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Discussion: Cars 2: Is It Really That Bad?

Now over the past few months, when the internets were rife with rumours and rumblings of a sequel to Cars, I was very skeptical. Could you blame me? 

Cars is generally accepted as the least spectacular of Pixar’s fine films, even though it was the best animated film of 2006, and is still better than a lot of other animated films. So why would Pixar consider creating a sequel to their "worst" (and I use that term very lightly) film? Brad Bird said it wasn’t in Pixar’s business model to create sequels, and even then, Pixar maintain that they don’t create sequels unless there is a story begging to be told. What possible story could their be for Cars 2 that was in such desperation to be told? There were better Pixar films to create a sequel to. Monsters, Inc. for example, it was left open at the end, which just cries out for a sequel. The Incredibles, the second most popular Pixar film that definitely warrants a sequel eventually. Back in June, 2007, Disney announced in a press release that Cars merchandise had accounted for more than $2 billion dollars of their financial earnings. Cars is definitely one of Disney’s biggest properties, and they want to milk it for all it’s worth, and are soon opening an online Cars virtual world, as well as Cars Land at DCA in 2012.

The rumours made it appear as if this was a Disney influenced decision, only making the Cars sequel, to even milk the property for more of it’s worth, and not because a sequel was wanted or warranted. I eagerly dismissed a Cars 2, and condemned it for the above reasons, as did many others. Even some irrefutable evidence upon which I wasn’t allowed to disclose, nor discuss, was presented to me and I dismissed it as rumours and untrue.  However, to many a shock and awe, Disney•Pixar announced on Tuesday the 6th of April, Cars 2 was in production, being directed by Ratatouille producer Brad Lewis, and was slated for Summer 2012.
Everybody everywhere asked questions, "Why? How? Who? What?". It didn’t make much sense to anybody except to those at Disney•Pixar who are close to the project. But is it a good thing? Let’s take a look at some opinions held on the matter.

The first and most obvious is that it’s purely for money, by expanding on a very popular money-making asset for the Walt Disney Company. This leads to many readings, including that the Walt Disney Company is pressuring Pixar into doing things it wouldn’t have done normally. A different perspective on this is that the big wigs at Disney have asked Pixar to make a few sequels to existing films, which are a sure-fire guarantee for money, to balance out their original films, which aren’t as certain to make it at the box office. Ratatouille is an example of where the mouse house was apparently worried it wouldn’t perform well, but it turned out to make it into Pixar’s top three, box office wise.
Another opinion is that Pixar are going to try and redeem themselves for Cars. I like the sound of this one. Toy Story was great, but Toy Story 2 is known for one of the few sequels which are better than the original. And then the money is only second in the decision. 

And perhaps the other opinion circulating is that Pixar really do have a good story to tell, and are eager to explore the world of Cars more. It was hinted in the synopsis that Lightning McQueen and Mater would be travelling internationally, in which case might take them to Europe for the F1 and maybe even Australia for V8 Super Car racing. This would make the film appeal internationally to racing fans everywhere, unlike Cars which dealt with NASCAR and only appealed to USA racing fans, and only hinted at international racing with Guido and Luigi and Michael Schumaker. 
But what about the merchandise? Cars was known for its fantastic merchandise. I myself have a quite a few pieces. And the soundtrack. I maintain it’s one of the best soundtracks for an animated film to date. It’s compilation of new and original songs was great. Hopefully Cars 2 would mean another great soundtrack, perhaps with a few songs influenced by other countries if McQueen & Mater travel the world. It would also mean more diecast models which many have eagerly collected, and Disney•Pixar keep releasing more. 
For a Cars 2, I only ask for them to include the following cars, a MINI Cooper, an Aston Martin, an Alfa Romeo and a BMW. Feel free to share your opinions below in the comments, and check out the opinions of the members of Pixar Planet.  

0 Responses to Discussion: Cars 2: Is It Really That Bad?

  1. Anonymous says:

    To add to that, “The Incredibles” is amazing but it hasn’t had the level of long term staying power needed for a sequel that won’t come out for several years. “Monsters, Inc” is too old and once again, staying power. Plus, I don’t see how the end cries out for a sequel to be honest.

    People are forgetting that how much a movie makes at the box office isn’t even close to everything. “The Incredibles” making the second largest amount of money at the box office does not at all make it “the second most popular Pixar movie.” Would you argue that “The Incredibles” is more popular than the “Toy Story” movies because it made more? Probably not. Merchandise and staying power must be taken into consideration, and “Cars” has shown a kind of success and longevity only equated by the “Toy Story” franchise. At this point in time an “Incredibles” sequel (much as I would like to see one), might be money down the hole if it didn’t come out until 2012. While Pixar is certainly about story before everything, it’s simply not smart as a business for them to put out something they KNOW probably be that profitable.

    I’m actually a little peeved by this post. It’s not news in the least, and makes the assumption that most people seem to think “Cars” is a weak Pixar movie. I don’t think that’s quite the view amongst the general public.

  2. Anonymous says:

    my theory is that Disney forced Pixar to make a sequel to something. they had their pick of any movie but chose cars because it doesn’t have much to live up to as far as Pixar standards go. if they were to make any other sequel and it didn’t turn out better than the original, it would look really bad. they can afford to make a possibly mediocre sequel to (arguably) the worst pixar movie to date to just make profit. honestly if I had to pick one pixar movie to milk a sequel out of it would be cars. put any other pixar sequels on hold until and unless they can come up with a story worth telling. I think they have their hands full with the crazy amount of other (original) stuff they have in the works. not to mention Toy Story 3

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think you can easily simplify it – it’s ALWAYS about the money.

    But looking deeper – it’s basically because Lasseter now has stake in Disney as a whole and no longer just Pixar.

    Remember that Pixar’s rule for sequels has always been – “it’s up to the director.” Since Lasseter directed Cars, and he now is invested in the theme parks and Disney’s profit margins as well, he most likely felt like this could only help the company as a whole. He LOVES the theme parks and wants to help save DCA. To him, it’s not just about Pixar’s legacy now, it’s about Disney’s legacy.

    Meaning – no worries about the other Pixar directors being “forced” into making “unnecessary” sequels about their babies, like Bird with the Incredibles or Stanton with Finding Nemo.

    Ernie S.

  4. MB1000 says:

    I’m actually quite excited about ‘Cars 2’. It’s going to be Brad Lewis’ directorial debut so that’ll be interesting to see.

    So what if money is a factor? Money was a factor in making ‘Toy Story 2’, and that ended up being one of Pixar’s best. It’s not about the other reasons that get a film made. It’s about the story.

    I believe the naysayers will be disappointed…

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think all of these factored into the rational to do a CARS2 in order:

    Merchandise sold $2 BILLION’s dollars worth last year – 2 YEARS after the movie was released and the diecast car ine is about to cross 100 CARS with no end in sight.

    John Lassetter is annoyed that the 3rd highest grossing film of 2006 and the 2nd best selling DVD of 2006 (after Pirates) is considered “weak,” based on a story so near and dear to him.

    Pure Money – Ice Age 2/Shrek 2/Shrek 3/Ice Age 3 all grossed in the neighborhood of $700-$800 million EACH worldwide – people love sequels even if they have no point or in the case above – shabby animation. I think CARS 2 will certainly be better than those 4 put together.

    CARLAND opening at CA Adventure.

    So, for personal and professional reasons and of course, money … if you look around now – CARS 2 is now a beloved film with 3-70 year olds.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think a Cars 2 would be awesome!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why would pixar want to make a sequel they weren’t behind 100%? give them some credit guys… they’re not Dreamworks or Blue Sky who have that one little movie that they milk for every penny they think they can get out of it.
    If we all tote the “at pixar story comes first” banner then why not go out on a limb and say if they are doing a sequel it is probably because they have more to say in that universe. Sure you can say money is an issue, but Pixar crushed toy story three when it was originally going to be made by the mouse and it would most definitely have been a huge cash cow.

    now dont get me wrong… cars was my least fav out of the bunch, so i’m skeptical about a sequel as well, but i’m willing to trust the guys who have an almost perfect track record.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Simple reason why Cars 2 is coming. Cars was a pet project from Pixar head John Lasseter, who’s now the head of Disney. Now, something like The Incredibles, which in my opinion was Pixar’s best, was created by Brad Bird, who was a complete outsider to Pixar. So, my thoughts are that Mr. Lasseter, as much as I love what he’s done (whenever I see him now I think he’s basically a reincarnation of Walt in a Hawaiian shirt), is having his first ego trip.

  9. MB1000 says:

    Oh, come on! You call yourselves fans? Please!

    I’m more worrried about the ‘John Carter’ movies said to be in the works…

  10. CountSolo says:

    The only reason that I’m worried about ‘Cars 2’ is that ‘Cars’, which is an absolute masterpiece, wrapped everything up really nicely for me that I somehow find it hard to believe that they would create a sequel for it. Also, I’d be lying if I said otherwise, but the first thing that came to mind when ‘Cars 2’ was announced was the whole “Disney pressuring Pixar” argument. Whatever the case may be, I hope that ‘Cars 2’ will turn out to be a masterpiece as well. Besides, the only thing that we know right now is that there will be a ‘Cars 2’, so we should definitely wait until the movie gets released before passing any judgment.

    Speaking of judging, it seems as though people have become too quick to jump to the conclusion that John Lasseter is losing his touch, or that he’s having an “ego trip” as an Anonymous poster put it, without backing up their claim. Some people provide the evidence that “Cars” is the least favoured of the Pixar films, and John Lasseter got really upset over this. But for crying out loud – least favoured or not, don’t forget that John also made the two “Toy Story” movies, which are regarded very highly by the public compared to all other Pixar films (which pretty much means that they are regarded EXTREMELY highly). Also, I highly doubt that Lasseter will all of a sudden lose his mind and make films solely for the money, just because he now has a high-ranking position at Disney.

    My point is: It’s okay to get worried, but it’s not okay to pass judgment to a movie when the movie hasn’t even been released (and we barely know anything about it!)

    By the way, I think all Pixar films thus far are masterpieces, and I hope that these upcoming Pixar flicks would be just as great, if not even better, than what they’ve previously done.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I for one would like to know how Brad Lewis became a director. He doesn’t really seem to have any animation credentials other than producing a couple of movies…

    Does anyone know anything more about his background and how he became a director on a movie that will be so closely scrutinised?

  12. Fillmore says:

    Perhaps I’m in the minority, in that I rank Cars a lot higher than it’s ‘least great’ position (personally ‘A Bugs Life’ can go in that place instead). So for me news of a Cars 2 sequel is really cool. Yes, I agree that the money and Disney’s imperative may well have created the impetus for a sequel, but let’s not forget that ultimately Pixar exists not just because of its artistic excellence but also because it needs to make money. So, on those grounds let’s not be too harsh on the prospects of a Cars 2.

    As for some other aspects (e.g. the internationalization of the Cars world, the closure of the original storyline), well I am a little bit more ambivalent. Even though I live in Australia I ‘got’ the Nascar cultural references in the original film, and in fact the juxtaposition of the likes of Guido and Luigi actually made the culture clash between US and international car racing even more funny. I still burst into tears of laughter when Michael Schumacher comes into the tyre shop, and of course Tony Shaloub’s voice talents really emphasize the humour. I’m also happy with the way the original Cars story resolves; how much further can you take the story of Lightning and/or Doc Hudson without making it seem redundant. ‘Toy Story’ and ‘Toy Story 2’ have that remarkable synchronicity where the sequel’s story comes almost organically from the original characters and their plot motivations. In other words, how can Lightning relearn or rediscover something about himself, or for that matter what will Doc do? If it becomes a story about Sally, Sarge, Fillmore (I know…maybe Fillmore goes missing kidnapped by the oil companies…“It’s a conspiracy man!!”) then ‘Cars 2’ will be an ensemble piece and not the usual Pixar model for a story (i.e. the hero goes on a quest and learns something about him or herself).

    Anyway…‘Cars 2’ gets a big ‘ka-chow!’ from me

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully we’ll get to see more racing… The original movie lacked excitement in the race scenes.

    And italian cars! Ferraris, Lamborghinis, etc. Please, please us “Need For Speed” fans!

    I agree that Cars is the perfect candidate for a sequel because they have nothing to lose, nothing to live up to… If they made a sequel for The Incredibles, Monsters or Ratatouille, on the other hand, they would be in risk of ruining the originals. Monsters and Ratatouille, in particular, should be left UNTOUCHED as the timeless classics they deserve to be. Each one had a perfect ending that allowed you to dream about the possibilities… just like the original “Matrix”, and just like traditional children’s stories.

    -An Ecuadorian Pixar fan hoping that Wall-E will not be another “Short Circuit”.

  14. Anonymous says:

    personally, I wouldn`t mind a “Cars” sequel, unless mc queen was the main character again- mc queen`s story waswrapped up in the first movie, and dosn`t need any more time in the spotlight. D.J., and the other street racers, on the other hand…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cars is the best movie Pixar Ever made! Cars storie is to the people in the towns by the route 66 and thats make the movie more alive, in fact that this is something that exist in real life! I love tha caracter Lightning McQueen, and Mater ect. So how can you say that this is Pixars worst movie, YOUR SO WRONG!
    I simply can’t wait until cars 2 comes. I hoped it would come on 2009!

    So my piont is, Cars is the Best animated movie that has ever existed! Other appinions doesn’t mater!:D

  16. Anonymous says:

    I would love if a cars seqeul would be releasing very soon. I really liked the animation movie in which every car had feelings of their own they even fall in love like mcqueen did.

    I want Cars 2 to be released today!

    It is one of the best movie of Pixar i have ever seen.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I think Cars was awesome, and so does every kid I know. My little boy is obsessed with Lightning McQueen. It was a fine movie, and I want the sequel!

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