That joke in the post title is never going to get old. Well, until there is nobody alive who remembers that movie.
Anyway, we went to see Cars 2 today, and even with all the bad reviews out there, we didn't die. Hell, we didn't even hate it. Believe me, we've seen so much worse. So, what is the deal with the reviews? Well, I have a few ideas.
First, check out the review from Linda Holmes on the NPR Monkey See Blog. She points out many of the things I was thinking. Cars 2 is probably the most straight forward kids movie that Pixar has ever done. Sure, there are some things for the adults to enjoy, some of the character's names, the scenery and even some of the voice actors. (That was Bruce Campbell!) But, overall this was really aimed at the kids so they can see the cars zoom around the track and, especially, to see one of Mater's Tall Tales in a long format.
Anyone who has kids has seen these Mater's Tall Tales on Disney Channel, well this is the same thing except expanded to a full feature. We should have seen this coming. Now, I'm not going to pretend that Mater is my favorite Cars character, but he is no Jar Jar Binks. I didn't want to shoot myself while watching it. The kids love Mater though. He's the village goof that the kids can laugh at since he says, and does, silly things all the time. Why wouldn't they make him the central character, it is a kids movie after all?
So, what is Car 2 really? I like to think that it is a action/spy movie for kids. It has all the cool locations, the cool gadgets and the bad guys from some vaugely eastern European country. Also, it has a convoluted plot that doesn't make much sense. But, what Spy movie doesn't have a nonsensical plot? Have you ever seen The Tailor of Panama? Do you know what happened in it? Neither do I, and I watched the whole thing. Also, pretty much any James Bond movie. We adults don't watch spy/action movies for plot, we watch them for, well, the action and the cool gadgets. So, why should Cars 2 be any different?
Oh, yes, it's a Pixar movie so there has to be some deep underlying emotion to it, or something like that. Why? Why can't they just make a fun movie for kids to enjoy? Actually, after I watched the movie it reminded me of one of my favorite cartoons as a kid. It think it was from Hanna-Barbera, where the taxi cab and his wife had a baby car. The baby car wants to be a dragster and his dad is pissed. They end up making up after the boy saves his dad's life. I liked it because it was about cars that were like people. Kids love that stuff. They don't need anything more. The adults do.
I saw in the Chicago Tribune that they gave it 1 1/2 stars today and that is what got this blog post started. They really want me to believe that Mr. Poppers Penguins is a better movie? Come on! I bet if this same movie was released by DreamWorks it would get at least 2 1/2 stars. (Plus more fart jokes). Yes, Pixar has made some great movies, but could this be that much worse than the previous Cars movie? Or is this a bit of, "Let's knock the big guy down because this wasn't awesome?"
Based on my kid's reactions, it seems like the latter. I'm not saying Cars 2 should get four stars or anything, but I think some critics are beiong overly harsh because it is a Pixar movie and they expect more. It's a movie about cars that are like people. We are not talking Citizen Kane here.
Oh, did I like it? Yes, it thought it was fine. No worse than the first Cars movie. It certainly looked incredible. Speaking of which, when do we get Incredibles 2?
The Toy Story short was good, too. Just go take the kids to see the movie already. Your next movie you'll be dragged to is probably going to be the Smurfs. We all know how great that will be.
(Where there enough rehtorical questions in this post? See, I can't stop. What is wrong with me? Stop it!)