Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
June 28, 2011
Kim Hollis: Reviews of Cars 2 are negative and occasionally even hostile. Do you believe critics are fairly judging the film on its own merits or holding it up against the entire Pixar catalog and finding it lacking? If it's the latter, do you think this behavior is fair?
Matthew Huntley: I'd say a little from column A and a little from column B. What's interesting is Cars 2 replaced the original Cars as the lowest-rated Pixar movie to date, at least critically, so the franchise wasn't the most well-liked from the start.
I saw the movie yesterday and it is, simply, not very good. It has cheap jokes, a derivative plot and an exhausted moral tale, all of which meander and don't really give audiences a whole lot to get excited about. Did I have other Pixar films in mind when I made these judgments? Yes and no (it's sort of inevitable not to), but I try to keep in mind that Cars 2 does not have the same writer and director as, say, Ratatouille, so it must be reviewed independently of its Pixar brethren. If critics are being overly critical because they're constantly comparing it to the studio's true gems, then yes, that's not fair practice.
In a way, I'm glad the critical reception for Cars 2 was not very strong. We all know now that Pixar is not flawless and maybe this will give them the humility to strive higher with their next project (not that they don't always strive high; Cars 2 just happened to be a misfire).
Bruce Hall: I think that there's a natural tendency to compare every Pixar film with every other Pixar film ever released, and I suppose that's not totally unwarranted. Cars 2 had a bigger opening weekend than its predecessor (dollar for dollar, anyway), but it was never going to put a dent in Toy Story 3's numbers. And it's never been as well loved a property anyway, so it's hard for me to accept a direct financial comparison. It would be more fair to consider this movie quality wise - not dollar wise -against the remaining Pixar catalogue. So allow me to say that next to the average Pixar offering, Cars 2 was tedious and utterly lacking in humanity. It's about ten minutes longer than Toy Story 3 but by the time the credits hit I felt like I'd been sitting there since LAST Sunday. And if that needlessly convoluted James Bond meets Le Mans meets Jumping Jack Flash story was supposed to be for my benefit as an adult, count me unimpressed. Chaos can't replace genuine momentum and a tacked on "just be yourself" message at the end is no substitute for the kind of emotional resonance we usually get from Pixar. What's worse is that Cars 2 commits a cardinal sin for a kids' film - it bores kids to death. The ones I was with nearly fell asleep halfway through. Thank God for candy.