John Lasseter has given an interview discussing Cars 2 to the New York Times. First, he denies that Cars 2 was a money grab. I think anyone who argued that it was knows nothing about the rise and operations of Pixar.
That's not to say the Cars 2 was good. Quite the opposite. I thought it was not just Pixar's worst film, but a bad film in most repsects. But because of Pixar's, and Lasseter's, history, I don't think that any judgments can be drawn from the film and extrapolated out into the corpus of the Disney Company.
The comment of Lasseter's that had me worried was his declaration that “This is not an executive-led studio." Perhaps this applies to Pixar itself, but as I argued in my post Why Tangled Reveals That Poison That's Still Inside Disney, there is no evidence to support that this applies to the rest of the company. Truly, Disney appears to be one of the most executive-led companies on Earth.
Lasseter further defended Cars 2 by saying that he makes films for "that little boy who loves the characters so much that he wants to pack his clothes in a Lightning McQueen suitcase.”He succeeded insofar as he made a movie that only a little boy could enjoy.
The reason why this is a disappointment for me is that their earlier films did just that, but also transcended the "kid-flick" mentality and construction to become something lasting, something great. Cars 2 will not last. Even if you think that it is a good film, I can't imagine anyone arguing that it will last. Wall-E will last. Toy Story will last. Cars 2 will not.
Finally, the article refers to Cars 2 as being the frontrunner for Best Animated Film and the Oscars. This is absurd. If Rango doesn't win, I'm going to have a fit. Granted, the Oscar's are certainly known for absolute stupidity. Hello, Shakespeare In Love.