"Cars 2" is on its way of surpassing studio estimates for a strong opening weekend at the box office. The Pixar film pulled in an estimated $25 million on Friday.
The story for the sequel departures from the first “Cars” movie, released five years ago, a move that has proven to be unpopular with the critics. The second installment is not just about cars this time around; it’s also about the negative impacts of big bad oil companies, according to its creator.
Lightning McQueen and his trusty zany tow truck friend, Mater, head to the World Grand Prix to compete for the world’s fastest car title. The movie centers on Mater when he gets involved in an international espionage.
During the three races, which take place in Tokyo, Italy and London, Mater joins a secret agent in the quest to crack a global conspiracy oil ring. They have to save the living car world from Big Oil, figuratively and literally, says director John Lasseter.
Speculations have been made over the movie supposedly carrying an overly liberal message. The blog The Lonely Conservative claimed that Hollywood is not admitting that they are “trying to indoctrinate our children with left wing propaganda.”
The concern was raised when the Pixar director revealed during an interview with The Wall Street Journal that the Big Oil is more than just a villain in “Cars;” he is also the villain today.
“We revamped the whole story, the whole bad-guy arc. To me, there always needs to be a logic to our movies. No matter what subject matter it is, they have to be logical for the world we’re creating,” said John Lasseter. “I kept thinking about, ‘OK. A spy movie in the world where cars are alive. What would be a really good kind of über bad guy? Who is an über bad guy?’ I kept going to big oil. This is before what happened in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Lasseter emphasized that it’s logical to have an environmental twist in the movie by advocating fuel alternatives such as electricity and solar power.
He said, “Why isn’t alternative fuel more… Why isn’t everybody jumping on that bandwagon? It makes so much sense: Electricity, solar, whatever. There’s ethanol. There’s all this stuff you could be doing. And so I thought, well, that could be really cool in that you could have big oil versus alternative fuel. That’s when we kind of crafted the bad guy’s story.”
He continued, “The greatest bad guys, you understand where they’re coming from. They believe they’re doing the right thing. Sometimes it’s for greed, sometimes it’s for other reasons, but they are what they call the center of good. They always believe they’re doing the right thing.”
His environmental agenda and his portrayal of oil companies as a villain is no surprise to the industry, said Bill Bush, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute said, according to WSJ.
“We understand movies need villains but hope people attending, children and adults alike, would come to appreciate the world needs oil as well as alternatives,” said Bush. “The benefits of oil are enormous, and people in the U.S. oil and natural gas industry work extremely hard to provide oil products to Americans.”