It’s hard to find a defining moment in “Cars 2”. I guess it’s about being true to yourself. Or maybe it’s about accepting your friends with all their imperfections. Honestly, I just don’t know. The writers of ‘Cars 2’ took the same fish out of water theme and expanded it onto a global stage. This time however, it was Mater who was the focus. In the first movie, Lightning came to a self realization about the emptiness of his life and made a choice to focus on things life friendship and love. In this version, Mater is constantly belittled into realizing that he doesn’t fit on this global stage only for everyone to change their mind at the end. Which, to me, seems like a lot of meanness for no good point. There are no character arcs to speak of and nothing has changed for the characters by the end of the movie. Pixar has always been very clear that they do not make sequels simply for the sake of making a sequel. John Lasseter has stated that they need to have a quality story to tell. It makes me wonder what happened here.
It is a small comfort to me to know that even Pixar can’t get it right all the time. By any metric you might care to use the company is wildly successful both creatively and commercially. Until ‘Cars 2’ it seemed like they couldn’t do anything wrong. They are innovators. They both connect with and shape contemporary culture. It seems like they have their fingers on the pulse of their audience. In spite of all of that ‘Cars 2’ was a dud. If even these brilliant folks can mess up, I guess it’s ok when I miss the mark too.
No one is perfect. Mistakes happen. Projects fail. Expecting otherwise can make us crazy. No one and nothing is immune to failure. While we might choose to find that thought depressing, I chose to find it hopeful. I am not the only one who fails. I am not the only one who makes mistakes. If even the great Pixar with its staff of creative geniuses can make a flop, I can probably give myself a little bit of a break.
Am I selling this movie short? Leave your score here: