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June 25, 2011, D23 - Cars 2 Cross Country Screening Event

Who: PiC and Me...
What: D23 - Cars 2 Screening
Where: AMC Loews, 600 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
When: June 25, 2011
Why: 'Cause you got to see the movie in a half-empty theater in 3-D for $5/person...

After complaining incessantly that 99% of the D23 events are in California, this will have been the 4th D23 event I will have attended in a year...

Becky Cline and Me...
Becky Cline and Me...
Sometime in Late May/Early June, D23 announced they would be showing a screening of Cars 2 in 3D, in three cities across the country; San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Chicago. It would cost $10 for two people. As a matter of fact, it would cost $10 for one person. As far as I could tell, you could only buy one ticket per membership.

Tickets went on sale June 7, 2011 at Noon. (Local time.) PiC was once again the logical choice, since she already has paid parking within walking distance. As it turns out, she had to be in her office for an hour on Saturday anyway. I haven't been to a theater in years, especially since the acquisition of my HDTV and PS3. But to screen Cars 2 in 3D (Cars is my favorite Pixar movie) for $10 was too good to pass up.

The morning of June 25th was soooo much nicer than Feb 21 when I was down here for that Bambi Screening. It was shorts and t-shirts, appropriately, my Grumpy Old Man t-shirt.

I'd never been to the Loews in River North. Didn't have a clue where it was. That's because the address the building it's in has a Michigan Avenue address, but the entrance to the theater is on Ohio and Rush. Somehow I think that's cheating...

The event was hosted by Dave Smith's heir apparent Becky Cline. She had hosted a couple of the events at Destination D a month ago. I did mention how much I like the Dest D event, and got a picture. (The one above. The only picture I took.)

I should have asked her to marry me. I mean, it'd probably get me into the archives, no? What do you mean I have mis-placed values?

The pre-show to the event were endless commercials with the house lights up. The least they could have made the ads 3-D so we'd have something to look at, but I digress. I was hoping to see the Cowboys and Aliens trailer, but no such luck. Sheesh.

The event started with Becky Cline doing some trivia with the less than half full theater. A very civil crowd, no crying kids, no cell phones/texting, it was a very good experience. I can't imagine what it was like last (opening) night.

The movie started with a Toy Story 3.5 short, where Ken planned to stow away with Barbie to Hawaii in a backpack. The backpack in question, is not taken on the vacation, leaving a devastated Ken. So the Toys decide to...emulate the missed vacation.

Perks were a full size Cars 2 Poster, and leftover "Are you 23?/ March 10" pins.

I suppose that leaves the review of the movie. Overall, it'll make money. :-)

The movie itself is less "Cars" in the sense of say, Toy Story 2 was to Toy Story. While the Toy Story universe stayed consistent through 1 and 2, the theme of Cars, really isn't carried in Cars 2. For all the explosions and non-stop action, they could have named it "The Incredibles 2, with Cars characters".

The movie is set some 5 years after Cars, since McQueen has just won his 4th Piston Cup. Doc is gone, and it was a nice gesture of Pixar to mention it.

McQueen gets goaded into the "World Grand Prix" races, using a new "alternative" fuel. So, it's around the world with Mater, Luigi and Guido, and Sarge and Fillmore. Away from Radiator Springs and the rest of the Characters, where they're brought in pretty much unnecessarily at the end.

Among my other criticisms, the guys at Pixar should never have watched Transformers. There are also a couple of James Bondian moments I'm sure the violence police are going to object to, but otherwise, it's a mostly harmless flick.

One of my big problems with the movie, is the advancement of animation has gotten to the point that the backgrounds become more of a distraction, than a background. For instance, some of the buildings and other objects appear so photo real, that I find myself looking at a building and the lettering on it than I am watching what should be the focus of the shot.

I am happy to report that the studios have moved beyond the poke-you-in-the-eye 3-D effects, and use it in a much more organic way. But the movie could probably be watched in either 2-D or 3-D, and you wouldn't miss anything.

So, I came away from the movie not disappointed, but it wasn't Cars, either. It does look like a movie that deserves repeat viewings to get all the detail, though.

Oh, and to answer the criticisms of some of the other reviews I've read, yes, this movie is more Mater-centric than the first. But the movie is named "Cars", and not "Lightning McQueen."

And by now Pixar has audiences trained to sit through the credits for some sort of surprise ending...and there's no pay-off. How disappointing. Perhaps they'll add outtakes at some later time.


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