Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cars 2

So let's begin with my usual fashion with brutal honesty:  "Cars 2" sucks.  I knew I would never like this movie, but I had no idea that Lil' Bro wouldn't like it either.  I never was going to see this movie until Lil' Bro saw a trailer for the film and looks up at me with the sweet innocent that only a three-year-old can conjure and says "I want to see 'Cars 2'...".  Then I was stuck, I had to see this goddamn movie.  Friggin' Lil' Bro.  Its not going to be long before he realizes that I can never say no to him.

Well, in the end, Lil' Bro hated this movie more than I did.  Like every kid ever, he likes "Cars 1".  However, during the entirety of "Cars 2" he didn't giggle once.  He was rolling in his seat when Kung Fu Panda was getting hit in the face with shop signs, but in this movie he found the chair to be more interesting than the movie.  Oh and "Kung Fu Panda 2" is the better movie.  By the end he started crying a bit and wanted to be gone.  He was bored the whole movie.  Lil' Bro wanted to see Lightning McQueen being cool... he didn't get it.  Instead Larry the Cable Guy is the star.  By tonight, he'll have completely forgotten about this film.

The Internet hates "Cars", and I guess for good reason.  I never bothered to see the whole thing because it was just plain boring, I made it like ten minutes before wishing I could give the bootleg disc back to the elderly Chinese lady who sold it to me in Chinatown.  But "Cars 2" is even worse than that, because its stars Larry the Cable Guy.  Yeah, "Cars 2" is actually "Larry the Cable Guy:  Dumb-Wheel Drive".

Honestly I don't even want to talk about "Cars 2" really, so I'll talk instead about the parts of the movie that were vastly superior first:  namely the parts that aren't actually the movie.  The trailer for "Brave" looked really awesome, like a Pixar take on "The Secret of Kells".  There isn't much in it, just a red-haired girl riding a horse and shooting an arrow at a big scary bear, but that's enough to get me excited.  Its something dark, something that isn't entirely a stupid comedy - something that isn't this.  Why can't I watch the hardcore fantasy movie now??  Oh well...   Then there was a trailer for "Winnie the Pooh", a movie that I really can't take Lil' Bro to because I'll probably be spending the whole film crying my eyes out.  Something about that film's sincere look a childhood imagination brings up all the worst parts of my recent loss, I don't know what or how.  I just cry when I see that stuff.

The other good part of "Cars 2" was the opening short.  It wasn't a totally brilliant mixture of 3D and 2D animation like "Toy Story 3"'s "Night and Day" was, but it was funny enough.  It was an epilogue to the Toy Story trilogy, starring Ken and Barbie as they stage a Hawaiian vacation.  The little girl they now all belong to is going on vacation with her parents, and so the toys that are left behind get to enjoy themselves alone.  It wasn't very creative, but it was a nice showcase of the funny, likeable, and well-rounded characters that make up the Toy Story franchise.  And that's as far as you can get from "Cars 2" as possible with its dull, unfunny, and one-dimensional cast.  Me and Lil' Bro were rolling in laughter at this short, it was great.  (Totoro oddly enough wasn't shown, leaving me to suspect that Bonnie took him with her to Hawaii.  She must be a huge Studio Ghibli fan.)

And now... sadly... I think I have to talk about "Cars 2" more.  As you can tell, there is nothing on Earth that I'd rather talk about than "Cars 2".  Its not a very interesting subject.  Its not a very interesting movie, period.  Ultimately I'll say this:  it wasn't as bad as the reception leads you to think.  I mean, its so below Pixar standards as to be an insult to everybody who ever thought their name was a standard for unquestionable quality, but its not an unholy movie.  Pixar's myth of invincibility is shattered, definitely, but I can't go ahead and say this is say, "Robots" bad.  "Cars 2" at its core, is like a mediocre DreamWorks movie, in that its entire plot only exists as a weird frame to have a large collection of car gags.  And the sad fact is, they're mostly not funny.  The characters don't really do or learn anything, they're only here to make humor somehow.

Larry the Cable Guy, of course, is not funny.  Owen Wilson, of course, is not funny.  The Cars series is already 0 for 2 when it comes to leads.  But Larry the Cable Guy is that special kind of unfunny that makes things that should be funny not funny.  I never laughed this entire movie, even at stuff that would have made me laugh in other contexts.  Lightning McQueen has an evil Italian rival who is basically a completely insufferable douche, yet his lines couldn't make me laugh.  I wanted to laugh, I felt the emotion to laugh, but I physically couldn't do it because two minutes earlier I saw Larry the Cable Guy-mobile eating Wasabi and thinking it was Ice Cream.  He's an idiot, he only exists to be stupid, you don't make this thing of person your hero.  You shouldn't make characters like this at all!  Larry the Cable Guy-mobile has no character arc to learn, except maybe some kind of bizarre focus group-friendly moral of "its okay to be different".

Well, if you're Larry the Cable Guy-mobile, its NOT okay to be different, okay?!  You better stop being different and start conforming!  Get rid of that stupid fake Southern accent, clean up your rust, get rid of the dents, and be normal.  Stop being annoying!  That goes for Larry the Cable Guy in real life too.  He should just stop in general.

I kinda see what Pixar wanted to do with "Cars 2", and there are indeed some interesting ideas behind the production.  Its not like a world where vehicles are alive is naturally a bad idea for a film, this is the premise of "Thomas the Tank Engine".  In "Cars 2" the most creative idea is:  what if we made a movie about James Bond's car or the Batmobile coming to life?  And for one thing, that's a really cool idea.  The opening has Michael Caine-mobile grappling hooks out and doing car-fu and turning into submarines, that was cool.  I said "if the rest of the movie is like this, I'm there.  Cars or no Cars, this is shaping up to be a damn fine spy movie."  It was really clever I thought when the evil thugs were all infamous shit cars like Yugos and Gremlins*.  Then Larry the Cable Guy-mobile shows up with Lightning McQueen and the rest of the movie is dull and boring and stupid.

Not to mention that the main villain's plan doesn't actually make all that much sense.  In what might be an aborted attempt to commentary on the oil crisis, "Cars 2" features a plot about evil villains trying to sabotage the debut of some alternative fuel.  This time I don't think Pixar actually had anything to say about the modern Energy Crisis but were instead cynically trying to make their movie seem a bit more meaningful than it actually was.  Yeah, as it turns out, the new fuel is actually a fake, and the evil mastermind is in fact that guy who made the alternative energy in the first place, apparently to make alternative energy look bad.  So every car in a planet where cars are the dominant form of life completely bought this line about Rain Forest Fuel?  This isn't simply gas, this is their very sustenance, and nobody but Lightning McQueen's moron redneck friend could figure out that the new fuel wasn't real?  Its like if Soylent Green in the real world was people!  Also the main villain's plan seems to entail him losing an obscene amount of money when he has the resources to more simply develop an alternative fuel.  At the end, a hippie car** makes some Bio-fuel in a few minutes.  The villain-mobile could have marketed that and made tons of money anyway.  His plan is stupid.

At one point in this movie I spotted a movie theatre (drive-in, of course) showing a movie called "The Incredimobiles".  No no no, Pixar.  Please do not remind me of the much better movie I could be watching.

This whole movie is stupid.  You'd think with Pixar's unprecedented blank check in Hollywood to do basically any movie they want on any subject they want, they would try a bit harder than "Cars 2".  This movie was never going to shoot out of the park, but making Larry the Cable Guy the lead... that's film suicide.  You might as well have made a movie starring Jar Jar Binks!  Its not as bad as "Delta Farce" or "Witless Protection" but who cares?  This movie is boring!  Its a horrifically uncreative film from the best studio in Hollywood.  I know somebody might say "oh, but Blue, this film wasn't made for you."  Well, I only went to make Lil' Bro happy, and he didn't like it.  A three-year-old is the prime audience here, what is that supposed to say?  "Brave" might save the day for them, but "Cars 2" is a stain that never comes out.

And now they announce "Monster's Inc 2".  What the Hell?  Pixar, what is this?  Stop wasting our time with sequels to movies that were perfectly fine in the first place and get back to what you're good at.  Leave the selling out to DreamWorks.

* Sadly no Morris Marinas.  It would have been a great joke to drop a piano on a Marina in proper "Top Gear" fashion.

** That hippie car was played by the late great George Carlin before he died.  Now he's replaced with some nobody.  Paul Newman's car was shown to have died between films (a turn of events that in a sane universe would have killed this franchise).  But George Carlin doesn't get the respect of getting his character retired, nope just find a new voice actor who works cheap.


  1. your' little bro didn't giggle? that sucks

  2. You don't like Monsters, Inc? It's not nearly as deep as most of Pixar's stuff, yeah, but it's not Cars-level weak! At least it has some actual emotion and good characters.

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