Truth and Movies

Cars 2

Review by Nell Frizzell @NellFrizzell

Directed by

Brad Lewis John Lasseter

Starring

Larry the Cable Guy Michael Caine Owen Wilson

Anticipation.

Pixar are fun aren’t they? With that funny bouncing lamp in the credits. And this Toy story short beforehand seems pretty nice.

Enjoyment.

Sweet turbo mother of fuel injections, what is this? What’s Allinol? Why is Eddie Izzard playing a Land Rover? Where’s my bus pass?

In Retrospect.

Driving is bad for the planet, but America is addicted to petrol. With politics like that, not to mention a plot made out of Turtle Wax, it’s no surprise the whole thing is such an ugly mess.

A long, meandering sub-James Bond pastiche set in the confounding world of talking cars.

Just occasionally a piece of animation will do something that completely blows your mind – Dick van Dyke leaping through the chalk drawing in Mary Poppins, The Beatles rocking up in The Jungle Book, the ‘camera’ panning back at the end of A Bug’s Life, the wife dying in Up.

That the automotive eyes in Cars 2 are windscreens rather than headlights provides one such moment. Unfortunately in this instance it’s one of gross displeasure. Anyone who has ever so much as looked at a car, even glanced at one in passing, knows that a car’s face features headlights for eyes, the grill for a nose and the number plate for a mouth. It worked for Herbie. What Pixar is doing transposing two roving, expressionless dots on to the flat, featureless expanse of the windscreen is anyone’s guess.

And that small but insurmountable detail speaks volumes about the giant international mess that is Cars 2. This isn’t a film – it’s a long, meandering sub-James Bond pastiche set in the confounding world of talking cars. There is even a British car that appears to have backed in from the set of The Avengers, leaving its script in the unisex toilet of a Happy Eater on the way over.

Quite who Cars 2 is aimed at is anyone’s guess. The fact that we have to endure a good 10-minute description of what a lemon suggests that the filmmakers have no faith in the car savviness of their audience. And yet this is a film all about cars – about Formula 1, the Grand Prix and those funny Eastern European imports that break down all the time (you know the ones).

It’s too long to be a children’s film and yet too bum-numbingly dull to be anything else. It is a film that nods (expressionlessly thanks to those swirling windscreens) towards ’60s British spy thrillers and yet the main relationship is lifted straight out of some hokey ‘Sweet Home Alabama’-style Hollywood movie about a city boy and his hick buds back home.

The fact that it is being released in 3D is just another nail in the coffin. Or should we say spanner in the gasket. Here’s hoping the Pixar wheels haven’t come off.

Published 22 Jul 2011

Tags: Disney John Lasseter Pixar

Anticipation.

Pixar are fun aren’t they? With that funny bouncing lamp in the credits. And this Toy story short beforehand seems pretty nice.

Enjoyment.

Sweet turbo mother of fuel injections, what is this? What’s Allinol? Why is Eddie Izzard playing a Land Rover? Where’s my bus pass?

In Retrospect.

Driving is bad for the planet, but America is addicted to petrol. With politics like that, not to mention a plot made out of Turtle Wax, it’s no surprise the whole thing is such an ugly mess.

Suggested For You

Cars

By Matt Bochenski

John Lasseter has described the film as ‘a present to the world’. You might want to keep the receipt.

review

Inside Pixar

By Adam Woodward

LWLies reports from the beguiling Bay Area basecamp of one of the world titans of feature animation.

Cars 3

By Elena Lazic

This latest Pixar sequel is a digitally-rendered blockbuster which celebrates the joys of the analogue world.

review

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

Editorial

Design