that is to take place that Lightning McQueen suddenly finds himself dragged into, willingly of course…all thanks to Mater and his big mouth.

That’s essentially the big plot out of the way, but let me warn you, this movie isn’t exactly creative as I’m sure many of you have seen this movie before whether it be parts of The Man With One Red Shoe or The Man Who Knew Too Little, we are once again fed a story that involves a character who isn’t a super spy being mistaken for one and love blossoming yadda yadda yadda, it’s a story we’ve heard before. I’ll say this though, what makes this movie work is the sense of humor that it has and the harrowing action sequences that had me excited for a good chunk of the film. There is more than one scene involving some extremely funny sight gags that take a second for your brain to process but ultimately will have you busting a stitch.

One thing that surprised me about this movie was the nonchalant way that they killed off characters. In the first movie, you had giant wrecks, but people still managed to walk away. This movie is surprisingly and refreshingly dark for a kids movie, especially the scene featuring Bruce Campbell. Trust me, you’ll say to yourself on more than one occasion “Wow, this is a movie for kids?”.

Let’s face it, even though it’s a tried and true storyline and just another spy movie, it’s completely worth seeing in the theater as there are some car racing scenes that would have been much less exciting without the great surround sound and 3D effects. Your kids will love it if they can sit still long enough to make it all the way through. It’s a long movie, but one that I’m sure you’ll love if you’re a Cars fan or at the very least a Pixar fan.

The biggest problem with the film is probably what I’d consider the forced sentimentality. Ok, we get it, Paul Newman isn’t around for this movie so his character got ‘retired’ meanwhile George Carlin’s character is still in the movie. It just makes no sense to me how one is allowed to pass away while the arguaby more important one just gets a new voice actor.

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