Get your motor running...

New on the streets: the second Cars trailer.

Cars is the latest film from Pixar, the studio that gave us the Toy Story movies, The Incredibles and a bunch of other excellent stuff. I’ve seen all of their films, and since A Bug’s Life, I’ve seen ‘em in theaters, and for excellent storytelling, dynamite visuals and outright belly laughs, they are bar none the best on the market. You just have to watch some of these other CGI monstrosities to realize how good Pixar is; Shrek has its moments, and Madagascar was cute, but they all rely too much on pop-culture references and unearned sentiment. They’re “kid movies” in the worst sense of the term, movies where the ultimate goal is distraction rather than experience. Pixar builds on actual character development, with writers and animators who are willing to take the time to fill the worlds they create with vibrant, flawed individuals. They avoid the shortcuts that so many other filmmakers working with the same material rely on, and in doing so, create diverse, astonishingly varied universes for their audiences to play in.

At least, they have up until now.

I hated the Finding Nemo teaser, and the trailer looked even worse; the premise didn’t interest me (I’ve never been a big ocean guy), and golly gee, a turtle that talks like a surfer dude? As if. I saw it anyway and loved it, even Crush (the sea turtle, voiced by director Andrew Stanton). So when the first Cars teaser came out, I remained optimistic. It’s about living automobiles? Okay, I can roll with that. Crummy slapstick gags? Hey, they don’t show the best stuff in the teaser- The Incredibles just had a fat guy trying to put on tights for 90 seconds (admittedly, it was really funny). Larry the Cable Guy? Well, Toy Story had Tim Allen, and he was really, really good, so, er, um…

I remained optimistic.

Then the first full trailer hit. Oh dear. Car racing- yawn- small town jokes, the inevitable, “small town is better than the shallow big city” stuff, more Larry the Cable Guy, deep breaths, focus, remain opti-freaking-mistic, it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie-

It’s all good. My optimism remained, if perhaps a trifle duller than before.

And then this new trailer comes out, with people who had been skeptical suddenly claiming, “Now I’m sold, this is going to be awesome!” I happily click away, expectations rising exponentially.

Dammit. As somebody else said, this is Doc Hollywood, with cars. I liked Doc Hollywood when I was 10, and the only reason I liked it was Julie Warner gets naked (I just made the Google hits for this site a little weird, I think). I highly doubt this new version will provide adequate compensation. The “small town life is better!” crap is still there, the same plot we’ve seen in ten billion other movies, which basically equates to, “Aim low, middle America! Be happy with what you have, because all this city life? It’s just shallow and there aren’t any big ole waterfalls and woooey, there’s nothing finer than the middle of nowhere!” It’s like a country song, only with merchandising.

I am no longer optimistic. I’m hopeful. Maybe Pixar will be able to find something to new say, maybe the presence of Paul Newman and George Carlin and Owen Wilson and Bonnie Hunt will make it fresh, and, okay, the visuals are very pretty.

But Larry. The. Cable. Guy.


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