Up, Cars, and Cars 2 (Part 5 of 5)

And this concludes my discussion of all the films Pixar has made. Sorry this post is so far behind. Stuff happened.

The story of UP is that a grouchy old senior who idolized a famous explorer is out to complete the dream vacation his wife never got to do. In the process, he accidentally takes with him a "cub scout" kid who's only trying to assist the elderly, so he can finish his projects. The old guy (who was a balloon man at the zoo) achieves his dream trip (plot device alert) by inflating hundreds of balloons out of his chimney. He then floats away, with cub scout kid stuck on his porch. Paradise falls, the destination, is an actual place (although possibly suedonymed) deep in the South American jungle which the directors actually went to to see what it looked like.

I know that some of you don't think this one is terribly funny, but for our part it ranks high on the list, for the following reason: We can take the gags personally. Dug the dog acts exactly like my brother's dog, especially when he says "Oh yes, I would so love the ball. You will throw the ball, and I will bring it back, and you will throw it again, and I will bring it back..." And then the recurring hearing-aid gag makes us laugh too, because we have to live with that.

The parts that aren't so good include the idea that the monomaniac explorer actually killed perfectly innocent people for the sake of his obsession. Less bothersome parts that still stung were elements like the plot device whereby everyone could breathe perfectly well in the higher reaches of the atmosphere; until of course, they wanted a sight gag, at which time the kid suddenly began holding his breath as he floated past. Also, it was awkward that the old guy was kind of nuts, and continues to talk to his dead wife as if she's still there. The end, too, was confusing. At first sight, I was under the impression that some of the photos in the adventure book had appeared from nowhere posthumously, which is creepy.

Cars is an unexceptional "lose your ego" movie which is set in the context of a NASCAR style contest. (There are several inside jokes for people who know anything about NASCAR racing: An announcer named Daryll Cartrip, a car with an huge "Dale sr." mustache, and an aging champion who wears 43) Anyway, in the story, a hotshot rookie named Lightning barely ties on a technicality with 43 and the mustache in the championship race. Therefore, they need to (plot device) cross the country to hold the tiebreaker in a bigger market. In the course of the trip, Lightning gets separated from his truck and winds up in a forgotten backroad town on route 66 called Radiator Springs.

The good includes the aforementioned inside jokes (they are funny), a rusty tow truck named Mater, a retired racer named Doc Hudson, and the race sequences. (the population of RS becomes L's pit crew. it is funny to see how one little forklift can beat the mustaches off the enemy's pit crew...) 

That pretty much leaves Radiator Springs as the lame part. I know, this film is about settling down and, dare I say, "smelling the flowers", but it just doesn't feel like enough. The town has been reduced to a handful of shop owners who live off each other. There isn't a single extra car. Until, of course, the famous Lightning moves his base of operations there, so everyone comes to see him.

"Lose your ego" movies are so obvious. This one is ok but only reaches the third tier of Pixar's films. (at 12+, you can rank them all by dividing into tiers of three/four.)

Cars 2
Now here's a film that should not have been made. It's just plain terrible. What makes it watchable is that it plays like a spoof of Bond movies, with Bond's car as the star. Said Bond Car.

The good was the silliness of the Bond spoofiness. Lightning was better in this one too. Not much else.

And now, shall I rant? The whole story was a plot device, to promote another PC message! Or at least it looked that way. It was so jumbled at the end that I couldn't tell if they were promoting or hating on Big Oil. Mater is too clueless to be a centerpiece. The Japanese toilet sequence was just gross and really unnecessary. Shots of dead and being killed spy cars were slightly disturbing, at the thought "hey, little kids are watching this, maybe? In live action, this would probably be PG-13" Escapes you knew were coming in really plot-device ways. Whatever. You get the idea, right?
This is to date the only rotten movie Pixar has released, and it was. 38 on the tomatometer.

My Personal Ranking

Monster's Inc.

The Incredibles

Toy Story

Toy Story 3

Toy Story 2



Finding Nemo




A Bug's Life

Cars 2


  1. I really did not find Up to be very funny other than the dog, although I have a very different taste in humor than you do.
    I have seen Cars and I agree, it really was not anything special and I can barely remember much other than Larry the Cable Guy.
    Also I have not seen Cars 2 because of all the terrible reviews and I hate PC messages in movies!
    The Incredibles is my favorite of the Pixar movies. The action was surprisingly good for an animated movie and I liked the comic book reference. Plus Sam L. Jackson makes just about everything better. :D



    1. Well, that explains it all, doesn't it?
      On a side note, I'm not so sure anymore that I'm looking forward to Monsters 2, but I'll probably wind up seeing it anyway and I'll be satisfied if I can rank it above Brave.

  2. I have seen Up about once all the way through and the Dog was the best character.
    I prefer the second Cars movie to the first.
    Oh, and I've now seen Brave as well. It was different from what I thought the story would be but I loved the music!

    1. Right on, Dug is great!
      Just my opinion. My best friends agree with you, but of course I don't see why...(above)
      What did you think it would be like? There was stuff in the trailers that they altered or removed by the end. But you're right on there, too. The music is great! Patrick Doyle is a top-notch composer, I say.

  3. I sort of knew what the story was kind of about but I didn't go reading any spoilers or anything like that and so it was still quite a surprise.
    I now have the soundtrack and I've been listening to it a lot of the time.