I just saw Cars 2 last night, a special sneak preview held by Disney in SF. We blazed through traffic like a laser, devouring asphalt at a giddy pace, one not known in the Bay Area at 6:30PM. It was Sunny and me, enough for a carpool in a light diamond lane. I told Sunny that this is what it’s like to be really rich. He wanted to know why. I said that when you’re rich, it’s like driving through life as if it’s a diamond lane all the time. Not sure he got it completely. He went back to tracking jets in the sky.
We found the theater and parking, rolled in and were greeted by Disney dudes in suits and blue tooth ear buds. They could have easily passed for secret service muscle. I would later find out that this would be an unwittingly ironic start to Cars 2.
After a brief hold-up, where we were almost shut out of watching the movie, they ushered us in and we grabbed our seats near the front. I ran for some popcorn and an Icee. $10.50 later, I was watching the end of the trailer for The Lion King. If you don’t know it already, “The Lion King” is a disturbing piece of Disney mind warp that contains oodles of traumatic conditioning and weird homo-erotic subliminals. The crowd, oohed and ahhed, then clapped as the trailer faded to black. This was definitely a pro-Disney crowd.
After a new, Toy Story short, Cars 2 revved up. I am now going to warn you that I will be dishing up lots of spoilers along the way. Continue on if you don’t mind them.
NEPTUNE IN PISCES AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN
Cinema is classically associated with Pisces. Film is essentially made up of cellulose acetate. Certain liquid chemicals comprised of various combinations of acetic acid, dye couplers and silver hallide solution are used to develop it. The liquid emulsions are Piscean, in that they fall under the rubric of liquids and fluids. Frames of captured images frozen, are baptized in a Neptunian medium and come to life. Now it could be said that animation, which is almost all computerized now, is much more Aquarian, but the basis of film is Neptune/Pisces.
Another fluid typically associated with Pisces is oil. Oil in it’s current cultural import is at the heart of Cars 2, but it’s the wildly veering plot lines, disturbing undertones and shocking violence that drives the dark and dependent oil theme across the finish line.
The film begins with a car that appears to be some sort of secret agent that is cornered and eventually blown up by two ruffians. Cars 2 essentially opens with a bolt of trauma shot directly into a child’s third eye.
The next scene takes place at sea (more Pisces) as a silver Carmen-Ghia, voiced by Michael Caine takes a ferry out into a rolling and stormy pitch black ocean. The ferry is quickly stopped by a small destroyer of sorts and the Carmen-Ghia, aka “Finn McMissile” uses Bond-like devices to hoist himself onto the nasty looking destroyer, which then docks at series of deep sea oil derricks, belching fire and smoke, looking like ports of hell in the night rain.
McMissile again uses a series of hooks and lines to scale the main derrick, where he witnesses some sort of high powered TV camera being unveiled, like it’s top-secret secret weapon. He’s quickly noticed by a smallish and ugly little car that’s “Professor Z.” Monocle and all. he looks like he could be one of the last hideouts from Operation Paperclip. The other cars are all lemons, Detroit rejects like the Gremlin and the Pacer. This is an important fact, so don’t forget it. In many ways, they are you and I. McMissile manages a Bond-like escape and survives, with photo evidence intact.
The film then shifts to Radiator Springs, where Mater is patiently waiting for his pal, Lightning McQueen to come home from yet another Piston Cup win. They go out and raise some hell. Lightning acknowledges that Doc Hudson is no longer around and then has dinner with Sally. However, dinner is interrupted by Mater, posing as their waiter. While he runs into the restaurant to get Lightning and Sally’s drinks, he sees a talk show where a global road race is being promoted. The car sponsoring the race is the industrialist, “Sir Miles Axelrod,” voiced by Eddie Izzard. Axelrod is an adventurer who got lost on a jungle trek for 30 days and wound up making his own fuel to survive (More Pisces). The fuel is called “Allinoil” and is supposed to be a clean alternative to fossil fuels, which of course they say are running out. The race will feature cars using Allinoil exclusively on city streets in Tokyo, Italy and London. On the show there’s an Italian formula one car named “Francesco Bournoulli.” John Turturro provides the voice for the arrogant car. Bournoilli is in the race and boasting how he will win, even if the legendary Lightning McQueen were to race, but he’s not, so it doesn’t matter. Mater gets on the phone and dials into the show arguing with Bernoulli on the air. McQueen drives in and hears Bournoulli insult Mater. McQueen can’t take it and enters into the race. We’re not even 15 minutes in and I am already tired of the spy plot line and the race plot line waiting to get worked out.
Now that I’ve set the stage for you, I’m going to make a few fast forward edits. Essentially, Mater is the main character of the film. While Lightning is racing, Mater screws up and gets mistaken for an undercover spy by McMissile and his perky sidekick, “Holley Shiftwell.” Mater finds himself embroiled in international intrigue and a plot to possibly destroy the emerging alternative fuel market (Pisces). There’s lots of surveillance, biometrics and real time reading of personal files and data. This is just one troubling aspect of Cars 2; getting kids indoctrinated into being watched and cataloged.
Then there’s the whole secret identity trip. Mater is altered by his new spy pals via a holographic program that is voice activated. He says a few words and becomes a different Mater with each phrase . Can you say “triggers?” Can you say “alters?” In fact , the line “Everything is voice activated these days” is uttered more than once.
One of the subplots in Cars 2 is terrorism. The evil lemons led by Professor Z have a TV camera that is actually a particle beam weapon that can explode cars when directed at it. The weapon’s efficacy is demonstrated in a scene where Professor Z tortures a secret agent car to extract info from it. Once they get what they need, they explode the agent car’s engine from within. Lovely.
So apparently, the lemons, like the Pacer, the Gremlin and the Yugo are pissed that their legacies are marred and that they are irrelevant and that no one makes parts for them any more. So to get back at the nasty world that’s forgotten them, they decide to wreak havoc and bring the whole damn thing down. They see themselves as victims and cultural scapegoats (very Piscean). They’ve thrown in with Professor Z, who is actually taking orders from a mystery man, the money and true brains behind the plan. The mystery man you see, is the guy that owns that nasty deep ocean, oil operation and he’s not gonna let this “Allinoil” feel good fuel get in the way of his profit scraping. No, he’s going to sabotage the races, blow cars up and shit. He’s got the downtrodden and angry lemons to do his bidding.
The lemons you see are basically conservatives, anachronisms that want to preserve the status quo and not move forward. They resent “progress” and see their way of life going by the wayside. They’ll resort to anything, even terrorism if it means preserving not only their place in history, but remaining relevant for the future.
Well rusty old Mater turns the tables on evil, but not before he has some sort of McKenna like trip on autochlorophorm and meets his shadow in an altered dream state (more Neptune in Pisces) and figures out the great mystery of the grand conspiracy in the process. However, while he was under the influence of the drugs, the bad guys have placed a bomb in his carburetor and it will explode if he gets close to Lightning McQueen.
Now can you imagine being a six-year-old and seeing poor Mater with a bomb in him? Right? Mater then gets into a wild scene with Lightning trying to apologize to him for being a jerk, while Mater races away to keep Lightning from blowing up. Mater then exposes the whole conspiracy in front of the Queen. Lo and behold, it’ s Miles Axelrod!!! He not only faked Allinoil, he’s the nasty oil magnate! The Queen of course knights Mater. They go back to Radiator Springs for the end of the race. Interesting how The Queen is the sovereign that bestows title, especially as it seems as though we are in the royal media blitz.
So let’s sum this up with some bullet points. Cars 2 contains the following:
* Heavy violence
• Biometric scanning
• Disenfranchised/scapegoated segments of society that are resentful
• Oil as evil
• Altered identities, MPD’s
• Spy culture
• Deference to The Queen and monarchy
• Traumatic conditioning
• Relegating traditional feminine roles like Sally to the background
Ironically, the first Cars movie was Pixar’s last as a true, independent studio project. It was a sweet and wonderful, if slightly flawed film. It stressed community and continuity. It brought the small and forgotten lives of desert dwellers into the foreground and showed us that when people or rather cars, stick together, they can weather almost any storm. Cars was about loyalty and love. Cars 2 is a cynical and sinister sequel that continues Disney’s dark, post-Pixar run. Wall-E was all about Agenda 21, humans are bad, Earth is good, robots are sweet programming. UP had real heart, but was again, a broadside against the pioneering spirit and a paean for synthetic diversity. Toy Story 3 had themes of prison camps, abandonment. genocide, MPDs and UFO rapture.
Pixar’s best days are far behind them. Each film gets more and more distorted and your child’s mind is being hacked trough the trust and innocence those once great films and franchises originally engendered. Disney/Pixar have unfortunately become openly predatory, both for your pocketbook and your children’s mind. One of the taglines you’ll see in the trailer below is, “Who Do You Trust?” Unfortunately, it’s no longer Pixar.