I fell asleep halfway through.
To be quite honest, this is the worst Pixar movie ever made, which is not particularly bad as it is just an overall lazy composition and execution of a blockbuster film. Yet that does not frighten me. I am completely positive that the majority of their future projects will be on par with Toy Story or Up in terms of emotional depth and family entertainment. Why is this, you ask? Simply because of the case concerning the first Cars film. When I saw that movie, I enjoyed it a good amount but didn’t feel it was on par with Toy Story, and I was around 12 at the time. Critically, it was of the same tone. The huge rift that occurred between this and other Pixar films that proves the ulterior motive for the franchise is the marketing. There has been no other film of their that had been merchandized with such aggression as Cars- toys, video games, party accessories, pens, pencils, backpacks, shoes, clothes, TV specials, you name it, they factored it into that line of revenue.
It is easy to see why this film was treated as such when you analyze the film. It is about an arrogant racecar who finds himself stuck in a podunk American town, surrounded by a bevy of stereotypical personalities. He is at first hardened, then warms up as he makes friends. He then goes back into the spotlight and wins a big race. Now compare that to Toy Story, where a cowboy doll struggles with loneliness and anger over the fact that his owner made nice with a more advanced machine than he, tries to commit homicide, gets in a fight with said toy, is left abandoned miles away from home, and fights his way out of a juvenile delinquent’s seedy den of torment. Yeah, Cars is a much more accessible and direct film in the Pixar collection.
Another point of view, focus on the characters. The directors took the guff and made sure that an obvious behavior and vocal talent was affixed to each car relative to the country of origin or cultural significance. What does this mean? The Volkswagen is a mellow “tree hugger.” The jeep is a raspy commander. The Fiat mumbles on in Italian when emotionally inclined, despite the fact that no one speaks it. Mater is a honky-tonk, rootin’-tootin feller jus’ lookin’ fer a gud tahm, and the lowrider is voiced by Cheech Marin. Obviously the bulk of the general public will find cultural stereotypes amusing, as diversity is supposed to be a good thing, even if it’s at the expense of truth.
The racing aspect is also important, if not the most integral aspect of the franchise. NASCAR racing, being associated with the hard-working citizens or simply conservative America, is the sport that evokes patriotism the most. Not to get political, but their fanbase is certainly considered to be a wealth of Republicans, all of whom favor tradition and values. The American values, of course, are triggered by the wave of a flag or the sound of well tuned engine going 200 miles per hour around an oval for 4 hours (I kid, but you get the point). The setting of Cars, a small town littered with mom & pop stores close to defaulting due to the big government infrastructure redirecting customers, will surely ring true for this demographic, at least subliminally, and I am sure that Larry the Cable Guy’s proximity to family entertainment is more than enough to get them on board for this film.
So when I say that it does not frighten me about the noticeable lack of dynamic characters, smooth plotting, and unique storyline, understand that I am suggesting that this was a conscious move by Pixar to fill their coffers for later projects. After all, there’s no way their creative team overlooked the easily manageable Incredibles sequel, which would have been better than this film in spades based on premise alone. Watch it if you’d like, or save your money for something better, like… Transformers 2… ugh.
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