Discussion: Cars 2: Is It Really That Bad?

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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.  

Last modified: April 13, 2008