Stalled, by Tyler Smith

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7 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    I find myself frequently defending Cars among peers, and would rank it among my favorite Pixar movies (note: I said favorite, not best). When I heard they were making a sequel, I was somewhat intrigued, but once I found out what it was about, I found it hard to fake any sort of excitement.

    This whole idea seems more like a 5-10 minute Cars short, that could’ve been included on a Special Edition DVD/Blu-ray release, or shown on the Disney channel (like Tokyo Mater was).

    That being said, I think the Malcolm quote in the opening paragraph discredits Lasseter. A sentence earlier you mention him thinking the spy/Cars movie would be “really fun and interesting” which implies he thought more of a sequel than simply whether he could make it or not.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      I actually like the first film a lot more than I expected. I thought the story was very simple, yet had just as much emotional complexity as other Pixar films. Admittedly, I’ve always had a hard time really accepting the world of cars. Did humans build them? Did they build themselves? Did humans ever exist, or is this a universe in which there were only cars? If that’s the case, then why do they still look like cars, with doors and windows? The purpose of a door is to allow a person to enter. It was all very frustrating, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the film for me.

      I think you’re dead-on about the idea that it seems more like a short than a feature. I hadn’t thought about that, but you’re right. I’m a bit more willing- as are most audiences, I think- to accept major deviations from the normal story if it’s only for ten minutes. To devote 100 minutes, however, puts a bit of a strain on us.

      As for the Malcolm quote, I bring it up because I have an image of John Lasseter (a director and producer that I like and respect) sitting at home and he has a little flight of fancy. “What if we did a spy movie with Cars?” However, rather than really think through if that would be a good idea, he seemed to merely accept it as a thing he would try to do, and move on from there. We all think that certain things would be interesting, but we usually realize that they wouldn’t be at all practical, so we let them go. I think Lasseter should have let the whole spy story go.

      • Chris says:

        I think I mostly agree. If this spy story was the best idea they had for a sequel, I’m not sure I even want to know about the ideas that got tossed aside.

        Years ago when Pixar’s upcoming releases were announced, Cars 2 was slated for 2012, and Newt was supposed to be this summer’s release. With Newt canceled, Cars 2 got pushed up and I wonder how much of an affect that had on things (or whether Cars 2’s story was already set when Newt was canned).

        Seeing now how Cars 2 turned out (based solely on review, since I won’t see it myself until this weekend), I wonder if Newt got canceled because it was a bad idea/story, or just because it didn’t seem like a money-maker. I just wish Disney wouldn’t have sullied Pixar’s reputation with this sequel. Maybe they could have farmed it out to a different studio, and/or dump it as a direct-to-DVD movie.

  2. Travis says:

    The Malcolm quote can extend to Disney’s contribution to the film. “You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunch box. And now you’re selling it! You wanna sell it!”

  3. CW says:

    I really, really wanted the movie to stay focused on Lightning. Seeing him deal with the transition from a major player on the Nascar circuit to being considered an outsider/underdog in the Grand Prix could have been an interesting story, and it would have felt much more like a follow-up to the first movie, and his introspective lesson about accepting his friend for who he is would have been a lot less disingenuous (especially if it had been given time to develop, instead of spelled out in a couple lines of dialogue).

    Plus, animation-wise the first movie was most impressive in its racing scenes. They were visceral and exciting and felt like there was really something at stake. In theory the stakes in the sequel’s races should have felt even higher, but instead they were an unresolved afterthought.

    But I think my biggest disappointment was how commercial the movie was. It felt like it was only made because the first one was Pixar’s biggest merchandising success, and shifting the focus to the most popular character means more toys sold. On that front it will work – my 2-year-old loves Mater and she loved the movie. But up until now Pixar has made family films, not kids movies. Hopefully the cash they rake in from this will be used to finance the higher-quality films we’ve come to expect from them.

  4. kvn says:

    tyler, are you saying that mater’s realization (dare we say character development) was uncalled for? just curious…

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      I wouldn’t have a problem with it if it were, in fact, a true character arc. Specifically, if Mater suddenly realized who he was and that he would have to change, then I might be a little more satisfied.
      As it is, his realization has more to do with HOW he is viewed than WHY he is viewed that way. And this realization is meant to make us sympathize more with him and feel bad about ourselves as audience members for laughing at him.
      By the end of the film, all of the other characters wind up apologizing to Mater for the way they treated him. He hasn’t been required to change at all.
      All that is to say that, no, I thought any realization Mater has is less a function of the character and more a function of the filmmakers and their attempt to give a sub-par film some last minute depth.

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