I was really in anticipation of Cars 2 even though many do not rate the first movie particularly highly. Sure it isn't Toy Story but even so as a lesser Pixar outing Cars is a really good animated feature. In many respects with it being five years between sequels I was quietly hoping that just maybe in this era of mandatory part 2's, 3's, etc Cars may have just bucked the trend and been left alone.
Not to be though and in all reality I should have known better! So I went along several hours ago and forked out $17!!!!!!!!!!!! for a pair of ill-fitting 3-D glasses and settled in for what I hoped would be and a very enjoyable 1 1/2 hours of animated fun. Well I came out replete and with a small grin on my face. For the first time in weeks Hollywood dished up something that was worth while watching and which didn't insult my intellect in the process. My grin was a bit wry though because in the back of mind I was thinking how bad it is that an animated feaure with a target base of kids offered me more than an adult orientated movie.
What I've always admired about animation is the absolute unlimited boundaries it opens up for a movie makers imagination. This is what is lacking in mainstream movies today, just the pure use of imagination. If animation can do it so consistently why can't mainstream?? The scope is endlesss and yet the same movie gets played week in week out. The lack of original thinking is appaling which thankfully animation seems to thumb its nose at.
Cars 2 satified me in everyway. It had the usual mesage for the kids in the form of environmental issues and the value of friendship. I do like this as it brings worldy issues to a kids level of understanding about the world they live in. I think it takes a great deal of skill to do this and the script writers must be commended for it as it isn't cheesy, convoluted or have a political under tone. It is done so the kids can grasp the message at their level without boring or insulting them. But best of all it is entertaining and fun..
For the adults there is plenty on offer for them to. Any James Bond fan will really dig the Bond homage here as one character is very much a caricature of 007. He has all the gadgets imaginable, the English voice of Michael Caine, and he he has a beautiful sexy female side kick called Miss Sideshift. Any Bond fan will recognise the slight play on some of the Bond girls names there! The movie starts with a very Bond like mission and throughout the Bond situations are clearly recognisable. It is really alot of fun because along the way Tow Mater is accidently caught up in it all and mistaken for a secret agent. Suffice to say many hilarious mis-haps occur as he bumbles his way towards saving the day. ( This is a genuine homage to because it uses Bond like situations without being Bond. J J Abrams could learn something here in what homage actually means after his dumb virtual ET/The Goonies re-make ).
Virtually from word go the movie has a fast and furious pace. Honestly there was no time to breath as one fast scene after another erupted from the screen. At no time did it slow for any sentimentality in getting across its core message of friendship. It was all done in a fast, frenzy paced way that was a lot of fun and without losing sight in what it wanted to say. The humour is what you would expect of a Pixar feature and provided plenty of sight gags to please young and old. But it also had a multitude of tounge in cheek jokes for the adults. I had a ball and was constantly laughing throughout. Again the originality was palpable and oh so re-freshing.
On really nice touch which I was really impressed with was how the makers dealt with Doc Hudson, who of course was voiced by the late Paul Newman. When the first scene in Radiator Springs comes up it finds Lightning McQueen and Mater in a Doc Hudson museum, and McQueen saying a few words on Hudson's influence etc on him. It was a lovely scene and a fantastic in house tribute from Pixar to Paul Newman. Kudos all round and I'm really impressed how quickly they wrote Hudson out yet quietly acknowlegding and respecting Newman in the process. I'm sure all Paul Newman fans who watch this segment will agree it was a touching well done final tribute.
As you also may be aware there is a very short Toy Story feature before Cars 2 starts. It is less than 10 minutes long. It isn't anything special as such but it is always nice to see 'the gang' in action. I suppose since the target audience is mainly the kiddies then I have to add in what their reaction was. On the whole it seemed very favourable. I know if a feature doesn't engage them then there is alot of talking, fidgeting and general unrest, but right throughout Cars 2 there wasn't anything of this and I think it shows that the feature found its mark. I think the fast pace had so much to do with this and it must have really dazzled the little ones.
In short then I absolutely enjoyed Cars 2 and recommend you go and see it. I very much doubt it will disappoint in any way. Bond fans will love the secret agent angle and the in-house Bond gags. The pacing is full on and just wonderful. It doesn't let up and is just pure entertainment for all. This is how a movie should be made, with care, originality and thought towards the audience about what you are giving them. The quality of Cars 2 is very high and a shining example of what is wrong with mainstream movie making today. Animation take a bow.
Another charming fun filled animated feature from Pixar which I think all will enjoy immensely. Hope in, buckle up, and enjoy the ride!!!