(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)
Oh Nit. “Irony” doesn’t actually mean anything, it’s just a word people say.
Let’s take a look at the movie.
The movie begins in, as Wikipedia so endearingly puts it, “a world inhabited by anthropomorphic transportation”. Lightning McQueen is a racecar who wants to be the first rookie racer to win the Piston Cup. He’s voiced by Owen Wilson, because someone in casting fucked up royal. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve got no problem with Owen Wilson generally. He’s been in a lot of movies that I really like. I particularly love his turn in Zoolander as male model Hansel (So hot right now. Hansel). But his laid back Texan schtick is not really schtick at all. He’s just a laid back Texan and sometimes that really works and sometimes it doesn’t. Problem with voicing an animated character however, is that you have to be, y’know, animated. Lightning McQueen is a big, big problem with this movie because Wilson is just coasting through this. It is just such a phoned in, dull performance. I felt like yelling at the screen all through this movie: “INFLECT! YOU SON OF A BITCH! INFLECT!” Alright, well McQueen is racing in the Piston Cup and the race announcers give us some exposition. In this race there’s McQueen, Strip Weathers who’s the reigning champ and Chick Hicks the perpetual runner up. Chick has got a grudge against McQueen because he feels it’s his turn to replace Strip as the top car and blah blah Days of Thunder blah blah. Chick causes a pileup to slow McQueen down but McQueen makes it through unscathed and the race goes on and on and on and oh my God how can a sport that features cars speeding at velocities in excess of 200 mph be THIS DAMN SLOW? The race comes down to Strip, McQueen and Chick while the mangled remains of the other cars are carted away. Because in a world of sentient cars, NASCAR is a fucking blood sport.
McQueen pulls into the lead, but because he’s such a loose cannon he doesn’t bother pitting and just as he’s getting to the finish line his tyres give out. This leads to him, Strip and Chick ending the race in a complete dead heat. As the officials look over the footage, McQueen’s pit crew tell him to screw off and Chick zings him with such bon mots as: “Hey McQueen, that was some real nice racing out there. BY ME!”
Alright, you know what? I will admit that Pixar, all things being equal, makes better movies than Disney. I admit it. Their ratio of great movies to bad ones is a lot higher than Disney’s. Maybe that’ll change as the decades go on, but as things stand, yeah. They make better movies overall. But Disney will always have the edge on Pixar in one area: Villains. Even in the good Pixar movies, the villains tend to be the least interesting characters. This is not a good Pixar movie. And Chick Hicks is not a good villain. Chick Hicks is Father Dick Byrne on wheels.
And I really, really hate Father Dick Byrne.
McQueen also talks with Strip, who’s voiced by legendary NASCAR racer Richard Petty and let me tell you, as an actor, Richard Petty is one hell of a racecar driver. Seriously, I think they may have cast him just so Owen Wilson would sound halfway alive by comparison. Strip tries to lecture McQueen on the importance of teamwork and having people you can rely on but McQueen just starts fantasizing about winning the Piston Cup. Not his fault really, no one could listen to him for too long, his voice is so boring that it’s impossible to concentrate on it.
In fact, Petty’s reading is so dull that McQueen actually has some kind of delusional psychotic episode, imagining himself as the new champion and spokesperson for Dinoco oil and painted blue. At least, I think it’s supposed to be McQueen, but honestly the car designs are all so generic that colour is the only way I know how to tell anyone apart (just like Ted Nugent). Maybe it’s not McQueen. Maybe it’s a new character. I’ll call him Blue McBlue.
McQueen gets…inside…Mack…(wow this world throws up some weird implications) and they head off to California. Mack wants to stop on the way and get some shut-eye but McQueen insists he drive all night long so that they beat Chick there. He promises Mack he’ll stay up with him and promptly falls asleep because he’s an assmobile. Sure enough, Mack falls asleep and after some shenanigans with some glow-in-the-dark hotrods McQueen gets shaken out of Mack’s trailer and onto the road. He wakes up and tries to chase after Mack on the highway. The music and the direction tries to make this a tense, desperate scene, something like Fievel Mouskewitz getting seperated from his family but it doesn’t work for three reasons:
1) McQueen is a car. On a road. I think he’ll be fine.
2) It shouldn’t really be in any doubt that the fastest racecar in the world can catch up to a truck.
3) I hate McQueen so much that I am praying to dark, cthonic gods that he gets stolen and set on fire in a field.
Anyway, McQueen chases a red truck that he thinks is Mack down a country road only to catch up to it and realise it’s not him. “I ain’t no Mack, I’m a Peterbilt” says the truck and I’m sure that’s a very funny joke if you know anything about trucks. If I knew anything about trucks, I am in no doubt that I would be rolling on the floor, ejecting fluids from every orifice on my body. McQueen goes tearing down the road and gets the attention of Sherriff, a cop car, who chases after him for speeding (why? You don’t arrest humans for running fast.). At first McQueen wants to stop and ask for Sheriff’s help but he hears his engine backfiring and thinks he’s being shot at. “He’s shooting at me!” McQueen squeals “Why is he shooting at me!?”
McQueen. He’s a lawman in the American Southwest. He doesn’t need a reason.
Sheriff chases McQueen into a small, one horse town called Radiator Springs. Hm, here’s a thought. If this is a world of sentient transportation, do horses exist? Or did the cars EVOLVE from horses? Or maybe they were once all chariots and wagons but needed horses to pull them around. In which case, were they in a symbiotic relationship with the horses, or were the horses part of them? Or maybe, maybe this is just a really stupid premise for a movie that doesn’t bear the slightest modicum of scrutiny. I guess we’ll never know. Anyway, McQueen ends of trashing the town and destroying main street and winds up hanging from a telegraph pole while Sheriff says, “Boy, you are in a heap of trouble”.
Meanwhile, Mack has arrived in California (I just realised, it’s not called “Carlifornia”? What the hell?) and discovered that McQueen’s gone missing. This sets off a media firestorm with everyone wondering where McQueen is. We see a montage of reactions from everyone from the governor of California (an Arnold Schwarzeneggar sounding Hummer) to TV comedian Jay Limo.
McQueen wakes up in the impound lot in Radiator Springs with a clamp on his wheel, staring into the ungodly ugly mug of Tow Mater, voiced by Larry The Cable Guy (of the Pennsylvania The Cable Guys).
And yes, I am aware that Planes was done by Disneytoons and not Pixar, whatever, they still bear responsibility.
Turns out Doc had a major wreck and when he was finally fit to race again he was told no one was interested in him anymore. Right. A beloved champion suffers a terrible near-death injury and then claws his way back in to competition, who wants to see that? Doc says that he doesn’t want the cars of Radiator Springs having to rely on someone from that world, and when McQueen protests Doc asks him to name one time he thought of someone other than himself. McQueen angrily says that if Doc is such good friends with the townsfolk why won’t he even tell them the truth about his past and Doc tells him to finish the road and screw off.
McQueen finishes the road and says goodbye to the grateful townsfolk. Before he goes, he acts like a one-car economic stimulus, buying tyres, a new paintjob, bumper stickers and fuel as his way of saying thank you. Stockholm syndrome’s a bitch, innit? And as a last good deed, as night falls he reveals that he fixed all the neon signs in town.
How did he do that?
He’s a car. He’s a car with no demonstrable electrical repair skills. How the fuck did he do that? No. No, I am not budging on this. That is bullshit. Stop the movie. Stop the movie now. I WANT ANSWERS GODDAMN IT!
ANGRY. AS. FUCK.
This is Pixar. They are supposed to be better than this. It’s not even that it’s terrible. Terrible movies can be genuinely entertaining. This movie coasts along at “competent”. But it is just so bland and lazy and stupid and so fucking badly written. I mean it, this is a weak, weak script. Alright, so the town celebrates with a dance on main street which consists of the cars driving up and down to music and is as riveting as that description makes it sound. Sally and McQueen share a moment but it’s cut short when the media descends on Radiator Springs having finally found the missing McQueen. Mack is also there and tells McQueen that they have to get to California, like, yesterday. McQueen says his goodbyes to Sadly and sally gets in the truck…
…and hits the road. One of the journalist cars thanks Doc Hudson and Sally realises that he was the one who tipped the media off. What a narcmobile.
In California the race between McQueen, Chick and Strip (A Quinn Martin Production. In Color!) starts and McQueen can’t keep his head in the game. He keeps getting flashbacks to Sally and Radiator springs and I really think this guy needs to get checked out for a tumour. But then Doc and the whole gang from Radiator Springs show up to act as his pit crew and McQueen starts to pull level in the race. One of the announcers exclaims “199 laps and it all comes down to this!”
199 LAPS!?! WHO WATCHES CARS GOING AROUND IN A CIRCLE FOR 199 FRICKIN’ LAPS?!!
WHO DOES THAT????!!!!!!
McQueen gets into the lead and Chick is so desperate to win that he actually causes Strip to crash. McQueen stops just short of the finish line and goes back, letting Chick win put pushing Strip over the finish line so that he can finish his last race. Because there’s no “I” in team and motor racing is a team sport.
So McQueen’s a hero, even though he didn’t win and Dinoco offers him the contract anyway out of the kindness and decency that oil companies are justly known for. McQueen turns it down for to stick with his old sponsors and instead sets up his new racing headquarters in Radiator Springs, saves the girl, gets the town…
Alright, I will admit I was wrong about this movie. It’s not a cash-in. Having gone and researched this film and watched it again it is obviously a labor of love, a love letter to cars, NASCAR and racing. The trouble with love letters is that, if they’re not addressed to you, they don’t tend to make good reading. Look, for a NASCAR fan I’m sure it’s a real thrill that they did stuff like casting Richard and Lynda Petty as anthropomorphized versions of the cars they drove, and that Strip Weathers’ crash is actually a frame by frame recreation of Petty’s infamous 1988 Winston Cup crash. Or gags like the Ferrari at the end voiced by Michael Schumacher (and wow that scene is not as funny anymore in light of recent events). But…no, sorry. This is just not that great a movie. The script has none of the pop we’ve come to expect from Pixar, the animation is lackluster when compared to the studios efforts before and since and Owen Wilson is just a massive charisma black hole at the centre of the whole thing. Yeah, believe it or not, Larry the Cable Guy is actually the best thing in this. The only bits I laughed at were the Mater scenes. So I guess you could say, I still hate it, but simply for being a lousy movie made with love than for being a cynical cash grab.
All I remember of Cars was that it was okay but forgettable. If this came from DreamWorks, no one would bat an eyelash. (Especially since the way it doesn’t actually explore the ramifications of the characters’ anthropomorphic nature and just tells a story that could have been just as easily told with human characters instead is awfully similar to Shark Tale.) But it came from Pixar, the company known for making movies that are anything but forgettable, so everyone noticed.
Considering that you thought that Mater was the best thing of this film, though, I suspect that you might actually like Cars 2 a little (tiny? infinitesimal?) better as I’ve heard that Mater plays a larger role in it.
Maybe it’s because I come from a small town myself, but I always found Radiator Springs itself to be very charming. Although I will agree with you, McQueen and Chick are the weakest parts of the film. Good luck next time, Cars 2 pretty much takes all the charm from these characters and replaces them with places and people we care even less about.
Okay Mouse, so I’ve read your review. And I still do have questions. If anyone else wants to jump in and answer, feel free. Like I said in the last review, you probably won’t change my opinion on this movie, but you all can help me get insight as to why EXACTLY this movie is hated. I am curious.
Why is the idea of anthropomorphic cars so bad? Nobody seemed to complain when trains could talk in Thomas the Tank Engine. Nobody seemed to complain when a freaking TOASTER OVEN and other appliances come to life and talk in The Brave Little Toaster. But when CARS come to life, THAT’S when people have a problem. Is there some bias or something AGAINST cars? Now if someone says something like “Well, Thomas and The Brave Little Toaster were set in human worlds, so as long as humans are around and are in control, everything’s fine”. So we have to be in control all the time? We can’t allow a world where something other than humans are in charge and roaming around? So, no humans around = bad?
Also, this is a world revolved around AUTOMATIVE VEHICLES, so horses have nothing to do with this. At all.
Another complaint I hear is that the theme for the story is ripped off from a lot of other things, namely Doc Hollywood. What other story or media, other than Doc Hollywood, has this movie ripped off? And besides, if the theme (“Slow down from time to time” or “Winning isn’t everything”) is done well enough like it is here, I don’t see a problem telling it again. Maybe it’s to tell it to a younger generation who are interested in cars (play toys wise).
That’s about it for now. I might ask more later. Until then, feel free to answer my questions (respectfully of course). I’m all ears!
Cars is JUST cars. How can they possibly build things? How can they even have existed in the first place?
Here’s what I think the problem is:
In those other examples you mentioned, the world makes sense *because* there are humans in it. Thomas and friends have a job – to carry humans around the island, or to carry things for humans around the island. They have engineers up front to load and unload things, and they report to a boss who is, by necessity, a human also. Even though they are anthropomorphised, they are still functional trains, doing more or less what they were designed to do. It’s a similar case with Brave Little Toaster: the appliances are trying to find the Master because, without him, their lives have no purpose. Okay, so they talk and move independently, but ultimately, they’re still functional appliances, designed by humans for humans.
The fact that there are no humans in Cars makes the logic of that world fall apart completely. Cars were invented as a mode of transport. They are designed with various features for our convenience that don’t actually make sense for them to have without us. Doors, for example. And when you examine the rest of their world, it doesn’t make sense either – it’s clearly been designed by and for humans. This is a world with written language, handheld petrol pumps and combine harvesters… in which nobody has hands or eats food. Its internal logic is inconsistent. That’s what I think gets on people’s nerves.
That said, I actually did enjoy this movie when I saw it with my (then) four-year-old brother. I will probably never watch it again, since it was playing almost continuously in my house from my brother’s fifth birthday to his sixth, but I don’t hate it.
Yup, you’ve pretty much said it all. I will merely second your summation.
So since no one answered this question I asked, I’ll ask again: A lot of people say that this movie repeats themes and rips off ideas from other movies, namely Doc Hollywood. What other movie or TV show or anything, other than Doc Hollywood, has this movie ripped off?
There’s some Top Gun and Days of Thunder, and pretty much every “big city slicker learns.to appreciate small town life” movie ever made.
Okay, but is the “big city slicker learns to appreciate small town life” moral/theme a BAD thing? Maybe to teach to kids in a younger generation in a way that might appeal to them more?
I’m from a small town. So small that my senior class had 72 people in it. Small town life is ridiculously romanticized and idealized by movies like this one. And the people are not inherently kinder, better, or more worldly-wise by virtue of living where they live.
I’m from a small town as well and the people here and generally good people. Not every single person of course but about 95% of them are. Every small town is different I guess. Some good, some bad. And the town in this movie just happens to be good.
My guess is maybe Cars is the opposite of Beauty and the Beast. The general public doesn’t care enough about the severe passage of time issues to lower their opinion on the movie. They’re all just blown away by how awesome the film is. Because Cars can’t capture the general public like Beauty and the Beast or *insert awesome, much loved movie here* did, the flaws are that much more apparent.
@ Lobo: How can cars have existed in the first place and built things? Maybe in the beginning there was a primitive car and he built things that allowed for the construction of more cars and cars evolved from there? Or maybe in an alternate universe humans were turned into cars because they loved them so much? And it just went from there, like building equipment to build things? I don’t know, but if there’s a world where monsters exist and somehow procreate (creatures like Mike Wazowski and Roz, for instance *blech*), then I think a world with cars that I can see mass producing other cars and equipment on a conveyor belt or something is fine by me.
@ paper alchemist: Okay, so by the logic that you pointed out, the world in the movie Robots works as long as the robots themselves are humanoid? So if they become something that’s NOT humanoid, the world just falls apart?
Interesting point, and certainly one I wouldn’t have considered. I think that Robots doesn’t come under scrutiny the way Cars does, because it’s by Blue Sky not Pixar, and they’re not really in the same league. I’ve never heard anyone say ‘I’m such a huge fan of Blue Sky’ – in fact, I doubt that anyone besides fellow animation geeks would a) know who they are and b) name even one of their films. Blue Sky’s films are characterised by their commercial nature, whereas Pixar has become synonymous with quality animated film.
But I’ll give it a go.
I don’t think it would fall apart necessarily, but if the robots were no longer humanoid in form, they probably wouldn’t keep designing new things (or renovating old ones) with those considerations in mind. They might, for the sake of making things look expensive/classy or some other such superficial reason, but ultimately any design should be practical for its intended purpose.
For example, let’s say that an octopus-like race takes over the earth. Anything that has a button designed to be pressed with human fingers, with their bony internal framework, is going to become obsolete fairly quickly. The octopoids (it’s a perfectly cromulent word) may design a tactile system instead. Also, since they can’t walk, they’ll have no use for footpaths. A channel of water may be more practical for traveling short distances.
I’m not hating on Cars, I’m just explaining why people might choose to single out the worldbuilding as a fault.
Extra points for cromulence.
There is a whole theory about how all the Pixar movies fit into one timeline. I think they’re supposed to be robots after the Wall-e have cleaned things up or something.
Ah yes, the old Pixar timeline theory…
Grumble. Most unorthodox!
Okay, you’re helping me along a little bit. But about the idea of being able to push buttons and such, maybe the world of Cars has things like that designed for a world of cars? I have to go to work now, but I might come back with more questions. Maybe.
No, that would be the dumbest way to rationalize a movie universe that I have ever heard. Humans evolving into cars? That makes no sense whatsoever. Monsters are one thing, they’re living beings of flesh and blood and their universe is clearly built for them. Cars do not exist without humans or something else to build them. They are machines, machines do not evolve
The Pixar timeline theory is BS
While some things in the Cars world are clearly designed for cars (eg, the motel), what stands out is the number of things that aren’t. Things have handles. Rust-Eze is designed to be applied to car bodies, but they lack the dexterity to spread it on. These details may disrupt certain viewers’ suspension of disbelief. Once again, I’m not saying this ever ruined *my* experience of the film. It’s just why I think people say it’s not believable.
I know of a couple of conspiracy theories that attempt to explain this – for instance, the whole movie is Andy playing Hot Wheels – but I prefer to judge it as being its own self-contained film.
@ Lobo: I didn’t say humans EVOLVED into cars. I said humans TURNED INTO cars, possibly through magical means. Stupid reason, but one nonetheless. And the thing about monsters was that how a monster like Mike Wazowski would make babies with a monster like Roz (I’m sure there is a way, but I don’t want to know). So maybe cars can do something similar their own way by producing new cars on a conveyor belt. And it’s certainly not the first time in an animated world where things don’t make sense. Take the Sonic the Hedgehog animated series where a robot blows into his hand and it becomes a pumpkin. Or in the Looney Toons where when Wile E. Coyote chases The Roadrunner off a cliff, both are off of it and in midair, and the cliff breaks, The Roadrunner stays in the air and Wile E. Coyote falls down, even though BOTH of them are in midair. If nonsensical, stupid stuff like that can happen in the animated world, then surely nonsensical, stupid stuff like anthropomorphized cars and machines can exist in the animated world as well.
@ paper alchemist: Okay, the explanations you’ve been giving DO give me some insight as to why people can hate this movie. It doesn’t change my mind on the movie as I’ll still enjoy it, but now I do see things a little more clearly on the other side of the spectrum. Thank you.
The important thing is consistency. It’s fine in Looney Tunes because it’s constantly established that the world they inhabit has these crazy rules of physics that are not like our own. Cars does not have this consistency. Some things are made for cars, others for humans.
@ Lobo: Fair enough, though since I don’t want this to keep going on longer than it should, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. And hey, it could be worse. I could be trying to defend The Garbage Pail Kids movie (ugh, thinking about that movie makes me sick to my stomach).
Hmmmm…okay, the Thomas the Tank Engine analogy doesn’t quite work because there WERE human beings in that world, explaining the basic question of “who built all of this stuff?”. But as I said in the review, that’s more quibbling. And again, the Doc Hollywood thing is not a deal breaker for me, A Bug’s Life is Seven Samurai after all, it’s not like Pixar have never done that. It comes down to basics for me: bad performances, weak script and meh animation.
What say you about The Brave Little Toaster and the appliances coming to life there?
Haven’t seen it. Couldn’t possibly comment.
I suggest you see it. I liked it a lot when I was younger, and I still think it’s decent.
So you don’t wonder how the humans in Thomas the Tank Engine built the faces and personalities for the trains?
I never disliked this movie. I’m wondering whether you’ll do a review in which the films “Chicken Little” and “Cars 2” coincide thereby killing two proverbial birds with one metaphorical stone?
Pretty much. Either way, he is going to lose his top on his next review. And we ALL noticed that you are putting off Chicken Little, just like Home on the Range (though no one blames you).
It’s not my fault!
You’re not to blame. It’s the movie industry, the bitch that set this flame!
OK, THAT prediction is friggin’ AWESOME!!!! He should TOTALLY do that!!!!! You are a genius! Don’t know if he’d be able to review 2 films at once, though.
Ok, let me preface this by saying that I am a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE fan of Pixar (John Lasseter is my hero, I’d work for him as a janitor), so my opinion of this movie is somewhat jaded. I’ve never had too much of a problem with Cars. Now I won’t argue with you that Cars and Cars 2 are by far the worst Pixar films (because they are) but I don’t think they’re bad movies, it’s just that the rest of Pixar’s body of work is so amazing that the Cars movies look like shit by comparison. I mean for pete’s sake, the Toy Story movies, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Walle, Monster’s Inc., and Up all rank among the best animated movies ever made. Meanwhile Cars is just so meh. So utterly meh. And it has without a doubt (in my opinion at least) the worst voice cast Pixar has ever put together. Paul Newman is awesome, sure, and I do find Larry the Cable Guy funny, but goddam there’s just no one here on the level of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, or John Goodman and Billy Crystal, or Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres. And for me that is especially bad because one of my favorite things about Pixar is the phenomenal voice talent they get. Not only are their voice actors phenomenally talented, they also have a knack for getting people that I absolutely adore to voice their characters (Tom Hanks, Joan Cusack, Albert Brooks, and Holly Hunter in particular). So to have absolutely NO ONE in this movie that gives anything more than a “not bad” performance just kills me.
I know it sounds like I have a lot of hate for this movie but I really don’t. It’s more disappointment. Like I said, I do kind of enjoy Cars and Cars 2. I think they both have a few memorable gags, some nice animation, and at least an attempt to have a strong emotional core for the movie (which is more than Dreamworks can say for a lot of their films). But it lacks the inspiration of Pixar’s true classics and that just makes it fall utterly short of the mark.
By the way, I have seen Doc Hollywood and yeah, Cars is essentially a flat out remake. I would say Doc Hollywood is a lot better, though that’s largely because Michael J Fox is an infinitely better lead than Owen Wilson.
Can you imagine if they’d gotten Fox for McQueen? How awesome would that be? Then he could have been shouting “DOC!” in his Marty McFly voice.
And let me guess, there would be one obligatory mythology gag moment where he runs into a Delorean?
So, what about Chicken Little?
Never mind, I saw your update thing.
I like how Pixar’s ugliest, blandest animation is better than the animation in Under The Red Hood.
Eh, straight to DVD movie versus the greatest animation studio on earth. Shouldn’t be that close.
It is sad that this is your first Pixar review. All I have to say about it is that it is somewhat illogical, with bland characters (I am glad someone called out Wilson for his job here). Another thing is that not a lot happens in 2 HOURS. Isn’t it the longest Pixar film. The plot is generic and not complex like the other films. Bless your heart wth the next film, with either option.
Oh, Mouse! Got a question for you! Think fast! Which is the lesser of two evils: Brother Bear or Cars?
Interesting choice. What makes you say that?
I will credit this movie for one thing that had me busting a gut laughing: when McQueen shouts “I’m in hillbilly hell!” I can’t explain why, but damn do I love that line.
Good luck with Cars 2. You’ll need it.
I don’t mind Mater in Cars. He adds to the movie without being the primary focus, like a little bit of jalapeno in a bowl of chili: heat that melds with the flavors. I mind very much that he is the primary character is Cars 2. There, he’s like biting into chili only to discover it’s 90% jalapeno. Not good.
I did like the backstory involving Route 66, because that is very much a historical fact. A lot of businesses went bust after the new, direct(er) highway was built. I’m a sucker for oldy-times historical stuff.
Watching it once or twice would have been enough for me, but my brother was just getting into Euro racing and Ferrari (the brand, not the man!) around the time it came out on DVD . . . so I’ve seen this a few too many times to enjoy it any more.
I agree…I will defend Cars to the end of days, but when it comes to Cars 2 – Focus on Mater? No Route 66? FAIL! Big time.
Hi, Mouse. I just started reading your blog a week ago. I haven’t laughed this hard in a while. This review was no exception. I wanted to start a comedic blog like yours. What advice can a master offer a rookie?
Okay I’d say choose a discrete set of movies with a definite order (Star Trek, Bond whatever) so you always know what you’re writing next and can plan ahead. Always answer comments and listen to (constructive) feedback. Don’t overuse explanation points!! Weird tip I know but I see it a lot and in comedic writing and often it comes across like the rim shot to let you know the joke is funny. Use an exclamation point if you should be angry, shocked or surprised otherwise leave it. Aaaaand that’s all I got. Good luck!
Thanks for the advice. I just posted my first review. I actually chose a TV show to review. It was something that I knew I wanted to do. Look up Dragonroo reviews Generator Rex: the Day that Everything Changed.
While I do question the logic of this movie’s world, I actually think this film is OK. Sure, the story and characters are nothing special, but they’re not awful. (Mater is my favorite character, too, BTW.) I like the message, even if it is a little done to death. Overall, not one of Pixar’s best (by a LONG SHOT), but a decent film on its own (for me, anyway).
Can’t wait for the next one! Keep up the good work! (BTW, were you in a time crunch to finish this, given the “strike that, reverse it” gifs?)
Unshaved Mouse, I started reading your Disney reviews three weeks ago and I finally caught up! You have done an exellent job and you are still doing it! Anyways, my opinions on this movie: I never really liked it but (as much as I want to) I can’t hate it, it was the last movie that I watched in a cinema with my grandfather before he died (he was like Mufasa would have been as a grandfather) and he REALLY loved cars and races and Disney/Pixar animated movies, so this was like his last wish and when I try to make fun of this film I get a vision of him in the clouds saying that I have forgotten him and I start crying as I do when I see The Lion King. But I really hate Cars 2, Planes and Planes 2 (I can’t even believe that the last one I mentioned exist). Anyways, I love reading your posts and I will continue reading them! 😀
Hey Maxy, welcome to the blog! I’m really glad you were able to share this movie with your grandfather. If it brought you both joy, more power to you.
Planes 2 isn’t even out yet. How can you hate it?
I didn’t see any of the Planes films, I just said that I can’t believe that they exist and they are not just direct to dvd “sequels”. And I wanna correct myself: I don’t hate Cars 2 it’s just that it remembers me how much I can’t hate on the first Cars film xD
Planes sucks. The plot is so thin and the “sub plots” are pointless. The race takes up half the movie. It makes Cars 2 look like Up.
I do think that Pixar has come up with very good villains in some of their movies. The first that comes to mind for me is Hopper in A Bug’s Life. He is intimidating, oppressive, and a huge bully. It’s no wonder that the ants are afraid of him along with his gang of grasshoppers, and how satisfying it is when you see him get his comeuppance. He is a villain that has many in the audience terrified and that love to hate him.
Syndrome in The Incredibles is a villain that in my opinion, is too good at what he does. He is so cruel, so sadistic, and so unapologetically mean that it’s almost surprising that a villain of his league can be found in a Disney film. He stalked Bob Parr for fifteen years after he was told over and over again by the former that he could not join Mr. Incredible as his sidekick, just so he could seek revenge by becoming a super-villain. He murdered many superheroes in the process, launched a MISSILE at Mr. Incredible’s family while they are in a plane, and almost got away with kidnapping Jack-Jack so he could raise him to be just as evil and corrupt as he was.
Other villains come to mind, like Sid, Stinky Pete, Randall, and Lotso, In my opinion, they’re great villains in their own way.
Agreed. Syndrome, Stinky Pete, Lotso, and Randall are all excellent villains. Anton Ego is pretty awesome too and Auto from Wall-e is a nice homage to HAL 9000
Anton Ego wasn’t a villain. Just an intimidating critic.
Yeah. Personally I always thought he was the hero!
Yeah, when I first read Mouse’s villain comment, I did a bit of a double-take. Lotso is right up there with the MOST vile Disney villains. He is obviously inspired by real-life dictators, for one. He lied to his henchmen. And I can’t think of another villain who pulled something quite as horrifically evil as his final dog-shooting move (amplified by the fact that he was just rescued by adversaries who had every reason to let him be destroyed).
I agree that Pixar’s villains are not bad, at least objectively looking. It’s only when you compare them to Disney that their flaws start to show. Hopper might very well be my favourite Pixar villain – though there are a couple of films I haven’t seen yet – but even he is not Maleficent or Ursula or Judge Frollo. Not even close.
Part of the reason might be that a significant amount of Pixar villains start out sympathetic or at least non-threatening. Only towards the end do they reveal their sinister motives. You can usually tell that they’re going to be the villain, but they still act very kindly at first. And sure, there’s nothing wrong with that type of villain, but if I had to choose, I’d pick the Disney model where they’re straight up evil from the get-go. It simply allows for more merriness as well as charm and makes them more fun to watch and thus more memorable.
The funny thing is that Disney’s most recent villains are a closer fit to the Pixar model you speak of than the classic Disney model. Mother Gothel, King Candy, and [spoiler from Frozen] all hide their true intentions behind a kind and well-meaning facade for the majority of their films, don’t show their true colors until much later on, and hence aren’t as inherently “cool” or memorable as the earlier Disney villains. (Although I’d argue that it’s usually more than compensated for by the strength of Pixar’s main characters and Disney’s parallel trend of making their own heroes more interesting and not as upstaged by their sidekicks/villains.)
True enough, and I do agree with you on King Candy and [spoiler from Frozen], but I think it’s rather apparent from the start that Mother Gothel is the villain of Tangled. Sure she’s affable most of the time, but that’s what makes her great. She’s the first lovingly abusive parental figure in a Disney film.
Well, there’s Long John Silver, I guess, but as Mouse already argued, is he even a villain. Or that abusive.
And yes, whereas villains are one of Pixar’s weaknesses, not so interesting main characters are one of Disney’s. Perhaps they’re both learning from one another.
Disney didn’t follow that model with Gaston. In fact, when a villain follows that arc, it’s said that the villain has been “gastoned.” It’s become a verb. I maintain that Lotso is the most horrific villain in all of Disney/Pixar combined. And I think Hopper’s fate is the most satisfying of any villain in either canon.
Has anyone ever pondered the staggering implication the world of “Cars” has in regards to global warming? I mean, THE INSECTS ARE TINY CARS.
Puh…that was not as bad as I feared…I think you were still too harsh (a list of the scores you gave so far would be helpful to see where exactly Cars figures into the list), but at least you have seen the heart in it.
I guess the fact that Cars was delayed so often had more to do with Disney and Pixar having to sort out their relationship, and with Car Crash, naturally. It tends to slow a project down if you loose one of the key persons.
You know….I disagree with you concerning Pixar movies being to good for your reviews. The problem with Cars is not that Cars is that bad, but that the other movies are hold way too high. You said is yourself, Pixar does have weaknesses, like the inability to write really outstanding villains. It’s not a big problem, because they default usually to the buddy comedy. It’s not always notable because they like to shake things up, for example by making one part of the team female (Finding Nemo), or much younger (UP) or an animal (Ratatoille), but the concept is taking two entirely different characters, throwing them together and then see what happens. They do it in half of their movies.
If you look at Toy Story without the nostalgia googles, the story of the movie is actually very, very simple and predictable, from start to finish. It only works because everything else is so well done. With Wall-E there are always fans who think that the first part was too long and others who don’t like the second part. And everyone who says that Cars was the first “not so good” Pixar movie seems to forget “A bugs life” which was also pretty meh (it certainly was forgettable, because the only time anyone is even talking about it, is in connection to the “Antz-controversy”).
Again no Chicken Little? *sigh*….you know, I don’t like the movie, but I am really looking forward to your review. It’s kind of disappointing that you keep putting it off.
I got something planned. Trust Mouse.
I talk about Bug’s Life. Very funny side characters and a wonderfully designed world, the whole movie really feels like you’re seeing through the perspective of a Bug.
Plus..ahem…great villain with an awesome comeuppance.
I have to agree that Toy Story is a very simple movie, and I think it is a bit overrated.I don’t see how this is so much better than A Bug’s Life (which probably has one of the only memorable Pixar villains). I seriously want an explanation as to why A Bug’s Life is so much worse than Toy Story; and this can come from anyone.
I think the issue with Cars is that it is over 2 hours long for absolutely no reason. It just felt….different.
Don’t ask me…my favourite Pixar Movies are Up, Ratatouille, Monsters Inc and The Incredibles (not necessarily in that order). For some reason the “big hit” usually don’t do it for me…even Up I mostly like for the first five minutes.
I have noticed that with you Swanpride. I really like Up too. Not many films can pull off an elder being an elder and do well storywise, and capturing children’s attention.
Because Toy Story’s characters are far more memorable and it’s funnier. And yeah, it’s story is better. Sure it may be simple, but it’s all in the execution. You really empathize with Woody through the movie. You understand his jealousy towards Buzz and his anger at his loss of position among Andy’s toys. While I do think Bug’s Life has a pretty good story too, you just don’t empathize with the characters in the same way that you do with Toy Story’s
I understand that. I definitely think storywise, they are around on par with one another, and Bugs has the better animation, but the characters are more memorable. I just hate it that so many people see the latter as such a HUGE step downward from Toy Story.
So I’m not the only one to think that Toy Story saga is slightly overrated? Because frankly I don’t see the appeal of Toy Story 2 either. Yes, it’s a great story, but a full 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes? Please. Personally my favourite Pixar movie is Wall-E and even that isn’t amongst my favourite movies of all time.
Toy Story 2 is the best of the bunch IMO. I think it has the strongest story of the 3. Why? Because it’s the only one where Woody makes a choice. The main narrative of all three movies is “Woody is separated from Andy and must get back to him.” But in 1 and 3, Woody never questions it, he just always knows that he must get back to Andy. But in 2, Woody has doubts. Woody is faced with the knowledge that Andy won’t love him forever (manifested in Jesse, whose owner abandoned her) and so he must choose between going back to Andy knowing that he will one day lose him, and going to the museum where he will be loved by children forever. And even with that knowledge, Woody makes the choice to go back to Andy. That’s strong stuff to me.
But that’s the thing. It’s a choice between going back to Andy and being actively loved, being with your friends and being actually played with. Sure there’s the risk of eventual abandonment, but is that any worse than being a mere relic in a museum. Only looked at, never played with. Or did they specifically state that it would have been a museum where they could be played with? Because that would be one weird museum.
Hell, Stinky Pete is a pretty terrific villain as well. I’m just not too down on the bashing of Pixar villains.
They are the most part just forgettable.
I find Cars 2 to be a lot better than Cars. Whatever the problems with the story, it is at least entertaining.
Still haven’t seen this movie or its sequel, and it sounds like I would be bored out of my skull watching it, but your review made me laugh.
Well OF COURSE your psychiatrist is from Bahia! It all makes sense now!
And yet nothing in Bahia makes any sense!
Loved the review mouse, but like all things, even this movie had faults. Here’s my top 10 things wrong in this movie. Not the review.
10. The Life Is a Highway song is shown out of sequence. Having already talked about it, I won’t talk about it here.
9. Even if it was show in sequence, you’re looking at like 1,700 miles. Remember when Mack talks about continuing on was against the regs? That would have happened long before getting to where they were in the movie.
8. Racing against Doc. Doc Hudson is based on the 1951 Hudson, which used 3 two barrel carburetors stock from the factory. Back then, 4 barrels was it. It could outrun anybody. Fast forward to today. Sally could beat him. Hell even Ramone could keep up. The old cars didn’t have the power they do today.
7. Falling out of the back of the trailer. I don’t know about anyone else, If I’m sliding out of bed, I’m up.
6. McQueen on the interstate. I’m really hoping that when his pit crew put that last set of tires on, it was a matched set front and back. Usually the tires on a stock car are specific. The back right is the largest with the left front being the smallest. If he had this setup, he wouldn’t be able to move anywhere very fast.
more to come.
5. McQueen running out of fuel. Shouldn’t he have a fuel gauge?
4. Townspeople not knowing Doc’s past. I know mouse, you live in Ireland. But in small town America, everyone knows everybody and everything about them.
3. The bugs. I know it was supposed to be a joke that they used Volkswagen Beetles as bugs, thanks to their popular nickname, but since its a world of living cars, wouldn’t they have actually been considered pixies or fairies?
2. McQueen drifting at the end of the race. Man I really hope they didn’t have wheel locks on him because in oval track racing, stock cars have a lock on the steering components that prevent them from turning more than so many degrees. This keeps them from yanking the wheel and spinning out, which during road courses has to be reset to allow them to be able to turn sharper.
1. During the courtroom scene, Sally says McQueen has the horsepower to tow Betsy, the asphalt paving machine and fix the road. Seems like a good assumption right? He should have a thousand horses under his hood. Honestly, a stock car has trouble starting from a dead stop and he’s supposed to tow heavy machinery? It’s not the number of horsepower a car has, its the amount of torque it produces. A semi-truck produces 500 hp, and about 1650 ft lbs torque. A nascar engine makes 775 hp without restrictions, and around 500 ft lbs torque. A Hudson Hornet makes 175 hp, and 260 ft lbs torque. Honestly, this is the worst gaffe in the movie for me.
Any more questions give me a hoot and a few days to respond. I’m resting today, it’s been a rough week for me.
Sorry to hear that dude. Everything okay?
50 hours in 4 days. Not had much sleep, and kind of sore, but I’ll be alright. Thanks for asking.
Most of these are just nitpicks, really.
I’m just impressed by how well Knight knows all of this. Respect, mate!
As a commercial driver, a professional driver, and once a prospect to become a racer car driver, I’ve kind of picked this up over the years. Though to be honest, I did have to look some of it up.
I also have the innate ability to remember just about anything I’m told, read or figure out so that helps a lot, too. But the horsepower/torque gripe has been one of my biggest for years now. Did you know a Dodge Viper produces more horsepower than a semi-truck? Most performance cars do, but they lack the torque to pull the heavy loads.
About 20 years ago, they experimented with an idea of putting a semi engine in a car chassis, the idea being that car would take up less room on the highway. The result was a goofy thing that looked like a trailer detached and some poor car backed underneath it. Truckers killed the idea because they could no longer see far enough down the road to properly stop and it was causing accidents. I just hope they don’t try that again.
I also love trivia, especially about etymology or animals. For example, did you know that the word “feisty” comes from an Old English word meaning –
*get beaten to death by angry mob with dictionaries*
Considering this was apparently meant to be a movie by and for car lovers, making mistakes that turn off a target audience member is kind of problematic though.
I like Cars. I dont like Cars 2.
Can anyone make him review Spirited Away please? I dont know if hes aware of Studio Ghibli and their infamous materpieces….
He’s aware of Studio Ghibli, but Howl’s Moving Castle is the only Ghibli movie that’s really clicked with him for some reason.
Cars is rubbish, but I actually dislike The Incredibles more. It’s the weird Ayn Rand-esque message, the smugly metatextual humour, and the fact that the hero murders the villain in quite a grizzly way when he’s about to retreat that really rub me the wrong way.
I’m sorry for the fact that you can’t enjoy one of Pixar’s masterpieces that is arguably the greatest superhero movie ever made.
Better than Howard the Duck? Pah! I think not.
“If everyone’s super, then no one will be.” That line is said by the villain, which implies that the CORRECT world view is that the world is better when everybody is not super. Which has all SORTS of weird implications. I wonder if Brad Bird really wanted to convey such an über-pro-capitalist message, but he did.
????? The hero doesn’t murder the villain….Syndrome dies because he ignored the most important rule…NO CAPES!!!!!!
In all seriousness though, I can’t think of many superhero movies I’d put up as being being or at least close to as good as The Incredibles. There’s Batman Begins and Dark Knight of course, throw up Iron Man too. And I’d say X-Men and X-Men 2 deserve consideration. But that’s about it. I’m sure you would put Batman Under the Red Hood up there as well, anything else?
This was meant to be in response to Mouse’s comment about Howard the Duck
Captain America, Avengers and the original Superman.
Ugh, I hate the Superman movies. Superman is so boring
He’s not boring but he’s tricky to write well, I’ll admit that.
Well in my experience with him at least, he’s always been boring. And that includes all the movies. And it’s not so much that what he does is boring as it is that I never have any doubt that he’s going to win. He’s just too powerful. They basically had to invent a macguffin just to make him vulnerable, and it’s boring as hell to just have “OH I’VE GOT KRYPTONITE” be the only legitimate threat to him. Compare that to Batman or Captain America, who are both above and beyond the average human being but are not invincible. They have to rely on their brains and their courage as much as their brawn to defeat their enemies, and ever enemy (even a random thug with a gun) poses a threat. To me at least, that makes them far more interesting.
The Iron Giant, which is also the best post-1980 Superman movie to date.
…I’m only half-joking here.
I wouldn’t call that a superhero movie but it’s certainly the best movie I’ve ever seen that even tangentially involves Superman
Hence the “half-joking” amendment. But well, it is a movie about a being that originated on a different planet and is viewed with suspicion and fear by Earth’s authorities because of his immense powers but decides to be a superman for them in spite of their paranoid treatment of him because that’s the kind of person he chooses to be. And it does it a hundred times better than the live-action 2013 version.
No love for Tim Burton’s original Batman, Hellboys or the first two Blade movies?
Haven’t seen the Blade movies, but those other three are indeed great. They’re just a tier below the ones I named
In related news, Pixar today announced that Cars 3 is officially in development.
Oh god no.
In better news, Pixar also announced today that The Incredibles 2 is officially in development.
OH SWEET JESUS YES!!!!!!!
On one hand, that’s great! I loved The Incredibles and have been waiting for the sequel, like most of the world I’m sure, for YEARS. On the other hand….Can’t we have original content? Why does everything have to be a sequel nowadays? I’m a little sequeled\rebooted out.
Can’t respond to Cars. Didn’t see those movies.
Pixar has recently said that what they’re planning to do from here on out is release one original movie every year, and a sequel every other year. So both of these sequels are a ways off, I wold guess Incredibles 2 won’t come out until at least 2017, more likely 2018.
I think we all feel your pain, Lobo. A 3rd “Cars” movie. Dear. LORD. What is the world coming to?!!??!?!!?
So…was this Michael Tyndall’s request? Trying to keep track of the requests here.
Foodfight was. Sort of. He basically donated and told me to review something awful
Ok, I think I said in your Saludos Amigos review that you summed up both our feelings of Cars just fine there, but I guess the hedgehog’s ghost bribed/threatened Michael to help sate its taste for blood, and set up a thorough panning, so let’s see you give a beatdown to this total wreck of a movie which honestly was probably the most upsetting thing about the trailers in Finding Nemo for me when it came out. Far more than Home on the Range or even Chicken Little. This one really ticked me off. I think especially because the trailer opened with the camera panning over a countryside with a theme from A Bug’s Life playing, making fans of that movie like little preteen me really excited before pulling the rug out by having Mater run over a cartoon bee, bringing the A Bug’s Life theme to a grinding halt. And wouldn’t you know it, a car crash killed the voice of one of that movie’s most memorable characters just before this cursed movie’s release. Heimlich, we barely knew ye.
Dammit, it’s after midnight and you are going to make me wake up my cranky neighbours with my uproarious laughter, those Cleo jokes never get old. And of course Fiedelman, like any proper German shrink is all about sex all the time. Classic. Also, funny story, I remember when Cars was in theatres, one promotional interview was with Larry the Cable guy, whose feelings about his big screen début were pretty similar to your feelings about your first Pixar movie review. I have a feeling that says a lot. By the sounds of it, we’re both similarly alienated from this movie just by not being big into cars in general. Kind of like the common male reaction to a chick flick. Maybe this one was unpopular to a lot of Pixar fans because it had a far more narrow target audience than the other ones.
Hmm, I guess maybe the casting just went about their job wrong with Wilson. Maybe they figured the best guy for the role of an inanimate object would be someone who didn’t perform with feeling. Don’t know how they could have missed that this wasn’t the logic the casting folks of Toy Story used, which made for a far better movie. And as for villains, I guess you’d be generally right, but I do know a certain fruitily-fragrant fellow who might challenge that statement. And I’ll always admit, I had a soft spot for Syndrome’s portrayal, which may be instrumental to making The Incredibles my favourite Pixar movie. You may have been on to something with your villains make the movie theory.
I have to wonder though, how many of the parallels between Pixar movies and movies made before them that I’ve heard of are actually valid and how many are in the same camp as the Lion-King-is-a-Kimba-Ripoff camp. I’ve heard Monsters Inc. compared to a movie called Little Monsters, Toy Story to a stop-motion movie about living toys that was made earlier and A Bug’s Life to The Three… Was it Musketeers or Amigos? I always mix those two up, but one of those in any case.
That University of Bahia gag at the end cracked me up. I tried to hold it in for my neighbours and may have ended up choking. I hope you’re happy.
Well A Bug’s Life and Three Amigos are both parodies of The Magnificent Seven so it’s to be expected.
For the benefit of readers/viewers from nations who are not familiar with the ouevre of Larry the Cable Guy …
Larry is not doing a voice. Well, I suppose technically he is, I assume he doesn’t actually sound like that when he’s talking to, say, his mother, but he’s “doing a voice” in the same sense that Gilbert Gottfried was “doing a voice” when he played Iago or Jim Varney was “doing a voice” when he played Slink. I was going to add “or Patrick Warburton was ‘doing a voice’ when he did pretty much anything ever,” but I think that might actually just be what Patrick Warburton sounds like. Larry The Cable Guy’s whole schtick is that he’s, well, Larry the Cable Guy, a guy who makes Jeff Foxworthy look like David Niven. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (and it certainly seems to be a profitable thing), but he wasn’t exactly breaking new ground here.
“I ain’t no Mack, I’m a Peterbilt” says the truck and I’m sure that’s a very funny joke if you know anything about trucks.
For the uninitiated: In the USA, Mack and Peterbilt are the two biggest manufacturers of big rig trucks. In a world of talking cars, calling a Peterbilt “Mack” would be much like calling an Irishman “English”.