Unfortunately, this is one of those movies where I’m in agreement with the critics. Cars 2 just isn’t up to the usual Pixar standards. In fact, I’d say that it actually falls short even if you take away the positive bias that Pixar brings to the table.
They made 2 mistakes with the movie: first, they decided to shove the evil-oil-versus-the-environment storyline down the audiences throat; second, they used the wrong main character in the movie. The problem with the environmental storyline in a kids movie is it can’t be done properly for a kid. The subject doesn’t lend itself to telling a story like watching a character make choices and grow as the movie proceeds. The only way to tell an environmental story is to make a good guy/bad guy story with lots of talking about wrecking the planet. Note to movie makers- that bores the hell out of kids.
If there isn’t burping, farting, silly faces and slapstick scenes with good comedic timing, kids won’t respond. The writer that’s figured out how to mix all that into an environmental storyline hasn’t arrived on the scene yet.
The other problem with Cars 2 is that Mater is the main character. Now Mater is a great character to have in a story, but he isn’t the one to hang your hat on. The problem with Mater as lead character is there’s nothing wrong with Mater. He’s funny, he’s loyal, he doesn’t pretend to be anything more than he is. The mistakes Mater makes are because of his goofiness, not because of character flaws.
As a contrast, consider Lightening McQueen. He’s cocky, selfish and always worried about what everyone else is thinking. He makes mistakes constantly because his character compels him to. The first movie worked because it was a convincing story about how McQueen managed to keep his edge without being a completely self-absorbed jerk in the process.
The end result is a movie that’s long and tedious for an adult to sit through. Initially, I felt like the movie just needed a chance to hit it’s stride. Once it hit the halfway point, I realized I’d just have to grin and bear it. What’s more, the only life message the movie has to offer isn’t really worth sitting through the movie for. The most positive thing I could say about the movie is that the kids didn’t hate it. But they weren’t talking about their favorite scenes, or discussing what they thought was the funniest thing in the movie. Mainly, they were excited that they’d been taken to the movies.
The Wife and I, on the other hand, were considerably less so.
What can I say, it’s been a movie kind of weekend. While I’m at it, I’ll also say this one was the better of the two. In fact, it was downright hilarious.
I can’t really detail much of a plot because there really wasn’t one. It was one comedy sequence followed by another, with a bunch of common characters tying it all together. The comedy was all over the place: sight gags, puns, physical humor, farting and well-timed potty mouth language. The kids loved it. They were laughing almost as hard as I was.
Gru is the main character. A self-made super thief who wants to steal the moon. The only problem is the moon is really big, so he needs a shrink ray gun, but his arch-nemesis Vector gets there first. In order to get the gun back, Gru adopts 3 girls whom Vector let in to buy cookies from as part of a ploy to get into Vector’s compound and steal back the shrink-ray gun. Along the way, he trips over every possible parent-trap and is endlessly manipulated by the girls. Luckily he has his little yellow-minion dudes to kick around.
The comedy does slow down as the predicable affections for the girls unfold, at which point Vector becomes the punchline for much of the physical humor. Regardless, I’d enthusiastically recommend it for anyone with kids 5+. There’s plenty in this one for eerybody.
Took the kids to see Rio today. It’s a nice little movie, easily suitable for ages 5 and up. The lass loved it; the boy not so much. He liked the humor portion, but the relationship stuff bored him. I guess that makes him a typical 7 year old boy. The lass liked it so much she wanted to get the video already.
The gist of the movie is Rio is the last male “blue macaw” and he is taken from his cozy little existence in Minnesota to Rio to meet Jewel, the last female “blue macaw” in the hopes of fixing their species predicament. The problems arise in the form of a culture clash since Rio has never really known life without a caring human, while Jewel has never known captivity. Right about the time the two of them agree to disagree, some smugglers chain them together. From there on, it’s a typical love bird story.
The plot is spiced up with some help from a Tucan, some other plucky little birds, a Salsa loving bulldog and a rather nasty Cockatoo. Oh, and monkeys. A bunch of monkeys. And I’m not referring to the humans in the story.
While the relationship humor is somewhat over the kids’ heads, the physical humor certainly wasn’t, judging by the frequent laughter coming from them. There’s just enough there for adults and the story is well executed enough to make it an enojoyable 90 minutes. The 3-D aspect of the movie isn’t really important, though it does provide for some remarkable flying sequences. Of course, for just shy of $50 to see the movie, I’d say it’s perfectly understandable to wait for it to come out on DVD or BR.
Awhile back, the Wife had purchased Megamind. It’s a Dreamworks computer animated movie. We figured it would be a good movie for the kids; however, because it’s rated PG we figured we ought to do our diligence and screen it ahead of time.
I’ll say upfront that I was unaware of the casting prior to watching it. Had I been aware of it, I would in all likelihood have been more averse to watching it at all. Having seen it now, don’t, if you’re not a Will Ferrell or a Tina Fey fan, let the casting affect your decision to watch it. I found the movie entertaining and never once suspected they were in it. So from my standpoint, their brand of humor does not detract from the movie one bit.