Posted: October 11, 2011
The Pixar movie sequel “Cars 2″ has been out since June, but I just got a chance to see it this past weekend and while it got some bad reviews, I thought it was hilarious and an interesting commentary on big oil and renewable fuels. Cathryn did a post on it back when it was first released.
The fictitious “Allinol” fuel in the movie is an obvious analogy to ethanol and the way it was promoted to fuel a “World Grand Prix” was so much like how ethanol has been promoted in both the Indy Car Series and NASCAR it was as realistic as it was funny.
In a Wall Street Journal interview when the movie was released, director John Lasseter said that when he was developing the plot for the sequel, he wanted an international espionage theme with a real bad guy. “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,” he said.
Lasseter continued. “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.”
Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it and like to be surprised if you do, don’t continue reading.
The twist at the end of the movie is that the promoter of the alternative fuel Allinol is actually “Big Oil” in the form of a car villain masquerading as a philanthropist. Sir Miles Axlerod turns out to be the owner of a newly discovered untapped oil reserve and instead of promoting alternative fuel, his evil plan is to use a weapon disguised as a television camera to ignite the Allinol fuel in targeted race cars during the World Grand Prix. With no apparent cause for the explosions, the public would doubt the fuel’s safety and depend further on the group’s oil. Allinol turns out to be just regular gasoline engineered to explode when hit with high radiation. But hero Lightning McQueen is saved when he is targeted because, without his knowledge, his hippie buddy Fillmore replaced the Allinol McQueen was supposed to use with his own brand of organic biofuel. So real renewable fuel saves the day in the end!
The movie got some bad reviews for the plot line and the fact that it had a darker, scarier tone for younger children than the original warm and fuzzy Cars, but anyone involved in the corn ethanol business should get a kick out of it. It’s in the cheap theaters now and will be out on DVD November 1.