Movie Review: Cars 2

Movie Review: Cars 2

Cars 2

Rated G
Genre: Kids, family, animated, sequel
Running Time: 1 hour 53 minutes

Ratatouille producer Brad Lewis takes the director’s chair in this Disney-Pixar sequel following the animated race-track legend Lightning McQueen and his trusty-rusty sidekick, Mater. This time around the pair head overseas to compete in the first ever World Grand Prix to find the world’s fastest car. But, along the way to the championship they discover potholes, detours and various surprises along the way too.

Torn between helping Lightning McQueen in his high-profile race and tangled up in a top-secret mission, Mater’s action-packed journey takes him on a chase through the streets of Japan and Europe.

Talking Cars – Does It Get Any Better?

There’s just something about animated talking cars that make me smile. Disney-Pixar teams up once again in this sequel to the ever popular first movie to bring us Cars 2. For the most part the voice cast remains in-tact. Which of course will lead to the success of this sequel. Owen Wilson is back as Lightning McQueen and his buddy Mater is voiced once again by Larry the Cable Guy. Tony Shalhoub, along with Cheech Marin reprise their roles and Michael Caine lends his voice talent for the spy-car, Finn McMissle. For the muscle car and NASCAR fans, Jeff Gordon lends his voice for the Jeff Gorvette car and I just have to mention Brent Musburger who voices the Brent Mustangburger car. (Gotta love a movie with a talking Mustang).

It’s also worth noting that Darrell Waltrip appears in this sequel as Darrell Cartrip! Playing the role of color commentator for the races, old DW’s car is designed to look like his Chevy Monte Carlo that helped him win 12 of his Winston Cup Races. (Hey, I’m a DW fan – I just had to include a picture of his animated ride for this movie).

More About Mater Rather Than Lightning McQueen

While the original Cars movie was about Lightning McQueen, this time around the plot seems to center more around Mater, McQueen’s trusty-rusty-tow-truck best friend. While on the surface Cars 2 seems to focus on McQueen and the World Grand Prix. But, as the plot line moves forward, it becomes more about Mater and his spy-antics than what McQueen is doing on the track. This is not say the plot line takes away from the movie, but it certainly begs the question – Is Disney-Pixar looking for spin-offs of Mater in this ever popular series?

The animation in Cars 2 is once again incredible. But then again, no one does animation better than Pixar. The kids will love the colorful talking cars while parents will enjoy hearing the cars talk with the voices of some very familiar actors. Michael Caine was simply the best choice to voice the spy-car. In great James Bond type moves, Fin McMissile plays the perfect British spy in search of the truth. The spy toys are fun and surprising  and the Bond-likeness of the character will capture the parental attention for the flick.

When it comes to length, Cars 2 is pretty much the same length as the first Cars movie clocking in at close to two hours. While some might think that’s rather long for a G rated movie, the first in this franchise proved it can keep the attention of the younger crowd for 2 hours. However, Cars 2 seems to be lacking some in the attention-grabber area. I know there were times when I found this movie dragging and it was not due to the fact that I’m not the target audience. As a matter of fact, the slow points of the movie are actually where the intrigue for the adults should come into play – during the spy sections.

Yes the voice talent is great, as already mentioned, but it seems like the writers were working too hard to capture the parent crowd attention and lost sight of the real purpose of the movie.

Plot Line Muddied By An Agenda

Writers of G rated movies should always remember the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid – If anything, this is exactly what drags down Cars 2. There is a wonderful message contained in this movie for the younger audience. One of accepting people as they are and not calling people names, simply because they appear different. Lightning McQueen learns this valuable lesson as he discovers just how important friendship is. However, when it comes to a subplot aimed at the parents in the audience, the over all flow of the movie becomes somewhat muddied. Some will scream foul saying the writers are trying to indoctrinate the younger crowd about energy.

But, in my opinion, such is not the case.

If anything the energy message is aimed directly at the older crowd. But it falls short as it is not well told and drags the movie down. On the surface, it appears there’s a subplot “Go-Green” message here. However, as the movie winds its way through the three races, there’s no clear answer as to Go-Green or Big-Oil. As a result, in an effort to keep the attention of the parents in the crowd, the writers instead miss the mark and lose sight of their target audience.

This could prove to be a downfall of Cars 2.

While I’m sure this sequel will do well when it comes to Box Office results, it might fall short of expectations as Disney-Pixar no doubt wanted to capitalize on the popularity of the first Cars movie.

Overall, even though from an adult standpoint there are problems with Cars 2, for the most part this sequel does keep the younger target audience entertained. The colors are vibrant and will no doubt hold the attention of the G rated crowd. There are also no problems with the rating and Cars 2 does fall firmly into the family-friendly category.

Enjoy the show!

Dr. Rus


About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.