Monday, March 20, 2006

New Yorker is ambivalent about new Cars trailer

I saw the new Cars trailer online the other day and am feeling a little bit mixed on the matter.

I was immediately struck by the beauty of the artwork portraying the dusty, craggy mountain ranges surrounding Route 66. The landscapes are stunning, and in particular there is a shot of the red car driving through the tunnel towards a waterfall that is breath taking. Not that Pixar has ever failed to impress in the visuals department, but what I think is most astounding about them, is how they are able to create a unique stylistic vision for each of their films, while maintaining certain visual trademarks.

What I am not so sure of however, are the characters and the story. While the setting of the film is striking, the design of main character –the lil’ red racing car, is strangely cartoonish. While I think the characterizations of the different kinds of cars are funny, there’s something about it that also feels a little gimmicky about it. That technique of personifying inanimate objects and animals based on their appearance can be funny and clever, but it also seems like kind of an easy joke, and one that Pixar has definintely used before. In The Lion King, it was enough of a stretch for me to believe that Simba and Nala shared a romantic night together where they felt “the love”, but ask me to buy a race car and a porshe courting each other, and that might be just too much for me.

My feelings on Pixar varies greatly depending on the project. I think most of their short films are terrific, (my favorite is Boundin’). Features wise it’s a bit hit or miss. I certainly think they all look incredible. I love Toy Story, but not Toy Story too. I though Monsters Inc. was a terrific idea, but had so-so execution. I thought Finding Nemo was OK, but loved The Incredibles. Usually its about every other one that I really like, so they are actually due for a less than stellar entry. Nevertheless I will be at the theatre to admire their craft and precision.


Blogger Daddy Background said...

The teaser for The Incredibles has to rank right up there maybe with the best ever. Mr. Incredible's fight with his belt, a scene that wasn't even in the movie. Like you, I didn't feel the same sense of anticipation for Cars, but gee, how do you top The Incredibles? I love the Pixar movies. I don't think they've had a miss yet. So there's a certain brand-loyalty that I've developed over the years watching their movies and as a result I'm a bit nervous for Cars. You don't want it to be the first one that tanks (small pun not intended).

On the other hand, I recently read an interview from the CANOE web site (the link is gone or I would have included it) which pointed out that it's John Lassiter once again behind the wheel for this production and that it's very personal story for him. So naturally my expectations have been raised once again. I'll be one of the first in line when the movie comes out.

4:51 AM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

The teaser for the Incredibles was in fact, terrific and I do think it will be hard to top that film. But regardless I think it'll be good fun summer fare.

9:48 AM  
Blogger jeremybgg said...

i have a friend who posits that this movie is an intentional tank on the part of pixar because it was made before the new disney deal was made. his theory makes no sense, which is why he is in a successful punk band based on popular children's books, instead of a successful hollywood mogul.

1:03 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Interesting theory....

1:12 PM  

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