05 July 2010
Since Pixar is about to launch a series of (sigh) sequels, and after (big sigh) Cars 2 is about to be Monsters, Inc. 2, I figured I'd give the first one another chance as my relax-don't-think movie of the night. It stands up pretty well on second viewing. Sure, it's a pretty straightforward kid's film with a lot of action, but all of the action revolves around the themes and the sci-fi-ish advancement of the world's technology, and it's fast-paced without ever losing sight of those story elements. It's actually kind of fun to see how we use, for example, Celia's outrage at Mike to "accidentally" give information to Randall to advance the plot (now the villain knows who has the kid and he can start threatening them directly, leading to our first major confrontation). It all moves along very conveniently, yes, so that no moment feels wasted, but it comes out of the characters and what they want from each other. Sometimes it's nice to watch a smart movie for children because it tends to be a little more direct, obvious even, and easy to pick apart, but so long as the story keeps firing on all cylinders there's nothing wrong with that.
As to a sequel, well, the "changed world" at the end of Monsters, Inc. seems to be a solid conclusion, but the film is pretty rich thematically and the emotional core of these characters is solid enough that I could see Pixar doing to this film what they did with Toy Story 2, both expanding and exploring the world, the characters, and the themes. It certainly promises a more interesting and watchable film than the sequel they'll be spitting out between now and Monsters, Inc. 2's release.
Honestly... is anybody anywhere interested in a Cars sequel? Ugh.