I have to admit that I had always kind of avoided the original "Cars." It had seemed like the most nakedly "market tested" Pixar film to me. I saw it as a movie that popped up right at the height of the NASCAR craze replete with hundreds of cute toy-ready cars just begging to be merchandized. The design of the characters, with their extra big adorable eyes leant the whole thing a syrupy air that had kept me away.
Of course when I sat down and actually watched the movie I was taken in by heart of the thing. It has a solid story of cocky little red race car who is forced to slow down and appreciate small town values and the beauty of the countryside. Still not my favorite Pixar film, but a solid effort and I'd recommend it.
So my cynicism had melted a bit as I rode the bus across the Bay Bridge to visit the Pixar campus back in March to get a sneak peek at "Cars 2" and meet the folks behind the film. We had been bused out the night before to have a tour of their newly built office building, attend a Pixar 25th anniversary mixer and screen the "Toy Story" Short "Hawaiian Vacation," which will be released theatrically in front of "Cars 2." I don't have a lot to say about the night before, however, as I can't talk about the the short, and the mixer was pleasant but not much to write about.
More after the jump.