The Beginning of the End for Pixar?

It’s Pixar’s 25th anniversary and what it has offered on this momentous occasion has failed to live up to expectations. While the first movie was termed as one of Pixar’s weakest movies, this movie has easily taken over the mantle. From a predictable story line to a role reversal of characters, Cars 2 has all the making of Pixar’s halt in the production of world-class movies. From a studio that has produced blockbusters like Toy Story, Wall-E, Findin Nemo and Up, we really did expect nothing short of an impending blockbuster.

The story begins in an almost James Bond-ish setting with the arrival of a new character, Finn McMissile, immaculately voiced by Michael Caine trying to disrupt a scheming group of thugs. The animation department takes no second chances in putting good use of 3D technology in creating the huge colony of oilrigs in the middle of the ocean. After a tense ten minutes, you fall in love with the newest addition to the Cars 2 character list and wait for a striking plot and exquisite storytelling.

But that’s where it all goes wrong. We go back to Radiator Spring to meet the hero – Lightning Mcqueen (voiced by Owen Wilson)? Unfortunately this time around the hero is a side character from the first movie, Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy). McQueen is taking his time off with his girlfriend Sally (voice by Bonnie Hunt), when yet another addition to the cast, Miles Axxelrod (voiced by Eddie Izzard), a billionaire announces a world grand prix. While initially refusing to race, McQueen gets pulled into it by an egotistical Italian car, Francesco Bernoulli (voiced by John Turturro), which is again voiced in a very stereotypical Italian voice. The parallel thin story is what Pixar has been trying to very conveniently portray through its trailers. Now since the movie is out, people will be wondering if they have been duped.

Finn is on a mission to disrupt a sinister plan by some really old cars, called ‘lemons’ in the movie, accompanied by the lovely Holley Shiftwell (voiced by Emily Mortimer), when the rusty old tow truck comes into the fray accidentally. Mater’s mix up as an American spy is where all the action lies, and the audience is left yawning over a period of time, even though there are some laugh-worthy moment at times. Axxelrod’s plan to introduce alternative fuel to actually disrupt the use of the same, is another confusion to the plot.

With exotic locations making way for pure American race tracks, and a spate of thugs giving way to scheming racers, Cars 2, directed by Pixar genius, John Lasseter does serve up its technical brilliance, but only to be foiled by an average script and weak characters. If you go in looking for the speed and thrill of racing cars, don’t be disappointed to return back with the feeling that this is the beginning of the end of Pixar magic.

Nishath Nizar