At some point, alas, it becomes apparent that Turbo’s more daring elements are all surface, and the story is locked into a well-worn path to an all-too-obvious destination. Writing about Monsters University, I noted that, like many other Pixar films, it pours cold water on the familiar family-film platitude that you can achieve anything you put your mind to if you just want it enough. Turbo embraces the platitude.
Fast & Furious 6 in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.
Visuals aside, Cars 2 is the first Pixar film ever (or at least since A Bug’s Life) that could one could easily imagine as a DreamWorks film—circa Shark Tale perhaps, with its punningly fishified analog of the human world. Or, with its frenetic action and gimmickry, Cars 2 bears some resemblance to a Blue Sky Studios cartoon (circa Robots, say, or Rio, with its world culture flavor). In a word, not only is Cars 2 mediocre, it doesn’t even feel like mediocre Pixar.
The Old Testament book of Job may be an unlikely source for an epigram for a feel-good Disney sports movie, but Secretariat screenwriter Mike Rich (The Nativity Story) has a good reason for going to this least feel-good of all biblical books. If God wasn’t actually thinking of Secretariat when he challenged Job in chapter 39, at least Secretariat was about as perfect an embodiment of what God had in mind, not only when he spoke to Job, but when he created the horse in the first place.
Cars is Pixar’s most improbable success to date, a film that could easily have misfired, but somehow does not.
Seabiscuit canters handsomely around the track less like a scrappy race horse than a slightly overfed show horse, playing to the crowd, confident that there’s no real competition breathing down its neck. It is right.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.