June 20, 2006


From my upcoming review in The American Conservative:

Although the Pixar animators do everything imaginable to infuse the cars with personalities, automobiles still prove ill-chosen vehicles for two hours of anthropomorphizing. In particular, Luigi and Guido, the Italian-stereotype Fiats working at the Pirelli tire shop, suffer from the autos' lack of hands with which to gesticulate vociferously. A more subtle deficiency of this kids' movie is that there are no kids in the factory-built world of "Cars."

And then there's the fanatically precise scenery. One of Jorge Luis Borges's funnier conceits was the fictional Chinese emperor so adamant about his imperial cartographers' providing more detail that he eventually had them draw a map of China exactly as large as China itself. "Cars" is similarly unclear on the concept of artistic abstraction. Back in 1995's "Toy Story," John Lasseter's computer graphic techniques were charming in their creative simplification and exaggeration of reality. Now, the technology has evolved to where -- through a prodigious expenditure of talent, time, and money -- the CGI desert in "Cars" looks virtually as photorealistically genuine as the actual desert in, say, the modestly budgeted "Road Warrior" -- and, therefore, almost as pointless as the emperor's 1:1 scale map.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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