Cars 2

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Mater Travels the World in Cars 2 (No Spoilers)

Jun 24, 2011 (Updated Jun 28, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Cute, entertaining movie with likable characters.

Cons:Story not as strong as previous Pixar movies.

The Bottom Line: While not quite as good as previous Pixar movies, Cars 2 is still much better than most other movies and worth seeing.


I've seen all the Pixar movies in the theater and I've loved them.  Pixar creates amazingly wonderful movies that are so much better than what other studios are doing.  I have been wanting to see Cars 2 for a long time.  While the movie isn't quite as good as Previous Pixar movies, it is still very entertaining and worth seeing.

I'm only going to briefly discuss the plot of Cars 2, mentioning things that are known from the trailers.  People that prefer not to know more about the plot should skip the next paragraph.

** Minor Plot Discussion**

Well known race car Lightning McQueen decides to take part in the World Grand Prix, a series of three races in Tokyo, Italy, and London.  After Sally suggests it, Lightning decides to take Mater along to the races for the first time.  In Tokyo, Mater is mistaken for an American spy by Holly Shiftwell and Finn McMissile, British spies working on a mission.  Mater ends up having a wild adventure while Lightening tries to win the World Grand Prix.

**End of Minor Plot Discussion**

Before Cars 2 starts, there is an animated short featuring the characters from Toy Story that is really cute.  When the movie is over, some cute animated scenes play during the first several minutes of the credits.  There are no scenes after the credits.

Cars 2 does something different from most other sequels by having a different plot instead of just redoing the plot of the first movie in some way.  Even the Toy Story sequels sort of did that, but it was done in a way that worked wonderfully for the movies.  For this movie, after a few short scenes in Radiator Springs, the setting changes and deals with new adventures for the characters.  Lightning is still in a series of races, but it is for a different reason and with different opponents and he doesn't get stranded anywhere.  The main focus of the movie is the spy stuff that Mater gets pulled into.  That makes for a very fun, entertaining movie.  

Pixar has made movies with very strong stories full of emotions.  That is a big part of what makes their movies so good.  With Cars 2, the story is entertaining and interesting, but it is missing the strong emotional core that the previous Pixar movies have had.  There are still a few short moments that are a little more touching, but they aren't as moving as those type of moments have been in the previous Pixar movies.  Pixar set the bar really high with their previous movies.  They achieved such greatness with Toy Story 3 that it would be hard to match them.  Since the story isn't quite as strong for this movie, some people may be disappointed.  Because of what Pixar has done in the past, some people may hold them to a higher standard and be unhappy with the movie.  This movie is a fun, entertaining adventure that is very enjoyable.  While it isn't as strong as previous Pixar movies, it is still much better than what other studios are doing with animated movies.  

The first few minutes of Cars 2 introduce Finn and set up the mission he is working on.  Finn turns up again, along with Holly, after Lightning and Mater arrive in Tokyo.  The mission they are on does provide a bit of mystery to the movie.  The mystery isn't that complicated or hard to figure out, though children will probably be more surprised with how things work out.  There are a few action scenes, mostly provided by the various race scenes.  Finn also deals with a few enemies every so often.  He and Holly have several gadgets that they use throughout the movie.  Finn's gadgets do remind me of James Bond and I like that element being in the movie.  

The animation in Cars 2 is amazing, like I have come to expect from Pixar.  The characters look like realistic cars even when I couldn't recognize a certain model.  I did notice a few even before one of the other characters mentioned them.  The locations look wonderful and certain things about the different areas are tweaked to work in the world of Cars.  The ocean is visible in a few scenes and the water looks gorgeous.  Reflections are visible on some of the shiny surfaces - usually a car.  When a few characters make a short visit to Paris, the restaurant from Ratatouille is briefly seen.  I really like the look of the characters and locations.  The movie is in 3D in some theaters.  I did see the 3D version just because of the timing of when it was playing.  The 3D is well done, though most of it is more subtle.  

Several characters from the first movie return for Cars 2.  Lightning McQueen is still racing, though he is a bit more settled and he deals with things a bit better.  He doesn't have as much to do this time, but Owen Wilson does fine with the voice of the character.  The different characters from Radiator Springs are back, though most of them don't get to do much.  Guido and Luigi go with Lightning as part of his pit crew.  John Ratzenberger is back as Mack in a few scenes, remaining the only person to provide a voice for every Pixar movie.

Mater is a rusty tow truck who looks like he is falling apart.  He isn't the brightest, but he is definitely loyal to his friends and he gets so happy about things.  He receives more attention in this movie instead of being a supporting character like he was in the first one.  It is hard not to like Mater, though some people may find him irritating, especially if they don't like Larry the Cable Gun.  Mater is a little silly, but the character is fun and entertaining. 

Finn McMissile and Holly Shiftwell, British secret agents, are the two new characters who end up with the most to do.  Finn clearly seems to be inspired by James Bond with all the gadgets and suave way he acts.  I'm not sure what kind of car Finn is supposed to be, but I did wonder if he might be an Astin Martin.  Michael Caine does a good job with the voice of the character.  Holly is younger and doesn't have as much experience.  She has been working in support, but she ends up in the field for the first time.  Emily Mortimer does a good voice for the character.  Jason Isaacs does the voice of Siddeley, the jet that works with Finn and Holly.  Bruce Campbell provides the voice of a car that shows up in a few scenes.   

Eddie Izzard does the voice of Miles Axlerod, the man sponsoring the World Grand Prix.  Francesco Bernoulli is an Italian race car who enjoys taunting Lightning.  I didn't recognize John Turturro as the voice of Francesco.  Grem and Acer are two of the cars mixed up in what Finn is investigating.  They, along with Professor Zundapp, work for a mastermind that isn't discovered until late in the movie.  Several other cars are seen, though most of them don't stand out as much.  Many of those extra cars are working with Grem and Acer in some way.  Joe Mantegna's voice fits the character well since it sounds a bit menacing.  Peter Jacobson does fine with the voice of Acer.

Main Voice Cast
    
Larry the Cable Guy - Voice of Mater
Michael Caine - Voice of Finn McMissile
Bonnie Hunt - Voice of Sally
Jason Isaacs - Voice of Siddeley
Eddie Izzard - Voice of Miles Axlerod
Peter Jacobson - Voice of Acer
Joe Mantegna - Voice of Grem
Emily Mortimer - Voice of Holly Shiftwell
John Ratzenberger - Voice of Mack
Tony Shalhoub - Voice of Luigi
John Turturro - Voice of Francesco Bernoulli
Owen Wilson - Voice of Lightning McQueen   

John Lasseter - Director
Brad Lewis - Co-director

Cars 2 doesn't have as strong of a story as the previous Pixar movies, but it is still fun and very entertaining.  It is worth watching, though people who didn't like Cars as much or who don't care for Larry the Cable Guy may want to pick a different movie.  Even with the weaker story, the movie is still better than most other animated movies or family friendly movies.

The movie is just slightly under 5 stars for me, between 4.5 and 5 stars.  Since that isn't a rating option here, I rounded up to 5.

Pixar Movie Reviews
A Bug's Life ~ Cars ~ Finding Nemo ~ The Incredibles ~ Monster's Inc ~ Ratatouille ~ Toy Story ~ Toy Story 2 ~ Toy Story 3 ~ Up ~ WALL-E ~


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