Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cars 2 on DVD

Although I normally love Pixar movies, I was dragging my feet on seeing this one. Cars is so over-popularized with all its little toys and accessories. Kids absolutely love it, so I guess I got it into my head that Cars was more of a kids' show even though I saw the first one and enjoyed it myself. Plus, I'm not a big fan of sequels. Sometimes they can be great, but in general, they try to do what the first one did, which is old news. But it was Pixar, so I got the DVD on Netflix.

I have mixed feelings about Cars 2. Overall, I wasn't impressed. It's a decent movie for a sequel but not on the same level as most Pixar movies. As my husband says, it lacks emotional gravity. The storyline is different enough from the first Cars. Lightning McQueen and Mater have a misunderstanding in their friendship, and when Mater accidentally gets involved with a group of spies, the distance between them widens. Meanwhile, as Lightning McQueen gets ready to try to win the World Grand Prix with a new environmentally friendly fuel source, a group of angry old cars attempts to destroy him and force all cars back to the dark ages of oil. It's up to Mater and his new spy friends to save McQueen and defeat the old cars' evil plot.

For all that plot, the spark that fills movies like Up and Wall-E and even Toy Story and its sequels just isn't there. But there's more to my ambiguous feelings. This movie is one that a lot of young kids will want to see or, really, have already seen. And I don't think it's a kids' movie. It's like a kiddie version of an adult spy movie. It's kind of violent at times, which surprised me. As an adult movie, it would be fine. My husband thinks maybe it was made for the first generation of Cars watchers, and since those kids have grown up some, the new movie was made a bit more grown-up for them. But if that's what the movie makers did, they blatantly ignored the fact that a whole new generation is watching Cars because it's inundated the toy market. My nephew is five and was so excited to see the new movie, but there are parts that really aren't appropriate for that age. There's violence and murder. One car falls to its death in the ocean and is broken into tiny pieces. Another car is tortured to death, though the torture element is greatly underplayed. It just doesn't seem right for a kids' movie.

The entertainment value is there but does not outweigh the PG violence (though the movie is somehow rated G), the lack of depth, and the preachy oil message in my mind. But it's still better than most animation. The attention to detail is amazing. Japan feels just like Japan (according to Nick, who's been there), and I'm sure the other two countries represented are similar. This isn't a bad movie for interested adults. Just be careful about exposing sensitive children to it.

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