We Bought a Zoo
A widowed father played by Matt Damon moves to the South Californian country and purchases a zoo with his family
On Film4: 31 Aug 6:25PM
Dim bulb Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) takes centre stage over his friend Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) in this sequel to Pixar's 2006 animated talking car caper
Pixar's 2006 vehicle vehicle (so to speak) Cars was designed to showcase the filmmakers' genuine affection for characters which children latched onto, even as their charms eluded the older audience that clasped other Pixar creations - Buzz Lightyear, Wall-E, that old guy from Up - to their bosoms. Cars 2 won't win any new converts, but will sell an awful lot of car toys.
As in the first film, the logic of Car-world will trouble those over twelve. Where do baby cars come from? What happens when cars die? Do cars have a soul? In this sequel, this is made still more complex by a plotline involving some rubbishy cars, who want everyone else to be rubbish too, or something, and so decide to create a Top Secret Conspiracy designed to bring everybody down, man. But it seems in this universe that cars can have upgrades and be rebuilt, in which case, why do the rubbish cars want to stay rubbish? Is it because they're refusing to conform to modern society's unattainable aesthetic standards? In which case, surely, fair play to them, sort of. Although not really, because they're trying to make everyone else fail too. It's like when a group of activists get you thinking they have a good point and then do something inexcusable like dress up as superheroes and burn down a barn full of children.
It's likely none of this would matter so much with a charismatic lead to focus on, but for some reason in this film, they've decided to make the tow-truck Mater (voiced by the Deep South's answer to Al Murray, Larry The Cable Guy) the hero of the movie. It's like suddenly making Baldrick the hero in Blackadder. Or making a movie about Randy from My Name Is Earl. Or giving Joey from Friends his own series. Oh, wait.
Deeply annoying as Mater is, it's nice to see (or hear, rather) Michael Caine and Emily Mortimer voicing new characters. You just wish it was in a better film.
Absolutely fine for a family outing with young children, but we've come to expect something with more range and subtlety from these filmmakers.
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