It’s basically EuroTrip with cars, but not as good as that sounds.

Friday July 22nd 2011

Pixar are not infallible. We’ve known this for some time now. The first Cars movie is generally considered to be their lowest ebb, but most people will admit a bit of indifference towards even the most acclaimed of the studio’s films. So why every second fucker is queuing up to take potshots at Cars 2 is beyond me. Yes it’s silly and childish, but so were the talking dogs in Up. And no one seemed to mind movies with no sense of narrative progression when Toy Story 3 came out last year. Hear that, Toy Story 3? Burrrrrrrrrrrrrn.

Cars 2 kinda sorta picks up where its predecessor left off, with champion race car Lightning McQueen coming home to Radiator Springs and his best friend Mater after another successful tour. Before long though, McQueen disappears into the background as it emerges that this is ‘Mater’s Story’. That’s right, this is a $200 million blockbuster starring Larry the Cable Guy. Of Delta Farce fame. Here’s a little clip of his stand up, just in case you haven’t been subjected to seen it before:

(I can only assume that Andrew Dice Clay is in talks for the Monsters Inc. prequel.)

Abandoning the big-fish-in-a-small-pond structure of the first film, Cars 2 is — somewhat inexplicably — a jet-setting environmental spy thriller starring a redneck tow truck. And it’s every bit as confusing as that sounds. At no point is it entirely clear what’s going on, or why it’s going on, as Mater and pals travel across the globe uncovering some sort of conspiracy… or something.

The message of the film seems to be that you should accept people for who they are, i.e. Lightning McQueen should stop being embarrassed by Mater and learn to accept his reckless, destructive behaviour as some kind of charming quirk. But at the same time, the film also introduces the concept of ‘lemon’ cars, defective machines that are shown to be hopeless, clumsy and jealous of their fully-functioning peers. WELL DEAL WITH IT YOU DISABLED FUCKS! THIS IS A FILM ABOUT BEING YOURSELF AND YOUR SELVES HAPPENS TO BE PATHETIC.

Then again, we’re also told that the cars in the film can have body work done, engines changed and parts replaced, so what exactly gives a car its personality anyway? How much of the original car has to be taken away before it ceases to be that car at all? The whole thing’s basically Theseus’ paradox as performed by a cast of sentient automobiles. And people say it’s a kids film…

It’s questions like these that’ll make the film a frustrating one for anybody over the age of eight. Yes, it’s all very well suddenly announcing that Agent Holley Shiftwell is a ‘flying car’ but then why didn’t she use that particular ability earlier in the film when faced with almost certain death? Futhermore, how do the police cars in the film ever actually arrest anyone? Force them into the back seat? Isn’t that a bit rapey? And don’t get me started on the whole toilet situation.

That said, I didn’t hate it. Maybe as a result of my impossibly low expectations, or the temporary high that accompanies seeing any movie at 10am on a Sunday morning, Cars 2 washed over me quite happily. I just never, ever want to see it again.