Wednesday, April 11, 2007

 

Running on fumes

By Edward Copeland
Perhaps it was too much to expect Pixar to hit every film out of the park. Granted, I've liked some more than others, but now that I've finally seen Cars I can truly say this is the first Pixar effort I flat out didn't like. Combined with the 20 minutes of Happy Feet I could stomach, this now makes Monster House not winning the Oscar seem like an even bigger outrage.


For one thing, Cars is entirely too long, coming close to running a full two hours. I thought The Incredibles was too long, but at least it was entertaining enough to make up for it. Cars is the first Pixar movie that seemed so formulaic to me to be a true disappointment.

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), the protagonist of Cars, is a shallow, egotistical character who thinks only of himself and says he doesn't need anyone else. Nothing wrong with that in a character, but was there ever any doubt that by the film's end, the racing car would see the errors of his/its ways?

As a result, Cars doesn't move at the pace you'd expect from a high-speed vehicle but instead plods along as we await Lightning's inevitable transformation. Even the moments of ingenuity that I've come to expect from Pixar were few and far between. (For me, the best moment in that regard was turning cow tipping into tractor tipping.)

Cars produced a reaction in me I didn't think I'd have to a Pixar movie: boredom. Granted, their track record has been so good so far (they couldn't have kept up that pace forever), but it doesn't change the fact that Cars is the worst movie I've seen from the folks at Pixar. Monster House was robbed.


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Comments:
Couldn't agree more.

And no one seems to point out that this story was told already when it was Doc Hollywood.

Lasseters stuff is a bit too formulaic.

Brad Bird was a welcome treat with the Incredibles.

I agree though, Monster House should have gotten it.
 
Cars is as close to disliking a Pixar movie as I have come. This is an inferior version of Doc Hollywood, and it drags to near boredom in several spots. I still loved the Larry the Cable Guy character.

Cars is not as guilty as Happy Feet, but it still gives kids an erroneous public service message. Like the American political system, it seems to believe that the "heart" of America is Hicksville, and I don't mean the one in Long Island either, and that people who live in cities are soulless. This suave urbanite also lived in the sticks, and I can safely say this is a flat out lie.

Speaking of flat out lies and lack of soul, Happy Feet made me want to pull a John Patrick Shanley on penguins. In addition to being the biggest advertising whores I've ever encountered (they even did ads for the flu--please explain to me what penguins have to do with the fwiggin' flu?), the Happy Feet penguins tried to give us a tolerance message by providing us with stereotypical "Leroy and Ramon" racial Robin Williams voices, minstrel style tap dancing and an environmental message designed to scare the shit out of kids. Not to mention those inappropriate songs too. You escaped from the movie, EC, and for that you are wiser than I was.

Monster House was indeed robbed. It was so clever, funny and even scary. There was a moment in that movie where I actually jumped. It was well written, well voiced and well drawn. The house was a great character, spooky and menacing. This was the good Robert Zemeckis haunted house movie!
 
Actually, I really liked Happy Feet because it was one of the few cartoons i've seen to have an adult theme, which you touched up on. It wasn't saying that cities were soulless, but that communities have a price and that a sense of community is worth preserving in life.



"Cars is not as guilty as Happy Feet, but it still gives kids an erroneous public service message. Like the American political system, it seems to believe that the "heart" of America is Hicksville, and I don't mean the one in Long Island either, and that people who live in cities are soulless. This suave urbanite also lived in the sticks, and I can safely say this is a flat out lie."
 
OKonheim, sorry for the confusion. I meant Cars had the message of soulless urban denizens vs. "the heart of America," not Tap of the Penguins. Happy Feet had about 17 messages in it, and used cringe-worthy means to deliver them. I wish I got the message out of it you did.
 
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