In the face of lukewarm reviews, I went to see Cars tonight – you tend to lower the bar on the movies you’ll watch when you live within a couple of minutes walk from a cinema. I’d been ambivalent about Cars ever since it’d been announced, because it didn’t seem to have the potential for a good story. It was just too simple – a hot rod racecar landing in a sleepy country town, helping out the locals and presumably getting back to ‘civilisation’ having built some character and made a bunch of new friends.
However, I felt the same way when I heard about Finding Nemo, and that movie ended up surprising me, so it would’ve been remiss of me not to give Cars a chance. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised. Cars is a good, fun movie – it might be very predictable (see the plot summary above) and cliched at times, but it has some great moments and it’s still better than average. I certainly enjoyed it more than Superman Returns (which itself wasn’t that bad), although it doesn’t reach the heights of, say, Toy Story 2.
Once thing struck me towards the end of the movie:
(Now, this is technically a SPOILER but if you don’t see this coming, then you clearly haven’t been paying attention to the movie.)
Basically, the hero sacrifices his chance at glory and success to help someone else. It’s a wonderful scene, and I thought to myself, what a good lesson for the kids. And then I thought, actually, maybe not. Because after our hero makes his sacrifice, he ends up being applauded and rewarded far more than he would have otherwise. The simple fact is that it just isn’t like that in real life – when you make a sacrifice, chances are, no-one’s going to applaud you, no-one’s going to reward you, and very possibly, no-one’s going to care. So, the reason for making a sacrifice shouldn’t be because you might be rewarded or people will think you’re a nice guy, it should be because you think it’s the right thing to do.
Trite and obvious (I hope) but not so for everyone, especially kids. It would be great to see a story that illustrates the point – maybe I’ll even do it myself. Anwyay, it’s just a movie and Pixar movies have to have happy endings – I understand that.
(End of SPOILERS)
One more thing. While the opening short animation isn’t the best that Pixar have done, the credits shorts are simply excellent. Not a single person left the theatre while they were on. This was partly because there were only about ten people there, but they all enjoyed it. In fact, it’s a testament to the quality of the film that there were quite a few laughs and chuckles throughout it, despite the fact that most people stay very quiet in an empty theatre.