"CARS 2" NOT A LANDMARK, BUT NOT A RETREAD, EITHER @ 11 November 2011 06:37 PM
Walt Disney's childhood idyll of a farm family life is the stuff of legend and has influenced many a Disney film and theme park. I can also be said that John Lasseter's childhood of road trips in the southwest, small towns that no longer exist due to superhighways and a love of automobiles is directly attached to what is now two Cars movies.

Most critics have been less than kind regarding Disney•Pixar's Cars 2, but the public is clearly honing in on Lasseter's wavelength and responding with enthusiasm (and strong summer box office and huge DVD sales) for the sequel especially for Mater, who takes center stage in this family-friendly spy thriller.

In the -- THANK YOU!! -- audio commentary, Lasseter and co-director Brad Lewis offer lots of cool factoids as well as their reasoning behind the creative decisions.

Lasseter says, "When we do a sequel, it's not just to retread the same emotional story that the original is. We want to find something new and something different." Little of the movie takes place in Radiator Springs, but rather in colorful, exciting international locales that offer the Pixar artists a chance to dazzle with truly breathtaking aerial views and meticulous details, which I find most enjoyable in high-def Blu-ray (3-D is nice, but you lose some clarlty and I'd rather revel in the details).

Lasseter also mentions that the story for Cars 2 sprang from a scene in the first film in which Lightning and Sally (who is not given enough to do in the sequel) see a spy thriller at a drive-in. He loved spy movies as a kid, particularly likes the Bourne series and
bourne movies and believes that Cars 2 isn't a spy movie spoof so much as a solid story that can stand on its own.

I personally found Cars 2 to be a throwback to the spy shows and films that I grew up with, like The Avengers, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Secret Agent and even Get Smart. These were all somewhat comedic as well as thrilling (especially Smart of course) -- but of all the spy genre films, Cars 2 reminded me most of one of my favorites theatrical features, Hanna-Barbera's The Man Called Flintstone.

My I favor you with a parody of the unforgettable theme to this epic adventure, with special Cars 2 lyrics?


Who do they call
When gears are startin’ to fall
When all the oil is spillin’
And synth fuels beginnin’ to brew?
The truck called Mater, that’s who-oo-oo-oo!

Who’s always there,
There to shoot and fly through the air
Who defeats Pacers and Gremlins
And all those cars we disliked too?
The truck called Mater, that’s who-oo-oo-oo!

He screams after eating wasabi
Down to the lobby
To learn the charms
Of the Japanese joh–onnns!

Who is the truck
Who succeeds with mostly dumb luck
While his pal Lightning is winning
Who’s spinning the crooks like fan belts?
The truck called Mater!
Who else, who else, who ELLLLLse!!

One final note on Cars 2 -- I drove a Gremlin in college and was hysterical with laughter that it and the Pacer were held is such comical "esteem" in Cars 2. They earned the distinction, to be sure.

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