Cars 2 takes place a few years ahead of the first film. Racer Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) just won his fourth Doc Hudson Piston Cup (a tribute to the late Paul Newman) and has a great life. When McQueen returns to relax and be with his friends in Radiator Springs, his best friend Tow Mater (voiced by Larry The Cable Guy) unintentionally draws McQueen and his crew team back on the race track to race against the greatest of the greats, including the obnoxious Francesco Bernoulli (voiced by John Tuturro) in the World Grand Prix. Mater tags along with McQueen throughout the World Grand Prix, which takes place in countries such as Italy, London, and Tokyo.
Meanwhile, something much bigger is going on, which involves spies, gadgets, guns, and… Mater, who becomes the main focus of the film and somehow gets inadvertently involved in the spy game. We are introduced to British spy Fin McMissle (voiced by Michael Caine) who, along with another British agent, Holley Shiftwell (voiced by Emily Mortimer), plan to capture and stop the villainous Professor Zündapp (voiced by Thomas Kretschmann) from destroying the livelihood of cars forever.
I have a confession; I root for Pixar, I really do. I defended them when the original Cars was ridiculed, but this time I can’t stand up for them. Cars 2 is plainly average, and is a bit preposterous quite frankly. I’m not saying I hated it though, I thought it was fine, but when you have a studio and a budget this big I would have thought besides the animation, that more effort would be put into making this a classic. Sure, there are some great moments, hilarious moments actually, but Cars 2 doesn’t have the uniqueness that other Pixar films had. What I can say is that this will be the year that a non-Pixar film wins for best animated feature (you have a shot Rango).
As expected, the visuals are simply outstanding and are really fun to look at. The scenery is undeniably impressive and the animation is perfect. It is very bright and colorful and you can see that a lot of detail was put into making this film look great throughout. Also, the cars, planes, boats, and most importantly the action is really fun to look at, especially the end scene which involves Mater and McQueen parachuting above town while simultaneously escaping “car-terrorists.” What was not outstanding was the film’s 3D conversion, which was absolutely horrible to look at because not only was it extremely unimpressive, it made the screen dimmer. This is not the only time I have complained about how I dislike 3D conversions, I have done it many times (see Thor review).
In the long run, if someone were to ask me if Cars 2 was a bad movie, I would respond with no. What I would say is that this is an extremely average and uninteresting film that has slick visuals and top-notch action but is definitely something you would not expect from Pixar. Maybe if they stuck to a more familiar story and focused on racing a bit more, this would have been a completely different film. Nonetheless, Cars 2 is not a bad movie, it’s simply not a great one either. I’d stick with Netflix for this one.
Sushi Chef: Wasabi.
Mater: Same old, Same old, what about you?
Note: Try catching this in 2D because the 3D adds nothing but dark colors.