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As an audience member it’s time you decide where your interests lie. With Cars 2, either you can sit back, relax and breeze through the film, the experience of which you would have forgotten within an hour of leaving the hall. Or you could deconstruct it, and see the formulae unfold. Watch the film if you want to have some fun over the weekend and definitely watch the film if you feel infuriated about this whole sequel-culture that is floating about, so you know the exact prototype.
Every film studio in the current day and age is experiencing a domino effect. Ever since the first one, (bonus points for telling me which) decided it would be a cool idea to make a sequel of successful film – the idea has being flying from studio to director as if it were the most innovative thing since a nose trimmer. Cars 2 is no different than the fundamental process of wanting to double the success of an original film.
The first film, Cars was a depictive story of an anthropomorphic world of cars, their races and their lives; Cars 2 follows from the same plot, where world champion Lighting McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his best friend tow-trunk Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) head to Europe and Japan to participate in the World Grand Prix. Meanwhile, Mater gets whirl-pooled into an international espionage.
The movie is cute, you can’t take that away, with all it’s inside jokes about cars and a motor-ridden lifestyle. In this world, a car with open wheels is considered “good looking”, and they’ve managed to incorporate the fuel versus electricity debate, which sucks you in – as a movie about cars could have the potential to alienate a few.
There are a few sequences that are visually engaging and lot’s of fun to watch, like the opening sequence which plays around with a Bond-like night-time raid on a ship. The background music is head-popping and fast-paced, and the crisp, tight-cutting animated shots make you sit back and go, “okay this could be a fun two hours”.
However, it might be Pixar’s (the animation studio behind Toy Story, Wall- E and The Incredibles) reputation or just that fact that the original film Cars, was a surprisingly feel-good, intelligent film that set the bar high for the sequel, but both these factors work against the film. That’s the biggest problem with sequels - fundamentally, all the laughs, the jokes, the plot points feel rehearsed and forced. So when you laugh at the few moments in the film, you feel cheated. Cheated by a beer-bellied man in a tux is sitting behind a high-rising chair in a swanky office in LA smirking at his latest commercial investment.
And maybe you wouldn’t want that image in your head while you’re watching a feel-good animation film. Exactly at that point, the film starts to drop, as if there is some higher force governing the point at which the film gets predictable.
A side note on the animation of the film – the features of every car are innovative and true to the car's character, whether it’s the buck-teeth of Mater or the handsome open wheels of Francesco Bernaulli, Lightening McQueen’s rival (voiced by John Turturro, and possibly the most entertaining character of the film).
strong>Cars 2 is a fun weekend watch for you to unwind and sit with a large tub of popcorn. That is if you can channel out the voice of your movie-watching conscience. The same conscience that is trying to break your acceptance of lazy, “timepass” watches, that try to determine your intellect. Cars 2 is a decent film, and after a long week, you could treat yourself to a light film - but maybe it’s time to look at the larger picture, and much more stimulating alternatives to what you consider as treats.
This review is by guest reviewer Swetha Ramakrishnan. Swetha Ramakrishnan is currently living and working in Mumbai. She's a self-confessed film enthusiast and can most likely be found talking to anyone and everyone about popular cinema and her love for SRK. Swetha Ramakrishnan also blogs at http://swetharamakrishnan.blogspot.com/.
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