CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: Despite a Ferrari Predecessor, ‘Cars 2’ is a Honda Requiring Repair
CHICAGO – “Cars 2” is an unequal Pixar blend for adults and kiddies that never evolves into the storytelling success of its predecessor. The film, which draws thematic elements from “The Bourne Identity,” “Beverly Hillbillies” and “Transformers,” is a Honda needing a body shop as compared to the pristine Ferrari that was “Cars”.
While landing smack dab in the middle between a failure and an indisputable triumph, “Cars 2” disappointingly floats in averageland when compared not only to its first film but especially to top-notch animated pictures like “WALL-E” and “Toy Story 3”.
Though tykes will enjoy the film’s racing action and loveable comedy relief from the rusted and dented tow truck Mater (played masterfully by Larry the Cable Guy), much of the content of “Cars 2” is over their heads. Instead of an equal, 50/50 blend for children and their parents (like we’ve seen in animated films such as “Tangled”), “Cars 2” is 65 percent for adults and only 35 percent for kids. All the while, it’s marketed almost entirely for kids to nag their parents into taking them.
|Read Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Cars 2”.|
Just as we were immersed in modern themes with “WALL-E” (i.e. recycling, going green, protecting the environment, etc.), touchy and prescient themes are the lynchpin of the “Cars 2” story. On the surface, kids will eat up funny jokes from Mater and enjoy the racing rivalry between Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and archrival Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro). While Francesco Bernoulli hilariously loves himself so much that he discusses himself in the first person, Larry the Cable Guy as Mater is the shining star of this film.
But under the hood of this Pixar eye-candy picture, the “Cars 2” story revolves around alternative fuel and the politics surrounding Big Oil. “Cars” and “Cars 2” both have underlying themes of friendship, loyalty, “winning isn’t everything” and “life is about the voyage rather than just the result”.
Image credit: Disney/Pixar