Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cars 2

A friend of mine sagely observed on Facebook that if Cars 2 was a live action movie starring real people, there'd be no way it'd get a G rating. And she is absolutely right. But I suppose if your movie stars anthropomorphic cars, it's all good.

Lightning McQueen, now a successful Piston Cup champion, is invited to take part in a race to promote a new alternative fuel. Much to his chagrin, his best friend Mater comes along for the trip. Mater is the epitome of what you might call an ugly American (car). He sticks out like a sore thumb in Tokyo, the first location for the race. But bizarrely, Mater is mistaken for a secret agent, one working to stop a secret cabal of cars determined to stop the race and discredit the new fuel.

In some ways, this was an okay movie. It was entertaining and a good send-up of spy flicks. But it definitely didn't rise to the level of other Pixar movies. I think its real problem was that it was lacking in heart. There was no overarching "deeper theme," no tug at the heart-strings that I've come to expect from the wizards of Pixar.

Another problem was Mater himself. While Mater was certainly funny and a large part of the first movie, he got a little grating after a while in the second.

What really surprised me was the sheer level of violence in this movie. Like my friend Carrie sagely observed, if these were people and not cars, this would have been rated much higher. Lots of death, and in some cases, violent death, was casually thrown throughout the movie. I'm not sure what my son made of this. He's four and I suspect this is the most violence he's seen in a movie, like, ever.

So I don't know. A mostly fun movie, an unworthy successor for the original, a movie filled with lots of cars getting blown to bits. Not the highlight of the summer for sure.

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