Looking at those Cars eyes is worse than having no remnant of Pixar at all this year.
With this sequel to last summer’s spin-off from the franchise that descended from Pixar’s Cars, the World of Cars has left behind not only stock cars, the open road, specific real-world settings and Larry the Cable Guy, but racing itself. Practically nothing is left of John Lasseter’s original vision, except those blasted windshield eyeballs. In this melancholy year without Pixar, it’s worse than no reminder at all.
It may be Pixar Ultra-Lite, but Disney’s Planes is a pleasant change of pace from the likes of The Croods and Turbo.
Both the big race and international flavor recall Cars 2 as well as DreamWorks’ Turbo, the protagonist of which had the same personal crisis as Dusty, a longing for speed he wasn’t built for. Yet Planes, in its modest way, cannily avoids the pitfalls that made those films unsatisfying.
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.
With Cars 2 approaching this weekend, I thought I’d take a look back at Cars, easily Pixar’s least impressive and celebrated film since their second picture, A Bug’s Life.
Cars is Pixar’s most improbable success to date, a film that could easily have misfired, but somehow does not.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.