Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

08 February 2007

The All New Pixar Movie

I am of two minds about Disney/Pixar's Cars. Let me first say that I am a big fan of Pixar and an even bigger fan of John Lasseter, Cars' director. But Cars is not Pixar's usual, innovative, hilarious fare. In fact, it's a whole lot different. Cars looks fabulous. The movie is, in fact, worth seeing just for the amazing visual panache that the film boasts. There are some really awesome sequences and very cool camera angles. The casting, too, is nearly uniformly excellent, with some wonderful, grin-inducing cameos (my favorite was hearing Click and Clack from NPR's Car Talk). The film stars Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Larry the Cable Guy and John Ratzenberger (of course).

But then the film is also kind of, well, formulaic, simple and totally clichéd. It's another in a long line of films about people who are just going too fast in their lives and need to learn to slow down and appreciate the lives that are just racing by them (I haven't seen it yet, but I'm assuming Click is next in line--it arrives next week.) This movie is directed at people like me: people who are in too much of a hurry to notice how beautiful life really is. Except that all of that fantastic nostalgia is bullshit. Call me a cynic, but I think I can move quickly through life and appreciate what it has to offer. I don't think it's completely necessary for me to be living in a small town in order to live a good life. I live in a small town now and I have to say I think the slow life is a little overrated. The kind of ideological sermonizing in Cars bores me to tears.

The movie isn't boring, though. It's not boring at all. There are some slower sequences, but they're nothing like the down time in, say, the excruciating Blood Diamond or the sleep-inducing V for Vendetta. Cars zips right along, gets lots of laughs and engenders all kinds of good will. I didn't fully understand the mechanics of the races (the opening one or the final one--why does that yellow car slow everyone down?), and it isn't anywhere near A Bug's Life or Monsters, Inc. or The Incredibles but I think Cars is my favorite animated feature of the year. (It's a year without Miyazaki. What can you do?)