The first time I saw Cars, I absolutely hated it. Pixar simply remade Michael J. Fox’s comedy Doc Hollywood with talking vehicles. But when finally giving it a second viewing over four years later with my almost 4-year-old daughter, I realized that it isn’t as bad as I remembered. My daughter – a movie lover just like her old man – seemed to think it was pretty good, so I didn’t hesitate in bringing her with me to the Cars 2 screening this week.
Although the trailers for Cars 2 made it look absolutely terrible, I figured that Pixar changed the tone of Cars with 2 to give us a fun action movie that would make up for the original being such a dud. I was wrong. Cars 2 was just as unbearable for my daughter as it was for me. Two hours is a long runtime for a boring kid’s movie that hardly appeals to children. My daughter asked my wife to take her out of the theater halfway through to wander the halls poster-gazing so that she “wouldn’t fall asleep.” I almost needed to do the same thing myself.
Disney has put out better direct-to-DVD sequels than Cars 2 – which is exactly where Cars 2 belongs. The gimmick used for trying to make their Cars sequel work is placing the same cars characters in the middle of a typical James Bond plot, which give the impression that Pixar was either grasping at straws or simply did not care. No matter how successful the movie is, Cars 2 merchandise will earn Disney several billion dollars, so I’m lead to believe that they didn’t care.
One of the major reasons that Pixar has dominated the animated family film market for the last two decades is because of their high quality. Both the visual effects and storytelling are far superior to anything other animated studios have put out – until now.
While the visual quality of Cars 2 is extremely high, featuring the best use of 3D since Avatar, the storytelling is horrendous. The heart and soul that every Pixar feature has held is absent in Cars 2. The few times Cars 2 tries having a heart and moral, Pixar again feels like it was grasping at straws. Charm, laughs and originality are missing. The moral and tender moments feel extremely forced. There is nothing gained, only time and money wasted.
Bottom line, every boy ages 2-10 will love Cars 2. if you loved Cars, you might like Cars 2. If you hated Cars, be prepared to hate Cars 2 even more. It is a boring, unfun, unfunny, long, drawn-out and dumb way for Disney to make billions of dollars.
If you ask my daughter what her favorite part of the movie was, she will tell you “Woody and Jesse,” referring to the Toy Story Pixar short that rolls before Cars 2. When all a kid remembers about a two hour kid’s film is the five minute pre-show, you’ve got a problem.
Photo credit: Walt Disney