Cars 2, Disney/Pixar
So much of contemporary American animated cinema is washed out, compact and mechanized. Like all studio genres, audience expectation must be met. No room for adventurous experimentation, hence all of the same anthropomorphous flicks, recycling the same tired plot. Hollywood's formula: if something isn't "broken", then don't fix it. The same goes for their comedy, horror and action genres. When a strong director comes along, then he can whip the old hat into new kicks.Films like Rango and Priest are fewer and fewer.
John Lasseter, as head of Disney's celebrated Pixar division, has shown himself to be a capable craftsman with the occasional touch of greatness. Although surpassed in vision by Brad Bird, as far as American animation auteurs go, his Toy Story films and Up! have left their imprint on our movie going culture, especially the younger set. Cars 2 is the visually dazzling sequel to an earlier success I rather liked in its spin on the talking animals, its simplicity and homespun Americana trappings.
Lasseter delves into that patriotism through our collective fixation on car culture into a plot right out of 007, giving the parents a fun plot to follow while the kids get their beloved Lightning and Mater back. Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy return as capable voice talent, while Michael Caine is deliciously thrown in for the sheer spy factor.
What results is cute and amiable, Summer family diversion, yet far from the glory of classic Walt Disney or contemporary Hiyao Miyazaki.