I don't know how the Big O got wind that Cars was coming out soon, but somehow he did. Not that that's why we went. We would have gone anyway. It's a Pixar movie.
Let me say that again:
It's a Pixar movie.
And it certainly lived up to the Pixar name.
But let me start by talking about the trailers, including a host of crappy-looking, same-same-looking animated movies from Sony and Nick and you name it. They are all the exact same movie. Just with varying degrees of crappy animation.
Then the promo for Ratatoille (Pixar's next film) comes on. The difference is astonishing. Here is a movie with quality, I can tell already. The animation is sharp. The voices aren't handy celebrities, but actually match the characters and their film. And the humor? Yes, I see a rat eating something gross. But the execution raises it high above the deer-in-a-bra I saw six minutes earlier.
Then we saw One Man Band and loved it. The audience clapped. This is not six bucks down and poop out all memories the next day; Pixar makes art.
I have to admit talking cars are a little weird. This may not ever become my most-watched Pixar film. But I nearly cried as James Taylor sang and we watched a Route 66 town be passed by the freeway and turn to dust.
I already hate the death of small-town America, but no movie has made me cry over it before.
And yes, Pixar hires celebrities. But Owen Wilson was perfect. And Paul Newman--he could live comfortably doing voiceovers alone, I know it. What a voice! And even Larry the Cable Guy managed pathos as well as a trademark line or two. The voices were the right voices--not mere marquee weight.
Mr Lasseter? If you're reading this, I would cut off my right arm to work in your story department.
Wait. No. Maybe not. Maybe not my right arm.
But make me an offer. I'll say yes.
Anyway, O loved it. I loved it. Lady Steed loved it. My parents loved it. My sister loved it. Her friend loved it. We laughed our heads off and nearly cried and were honestly moved.
I knew enough about the story's premise to fear Lasseter's big return would be his least movie, but no no no. I don't know how, precisely, you take talking cars and give them limited time together and create meaningful, believable relationships----but I'ld like to learn, Mr Lasseter-----but they managed. And editing is a mystery to me too.
Hitchcock said film is the artform whose medium is time, and watching Pixar seems evidence of that. The perfect pause for a joke to work. Done. The hold that moves the soul. Done. The cut that tells you not just where you are and the time of day but the state of mind and heart and the meaning of life. Done.
Anyway, I gush. But they deserve it.
I remember reading about Joe Ranft's death last year and hurting for his Pixar colleagues. I, of course, never knew him. I heard him on the DVDs and I knew some of what he did and I enjoyed his Heimlich, but I didn't know him.
I wish I had. I wish I could have mourned him as a friend and not a fan.
Anyway, Cars is great. Go see it. Go see the best writers and animators do their stuff.
I love animation. And I love this animation explosion, even if the market is being flooded with crap.
But all is not dark.
We have Pixar.
And me. I'm between gigs at the moment, Mr Lasseter. If you're looking, I'll make myself available.