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“Cars 2” talkback

Variety loved it. Maltin hated it. What did you think?

Me? I set the bar pretty low and wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I’d be. On the plus side, this is one slick piece of family entertainment, with visual opulence to spare. Great action sequences and yeah, even a few laughs. On the downside, the story (Pixar’s usual strong suit) was surprisingly cliche. For this film, you have to buy into the world of “Cars” or you might as well go home. There isn’t the emotional pull of the previous several Pixar blockbusters, and no relatable characters – just regional stereotypes (and several annoying ones at that). Oh, and be sure to understand that this is a “Mater” Movie. He’s the star, not Lightning McQueen.

The spy stuff is fun, but I couldn’t help wondering if this story would’ve been more fun if it were enacted by human characters. My biggest disappointment: Cars 2 feels like the first Pixar picture aimed at children exclusively. Before, audiences were delighted that a Pixar family film could be so sophisticated. Here, Pixar’s made a children’s film first, with numerous references to things children won’t understand.

There’s an old Hollywood saying I just made up: “When in doubt have a character fall into a tub of shit”. Nice to see Pixar include such a scene here. Here’s my prediction: this film will get Pixar’s poorest critical reception, and it’ll be Pixar’s all-time biggest moneymaker.

So, is it the “Best Cars movie Ever?” or has Cars run out of gas? Now it’s your turn. As with all of our other talkbacks, please comment only if you’ve seen the film.