PIXAR MASTERPIECE REVIEW: “Cars 2” is voiced by Larry the Cable Guy (Witless Protection, Delta Farce), Owen Wilson (Bottle Rocket, No Escape), Michael Caine (The Dark Knight, Now You See Me), Emily Mortimer (Shutter Island, Hugo), John Turturro (Transformers, Miller’s Crossing), Eddie Izzard (Valkyrie, Ocean’s Thirteen), Bonnie Hunt (Jerry Maguire, The Green Mile), Thomas Kretschmann (King Kong , Wanted), Tony Shalhoub (Monk [TV series], Men in Black), Guido Quaroni, Lloyd Sherr (Turbo, Back at the Barnyard [TV series]), Jenifer Lewis (Strong Medicine [TV series], The Princess and the Frog), Cheech Marin (The Lion King, Up in Smoke), Paul Dooley (Insomnia, Sixteen Candles), Katherine Helmond (Who’s the Boss [TV series], Brazil), and John Ratzenberger (Cheers [TV series], Grace of God). It is directed by John Lasseter (Toy Story, A Bug’s Life) and Brad Lewis, who both co-wrote the story with Dan Fogleman (Tangled, Last Vegas), while the screenplay was written by Ben Queen (Proximity, A to Z [TV Series]). When Lightning McQueen (Wilson) signs up to race in the Grand Prix, he takes Mater (Larry) with him. Little does he know that Mater will have his own adventure when he is mistaken for a spy trying to stop an evil plot to take out the cars racing in the Grand Prix, including McQueen.
And so this marathon takes a turn for the worst. Everyone knows what I am talking about: “Cars 2,” the film that began Pixar’s slope into average storytelling. Now, you may be wondering why I said average even though “Cars 2” was mediocre at best. Well, I am one of those very few people in the world who thought this film wasn’t complete trash and that Pixar’s slope has never created a horrible release, just disappointing ones. This movie has such a bad reputation, receiving terrible reviews from both critics and fans alike, and I can’t say that I blame them. Before this film, Pixar was on a hot streak since their conception. It was hard for them to make something of a failing grade, and they usually came out on top of everyone in the animating world. For some odd reason, however, the executives at Pixar decided that “Cars 2” was a good idea and made it a reality. Like I said in my “Cars” review, I have a soft spot for these characters, unlike many others. I wouldn’t have minded a sequel, if it was just as spectacular or needed as a “Toy Story” one. Unfortunately, that is not the case with this release, as we are dealt with a story that is neither awe-inspiring nor deep. Something Pixar enjoys is telling stories that impact their viewers; make them learn a lesson with each new movie. Both adults and kids alike can join in on the action, but with “Cars 2” this seems like an adventure only kids will find fun. Let’s see why. The plot itself is one that means well, but comes off as an action/comedy piece that doesn’t really excite me. I do love these characters and the Cars world. I will admit to taking some enjoyment out of this, but it isn’t gripping and doesn’t leave me in an emotional state. Having the comedy relief be the main star hasn’t really worked for films in the past (take “Minions” for instance). Although Mater is a funny character, to me at least, not much depth can be found with the guy. He isn’t a character to pick apart because he’s one of those figures who are meant to just make you laugh. The writers try work some seriousness into him in this, but he comes off as a more endearing than moldable character. I will give this movie props for trying a new genre of films though, for Pixar that is. They haven’t really dug into a spy-type movie, and although this was incredibly cliché and cheesy, it does refer back to how the old James Bond films were. I like how they do that, but this is Pixar, a place where cheesiness or cliché plot elements shouldn’t exist (at least not in excessive supply). The dialogue in this spoon fed its viewers conflicts, secrets, and dire situations, making it really predictable. I face-palmed quite a bit at what was told to me to move along the story and make it easier for kids to understand, especially when things in the story were incredibly coincidental. It can be funny, yes, but I can’t let it slide. As for the good aspects of this release, animation is the big winner. Even though I watched this through a fuzzy DVR recording, I could tell that the animation was great. The reflections of the cars, the beautiful landscapes, and the scope of this film are fantastic. I like how they took the plot to several locations as it was interesting to see their spin on them. Something I don’t usually pick apart in animated films is the directing. It’s hard to imagine that directing goes into an animated feature, but it does, and I liked the camera work in this. The voice acting was good too, as always, even though what some of these characters said was hilariously bad (Owen Wilson’s line “you’re right Mater, you are the bomb!”). There were quite of bit of things that I liked about this film, but I will admit that it is Pixar’s worst, and that is probably why it is veered as a horrible release. I’m not appalled at the final product, but I am incredibly disappointed. The world of Cars would seem vast enough to tell intricate stories, however, this one comes off as a dud; one that should’ve been shelved for a more original piece of cinema. I am more kind to this release than other would be though, as it did give me some good moments. I wouldn’t recommend this to the adults, or avid Pixar fans, but the kids will love it. FINAL SCORE: 60%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: