That’s What She Said: Cars 2
Cars 2, where do I begin…let me start out by saying that, like every Pixar movie this one also made me cry. But not in the “Go have your own adventure,” kind of way. No sir, I cried because laid out in front of me on a 2-story screen I witnessed the brutal murder of one of my favorite stories of all time. I can’t…I can’t…I can’t go on…but I must (wipes tears).
I knew from the very first preview that this was not going to go well. I didn’t want to see it, I knew it was gonna be a horrible movie but it’s Pixar and I had to go see it for the sake of you the reader so you wouldn’t have to subject yourself. Seriously, don’t subject yourself or your children to this bastard of a flim. This movie was so bad and so far from the tone of the original that I had to go back and watch Cars again just to try and wash the gruesome images of the sequel out of my mind. The problem with that was that I cried even more while watching the original because I realized just how much I hate the sequel and everything it stands for.
If you recall, the original opened with tight shots on Lightning McQueen’s body, the stadium lights glistening on his red paint, the screech of tires the roar of the crowd and one great race to the finish for the coveted Piston Cup. The rookie Lightning McQueen is cocky and bursting with self-confidence. So much so that he has fired his pit boss and refuses to come in for a tire change causing his pit crew to quit and two of his tires to blow out just feet before the finish line. He scrambles towards the finish hopping and jumping forward as best he can and he ties the race by the tongue! In Cars 2 you get some weird opening with this new car that is like some sort of James Bond and you follow him on his mission to get info on the latest international criminal. Who needs this stupid spy side story? Cars 2 does so that they can trick you into coming to see a Larry the Cable Guy movie. Seriously, that’s what you get when you go see Cars 2, a Larry the Cable Guy Movie. There’s this great International race that Lightning gets challenged to go do yet the story seems to focus more on Mater. Now unlike my fellow Fandom Menacers I actually enjoy Larry the Cable Guy but not enough to be able to sit through one of his movies!
I feel that the creators and writers missed an incredible opportunity for a great and touching story here. First of all have Mater tag along for the International race, I have no problem with that, but what if you left all the spy crap out and I don’t know FOCUSED ON THE INTERNATIONAL RACE! I’m pretty sure people that go and see a movie called Cars wanna see cars doing what cars do best which is racing. It seemed like every time I was getting excited about this international race, they would cut away and go back to the bullshit spy story. WHAT ABOUT THE RACE!?! I know we all need to do our best to keep Michael Caine employed but he could have played almost any other character. So anyway Mater travels with McQueen to do this race and he has a ball but he realizes that even though he’s been all over the world, his heart will always be in Radiator Springs. They kinda did a little bit of that but not very well. Like my husband says they took the most interesting character out of the story almost completely and that character was the town itself.
The main reason I love the original so much is because Cars was a beautiful nod to small town USA and since I grew up in Bishop (aka small town USA) the film really spoke to me. Radiator Springs is a small desert town with one main street and a major highway going through it and if you drive a few miles into the mountains there’s forests and lakes. Bishop is a small desert town with one main street and a major highway going through it and if you drive a few miles into the mountains there’s forests and lakes. Bishop is my Radiator Springs. If you didn’t get to grow up in a small town like I did you might not be able to understand what it means to have hometown pride. What I can say about growing up in a small town is that you never really know how much you love it until you leave.
Another missed opportunity was the fact there were very few if any touching moments in Cars 2. The original had more than I can even count, like when the town fixed the neon and they all surprised Sally. Or when seconds after that Lizzie the old Model T goes up to the statue of her husband and says, “I wish you were alive to see this.” Or how about when Lightning goes to do the race in California and he doesn’t have a pit boss or a crew and suddenly you hear a voice come over his headset that is distinctly Doc voiced by the late great Paul Newman, “I didn’t come all this way to see you quit.” Pixar is known for these kinds of moments and to see a travesty such as this come from them…well, it breaks my Goddamn heart! In the years since Cars we’ve lost Newman and we’ve lost Carlin, they should have just left the legacy of cars alone and let the franchise die out with those that made it so great.