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Cars 2

A 2011 movie directed by John Lasseter and Brad Lewis.

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Ka-Chao!!!!! (Cue James Bond Music...And Turn On "Blinkers"!)

  • Jun 24, 2011
Rating:
+3
Honestly, I wasn't a fan of the original “Cars”, it wasn’t bad but I thought it was the weakest Pixar production to date and so I was dumbfounded as to why Pixar would make a sequel out of it after “Toy Story 3” when “The Incredibles” (my second favorite Pixar movie next to “Ratatouille”) was just screaming for an expansion-sequel of its premise. I guess Pixar wanted to add more ‘zest’ on “Cars’” fanciful formula and while I wasn’t expecting much from its sequel, I thought “Cars 2” was just another formula movie built around a spy-buddy comedy. While it doesn’t have the ’heart’ of other Pixar offerings, I thought it was entertaining in its own right. Sometimes, we need a movie that we don’t need to think too much about, and “Cars 2” is a fulfillment of this need.

Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) is now the grand winner of 4 Piston Cup trophies, and things are right in his world. His mentor the Hudson Hornet may not be around anymore, but he is dating Sally (Bonnie Hunt), and has a great relationship with his best friend, Mater (Larry the cable guy). After Lightning gets challenged to compete in the first Grand Prix race, a race that extends from Tokyo to Italy and then London, by Francesco (John Turturro), he brings Mater along to witness the racing circuit. But things are happening behind the sidelines as Mater gets sucked into international espionage by Finn McMissile (voiced by Michael Caine) and Holly (Emily Mortimer) who are investigating the schemes and plans of defective automobiles to manipulate global interests that can affect the world they live in. Mater must do what he can to help foil the plans linked to the plans for alternative fuel by Sir Miles Axelrod (Eddie Izzard)…

                              Finn McMissile in ``Cars 2.''

                             Finn McMissile voiced by Michael Caine and Crabby voiced by Sig Hansen in "Cars 2."

                             Acer voiced by Peter Jacobson and Grem voiced by Joe Mantegna in "Cars 2."

                             Grem and Professor Z in ``Cars 2.''

“Cars 2” is a buddy movie at heart (man, seems like most comedies are buddy flicks these days). Much of the film deals with the relationship between McQueen and Mater, with Mater taking the spotlight this time around. The film has several invaluable kid friendly lessons about friendship and how one needs to be respected for whatever they are. One may have some issues in personality, but everyone needs to be respected for who they are. Friends need to accept and love each other for what they are, and the morale messages are all a little more subtle as the film focuses more on slapstick comedy and action to keep its pace moving. The film is louder and more violent than other Pixar movies, and it has a different approach to the way it plays out its screenplay.

I am not complaining, I liked what I saw with “Cars 2” but I have to admit it loses a lot of the spirit that we have all been familiar with this type of movies from Pixar. I thought the film was pretty creative, I loved the way it incorporated real world practices and habits into the scenes of Tokyo, Italy and London. I loved the sumo wrestlers, the siesta machines and the way cars have bar fights. The visuals and background designs are just imaginative and looked real impressive in the film; Pixar is one of the leaders in CGI animation and this movie is another such proof why they are one of the leaders of such technology. The world of “Cars” is made into a character in the film as we take a look into international espionage; there are good guys and there are bad guys and “Cars 2” sidesteps all the groundwork established in the first movie. Sure, there is the usual racing theme here, but this film is more about Mater and how he finds himself.

                         Holley Shiftwell in ``Cars 2.''

                         A scene from "Cars 2"

                         Lightning McQueen in ``Cars 2.''

I guess while I enjoyed this film, the direction by John Lasseter and Brad Lewis was a little clamorous this time around in an attempt to liven up its premise. It focuses more on slapstick and comedic dialogue to keep the film moving. The film takes more of an action movie angle and we all know how those always play out. “Cars 2” is noisy and a little louder in mood and tone; I liked it, but the film already has such a cartoonish premise so I wondered why it would abandon the drama and human qualities that made the original unique? Again, I was entertained with “Cars 2” but I think in focusing on references and the staplings of a spy comedy, the film becomes another one of those movies that uses homage and tributes to make itself smart and entertaining. Nods to several James Bond movies are rich in the film; from “Dr. No“, to “Goldfinger” to “Spy who Loved Me”, even Finn McMissile is a homage to a certain 007 spy car. The Nascar vs. Formula One driver seemed to have been inspired by "Talladega Nights: Ballad of Ricky Bobby". Not really sure how everyone feels about this, but I thought in making it accessible and easy to watch, "Cars 2" lost a lot of ambition in its storytelling.

As with other Pixar movies, something comes in the way of a friendship and Mater and McQueen have a little falling out and then they re-connect much stronger later on. Pretty standard fare and I guess it couldn’t feel any more clichéd than this. It feels rather too mechanical the way things happened and the film loses some of its heart halfway into the movie. There is also some commentary about the environment as the fight between big oil companies and of alternative fuel are touched upon, but they were a little too rushed and seemed lethargic with its execution into the screenplay. The emotional points of the film failed to be convincing as the devices used to express the drama felt a little stereotypical. While I liked Mater, he is just too simple a character to be allowed to carry much of the heavy-lifting and given the central stage. New characters are given low development and older ones are taken to the side, it is a simple interaction and reward kind of scripting here in the film, it does work in several areas and it is funny, but I think the Mater "idea" was a little overplayed in “Cars 2”.

                           Siddeley voiced by Jason Isaacs in "Cars 2."

                          A scene from "Cars 2."

                          Miguel Camino and Raoul CaRoule in "Cars 2."

                          The Queen and Prince Wheeliam in "Cars 2."

Not to say that the film wasn’t fun to watch, because it certain was. It did fell too much into the jaws of formula filmmaking, but I cannot say that “Cars 2” wasn’t entertaining. It is a kid-flick after all, and sometimes these little youngsters need something more upbeat and little to think about. The original “Cars” wasn’t that deep nor was it that inventive in terms of story, but it never failed to have a heart and had the right mindset and style to incorporate the morale messages through its cartoonish visuals. “Cars 2” is a formula film built on an actioner and a buddy flick; not necessarily a bad thing since it is very entertaining, but it certainly didn’t do anything special in terms of screen writing.

Funny how people are almost always saying that “Dreamworks” animation studios is the 'poor man's Pixar" and that they are trying to be like Pixar with “How To Train Your Dragon” and “Kung Fu Panda 2”; but with “Cars 2”, it feels more like something Dreamworks would do. It isn’t a bad thing, since this type of movies are very accessible and easy to like; it all depends on what you are looking for in an animated movie.

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]
Note: No Need to See This in 3D.

Poster art for "Cars 2."  Poster art for "Cars 2"


 
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February 18, 2012
Good detailed review with great pictures !
February 18, 2012
thanks so much. I always try.
February 18, 2012
You often succeed. Yet, you should try always.
 
July 30, 2011
Oh this was smack dab in the middle of my internet troubles with Verizon! I missed this. Yea to be honest, our opinions are so close that I really don't need to review it! I agree with all of your points. I continually found myself wondering if kids would get anything out of the continual spy gag (much of which homage to the 1960s)- I mean unless the kid is 50 years old, are they gonna correlate this stuff? Like always I found Mater to be pretty entertaining if overused. Truthfully the unknown release of Cars Toons by Pixar was more entertaining overall.
July 30, 2011
Yeah, I just read your review and we were in total agreement. I really liked your commentary about the references being lost to moms and kids though. I guess I'll have to check out Cars Toons? Lemme find your review again....
 
July 09, 2011
Is this for adults or kids?! :D They look too cute for men! :p
July 10, 2011
ka-chao!!
 
June 27, 2011
I still haven't seen the first Cars!! So, I just glossed over parts of this review. I'm behind in some of my Disney/Pixar viewings, lol!
June 27, 2011
Thanks, Adri! I was wondering where you were...hey, did you get my email? I just wanted to make sure if that was acceptable to the stuff I'll be doing in Libri (you asked what I thought about something) I'll be done with it before this month is over.
June 27, 2011
Yeah, been out of town since last week Weds. Thought I sent you an email about it...sorries! I'm still playing catch-up with emails and notifications, so I will send you a reply once I get to those messages of yours. I can't wait to read more of your thoughts!
 
June 27, 2011
Great review Woo--I think I would have taken my daughter to see it till I read what Aerin said; I think I'll wait on the new Transformers; hopefully that one will be good like the first one and not as bad as the last one!
June 27, 2011
Thanks, Brenda. The first Transformers was alright, but the 2nd one was horrible. I hope they manage to get this 3rd one back on track. I have low expectations for it, but we'll see...
June 28, 2011
You're right; the second one just didn't cut it. Why is his girlfriend not in the new one?
June 29, 2011
not sure. I think it is the same character but played by a different actress. Megan Fox was being a primadonna or something according to Spielberg. I wonder if it had anything to do with the things Fo'x had said..
June 30, 2011
After reading some reviews, the new girl plays a new girlfriend; doesn't seem right!! I didn't hear about things that Fox said--I was just curious because she did play a good part but it sounds like it got to her head!! Thanks Will---
 
June 27, 2011
Of all the Disney/Pixar films I'd make sequels of this would have been the very last on the list. I didn't like the original "Cars" at all and from what I've read and scene this one is even worse since it focuses more on the irritatingly insipid Mater. Yep, definitely skipping this. Too bad "Monsters, Inc." or "The Incredibles" weren't given a sequel instead.
June 27, 2011
Agreed. This wasn't the worst but it was a little disappointing. I heard Monsters INC. is going to have a sequel though...something like Monsters Academy or University or something. Incredibles 2 is overdue.
 
June 26, 2011
I agree that "Incredibles 2" sounds like a better idea. but it probably wouldn't sell as many toys. Funny how so many Pixar films, like Ratatouille, Up, and WALL-E, seem sequel-proof.
June 26, 2011
You know I was thinking of writing an article how big budget movies need to have a huge marketing potential for other products so that they could entice investors. "Monsters Inc." is coming out with a sequel (sort of), I hope that will be a better film. "Incredibles 2" would rock but the other great ones, I am not sure, they seem to be really sequel-proof.
 
June 25, 2011
great review as always.
June 25, 2011
thanks, Joan and John, Ka-Chao!! wish me luck I am seeing "Beginners"...we saw "Bad Teacher" last night and I fell asleep LOL!
June 25, 2011
It was so bad...We didn't review it...mostly because we didn't have time and just didn't want to talk about it. You'll love Beginners'. Can't wait to hear what you think. We're seeing 'Transformers' on Monday. I'm not a big Michael Bay fan so...maybe I'll be surprised
June 25, 2011
awesome! excited to hear what you have to say about "Transformers". I didn't like the last movie, but maybe this one will be better. I'll think of a badge for it.
June 25, 2011
It has to be better than the last one. LOL
June 25, 2011
I made the topic for you, just send me a message when you post it the usual way you do and I'll fix the topic.
June 25, 2011
Thanks so much. Posting it on tuesday for sure...
 
June 25, 2011
I loved that Bruce Campbell is in this.
June 25, 2011
man, there you are! how hav you been? You and your Campbell issues. LOL!
 
1
More Cars 2 reviews
review by . June 23, 2011
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      'Cars 2 is the new 3D wonder from director John Lasseter.  John and his crew at Pixar have once again proven why they are the best at what they do.      To really enjoy this film, you have to put aside any ideas that cars can't talk, can't have friends and girlfriends, can't experience human emotions and can't be killer spies.  (Something the other half of Two Jews On Film, John my husband, wasn't able …
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   When one thinks about Pixar, the term failure is typically no part of the equation and indeed what the powerhouse pixel-pushing studio might consider a disappointment would have its hordes of imitators doing cartwheels in the streets.  Keeping that in mind, Cars 2 could very well be the first Pixar film to put such theories to the test. Generally speaking the first Cars never fully overcame criticisms that individuals outside of car culture (a group that naturally includes the …
review by . June 28, 2011
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The first Cars film was a surprising delight.  The first (and until now only) Pixar film that had no humans to connect with still managed to have quite a bit of its own humanity and satire.  It had funny and delightful characters that gave off a family togetherness vibe.  Radiator Springs was a place that, once the first film was over, you felt like you wanted to come back to.  If there is one film where a sequel is something somewhat questionable, it is definitely Cars.  …
review by . June 24, 2011
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CARS 2   Written by Ben Queen   Directed by John Lasseter   Voices by Larry the Cable Guy, Owen Wilson, Emily Mortimer and Michael Caine       Luigi: No fight more important than friendship.       CARS 2 marks the first time where I could not care less about a Pixar release. I didn’t buy the world made up entirely of cars in the first instalment and thought the idea of a race-car learning to slow down in life …
review by . July 19, 2011
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U - 112mins - Animation/Adventure/Comedy - 22nd July 2011   Cars 2 picks up several years after the first with Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) ruling the Piston Cup. This leads him to be invited to the first World Grand Prix where he can pit himself against the best of the rest and in particular Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro) the cocky Italian stallion F1 car. McQueen's crew led by Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) gather together and set out on the trip of a lifetime to Japan, Italy and …
review by . June 26, 2011
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For the last five years, Pixar has been on quite a roll, churning out one reliably solid animated film every summer. The last four have won Oscars for Best Animated Feature, and the last three (WALL-E, Up, and Toy Story 3) are, in my mind, stone cold classics. This winning streak and reputation for quality are what make Pixar’s latest, “Cars 2,” not just disappointing, but puzzling.      The hero of the first “Cars” film, a race car voiced by Owen …
review by . June 25, 2011
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Star Rating:         It seems inconceivable, but for the first time, the Disney/Pixar team has made a movie that misses the mark. I never thought I’d be writing these words. For sixteen years now, they’ve produced nothing but quality entertainment, and that’s not the kind of track record you come across every day. The Toy Story films were bright, imaginative, and fun. A Bug’s Life was cute and colorful. The Incredibles was energetic and engaging. …
review by . July 06, 2011
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My family and I saw Cars 2 in the theaters and while the effects were outstanding (water! speed chases! explosions!)--the story-line was so-so.    Basically, a bunch of lemons take ownership of a secret oil reserves in the ocean--and they want revenge on the "pretty" cars that never break down.    It's a weak premise, and lacks the heart of the original Cars.     I didn't care about any of the new characters, which are basically James Bond-type …
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Wiki

Lightning McQueen (voice by Owen Wilson), Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), Sally (Bonnie Hunt), and the rest of the gang from Radiator Springs return to the screen in this sequel to Pixar'sCars(2006). But instead of evoking a nostalgic vision of Route 66 through the American Southwest, director John Lasseter and his artists spoof James Bond films in a fast-paced adventure that mixes espionage and road racing. After a successful season on the track, Lightning is looking forward to some rest at home, but Mater gets him involved in an elaborate three-part international race sponsored by Sir Miles Axlerod (Eddie Izzard) to promote his new synthetic auto fuel. While serving on Lightning's pit crew, Mater inadvertently gets mixed up with two British secret agent cars, Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer), who are investigating a plot to sabotage the race. Myriad complications ensue before Lightning and Mater get back to the (relative) peace of Radiator Springs. The Pixar artists clearly had a lot of fun spoofing locations in Tokyo, London, Paris, and the Italian Riviera, and creating auto versions of sumo wrestlers, kabuki actors, Queen Elizabeth II, and a doting Italian mother. The use of 3-D adds adrenaline to the racing sequences.Cars 2lacks the emotional impact ofToy Story 2,Up, and most of the other Pixar features, but that will do little to lessen its appeal to its target audience, boys who love cars, driving games, and car toys.Cars 2is ...
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Details

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy
Release Date: 24 June 2011 (USA)
Screen Writer: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios
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