Cars 2 (2011)


My biggest problem with this film is that it exists in the first place. It was purely a marketing decision to make a sequel to Cars. The merchandise sales from the original made it one of the most profitable films Disney ever made, so it was decided to make a sequel and milk it for all it’s worth. This film was made when there are so many other Pixar films that deserve sequels before the mediocre Cars did.

The sequel barely features the original’s star Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), most of the screen time is taken up by his best friend Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) who gets swept up in some international espionage. He assists secret agent, Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) as he tries to stop a plot to discredit the new alternative fuel source Allinol. An underground gang of ‘lemon’ cars don’t like the idea of not using gas in cars and set out to end Allinol and anyone who tries to use it. This includes Lightning McQueen, as he is on a series of global races against an arrogant Italian car, Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro). Their races are sponsored by Allinol, every car is using this new fuel, making them a target for the gang of Lemon cars.

This film just feels like a toy commercial. The original at least had the charm of Owen Wilson populating most of the screen time, but he is barely seen in this sequel. His time is eaten up by the annoying tow truck, Mater. As in the first movie, there is plenty of laughs for kids here, and not much for anyone else.

My biggest problem with Cars 2 is that it exists at all. I’m not against Disney making money. Good luck to them. But the fact this movie exists means that several other Pixar films that actually deserve sequels are not getting them. I would love to see a sequel to The Incredibles or A Bug’s Life, but because not enough people bought those action figures, we have to live with a substandard sequel to a mediocre movie about automobiles. Pixar deserves better than this.

The only positive I can say about this film is the standard of animation has not dropped. The picture is still brilliant, as Pixar always is. It is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise ordinary film.

Rating: D

Cars 2 absolutely deserves all the criticism it gets. There was plenty of charm in Cars— the story, the characters, the backgrounds. The sequel is missing just about all of this. It’s disappointing that Pixar made this movie, when it could have made a sequel to more deserving films (The Incredibles, for sure), or better yet, come up with a new idea.

The biggest problem with Cars 2 is that it shifts the focus from Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) to his best friend Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). The movie tries to recreate the “fish out of water” plot from the first movie by dropping yokel Mater into the fast paced world of international car racing. However, the character reversal doesn’t work this time. There was something nice and nostalgic about watching McQueen being forced to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. But rusty Mater trying to fit in at a classy party? Ugh. Yeah, I realize that the moral of this story is to appreciate your friends for who they are, not try to change people, be yourself, yada yada, but Mater is just too annoying a character for me to buy into this.

I guess it’s just disappointing to see this level of mediocrity from Pixar. I’ve come to expect a certain intelligence and charm from their movies, and this one lacks both. What’s even worse is that a Cars 3 has just been announced. *sigh*

Rating: D

6 thoughts on “Cars 2 (2011)

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