I love to go to the movies, but because of the demographics of our household, I see more kids' movies than grown-up movies. So, in the past two years, we have seen many, many previews for the last movie created under the Pixar-Disney agreement, Cars. This movie became something of a bargaining chip in the contract renewal negotiations, which of course resulted in the Disney-Pixar acquisition. However, during negotiations, the release of Cars was postponed until this summer. So, my kids had a lot of built-up anticipation about this movie, and I had a built-up sense of dread. The end result? I loved it! My kids, however, did not follow much of the movie, but did seem to love the characters, which is really what the movie is about, right? Merchandising.
I thought that the movie would be disappointing because even Disney can't anthropomorphize metal into cuddly characters (think Robots -- shiver), but that did not prove to be the case. Each car is distinct in personality, appearance, movement, and speech, and you forget after awhile that the characters are cars. But, the movie jumps the Shrek divide in some ways. The big belly laughs erupting in the theater were from parents, not the kids. To really appreciate the movie you need some background knowledge in popular culture, including (1) who Paul Newman is; (2) what NASCAR is; (3) what Route 66 is; (4) urban planning issues that arise from the interstate highway system; and (5) how to drive. And to me, the funniest moment was when a Hummer2 wouldn't get it's tires muddy, which of course was a gag my children did not get.
All in all, I'm sure we'll buy the DVD, if only because I enjoyed sitting through the movie much more than any other children's movie this year. I hear that the box office opening was disappointing compared to The Incredibles and Finding Nemo and that Disney stock fell yesterday, but my little boy rode his bike last night to his own tune of "I'm Lightning McQueen!"
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