Cars 2


The car-toon heroes hit the road...

Of all Pixar's alti-verses, the one in Cars is the hardest to buy into. Motors with eyes for windshields, pootling about a four-wheeled world modeled on auto parts? It may be John Lasseter's pride and joy, but for us it's missing some key components.

Internal logic for one. Charm. Car-isma...

Ok, so the 2006 original eventually won us over with its fish-out-of-water storyline and its nostalgic passion for Americana. But not so much that we were craving another outing for Lightning McQueen and his tow-truck mate Mater, hardly the Butch and Sundance of the animated fraternity.

Seemingly guessing as much, the Emeryville elite seek to woo us with a pre-feature short, Hawaiian Vacation, that joyously reunites the Toy Story gang. Sadly, like a clapped-out banger, this gambit backfires. We love Buzz and Woody, while we merely tolerate Mater and McQueen. Why waft champagne under our noses when we are really getting Car-va?

To be fair, Cars 2 begins well with a Bondian prologue which sees suave superspy Finn McMissile - voice Michael Caine, body DB5 - sneak onto an offshore oil platform at the centre of a global gasoline conspiracy.

Goldfinger gags abound in the ensuing mayhem, raising hopes that Lasseter has heeded the critics and upped the ante accordingly. But once the action defaults to Radiator Springs, the movie springs a leak, mostly by putting clueless hick Mater centre stage.

Yes, it is Owen Wilson's hotshot racer who gets invited to compete in a World Grand Prix that whisks him to Japan (Geishas, neon), Italy (Popemobile) and Britain (Big Bentley, Tyre Bridge). But it's Mater who gets embroiled in McMissile's mission, a convoluted caper involving alternative fuel, millionaire mogul Miles Axlerod (Eddie Izzard) and rookie agent Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer).

Mater scuppering an assassination attempt in a Tokyo restroom. Mater careering around an international airport. Mater infiltrating a villain convention in elaborate disguise. Yes, we sure do get a lot of the bumbling rust-bucket this time around, testing our patience for Larry the Cable Guy's hillbilly schtick to braking point.

True, the picture is punctuated by three thrilling race meets that find McQueen and tutti-frutti nemesis Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro) justifying the now obligatory 3D as they negotiate spectacular Scalextric-style courses.

What should be highlights though have more than a clutch of afterthought, particularly during an extended London-set climax more interested in the plastic attached to Mater's carburettor (some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!) than who gets to the finish line first.

Cars' popularity with the kids ensures a large and enthusiastic audience will turn up for the sequel.

Yet where Pixar's other films have captivated across the board, Cars 2 could leave some grown-ups feeling tired.


There's more going on than there was in Cars and the globe-trotting's a gas. But compared to the pick of the Pixar pack, this is some way down the grid.  

Film Details

User Reviews

    • HAMMER77777

      Jul 12th 2011, 7:26


      MOVIE was awesome..this reviewer is an idiot...Larry rules baby! write me at And Tell me if im wrong

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    • Punchbowl

      Jul 29th 2011, 7:36


      This is Pixar's Crystal Skull. An awful, long winded grind of a movie that has none of the hard won charm of the original. And what with the film having a dull story, your given far too much time to question the logic of the world. I was reticent with the first Cars movie that I'd buy into a world filled with anthropomorphic vehicles, but as usual with Pixar, it's charm and characters win you over. But this one throws so many stupid ideas at the screen your brain just shuts down. Cars eating spicy food. Houses built for humans that don't exist, an incident in the first minute of the movie described as "going pear shaped". It's just a mess of all the ideas you could overlook in the unfairly derided original because all the those nagging thoughts are up on the screen begging for attention. And then there's all the guns. You can usually rely on a Pixar to be pretty much free of any violence, lots of peril and danger but no aggression between characters. Cars 2 has vehicular violence that would make a Burnout game look tame. And the music just grates. the faux Bond tropes get played over and over to the point that they lose any impact and just sound like someones mobile phone kicking off. If you want to find that charm that Cars has, then seek out Mater's Tall Tales, there's more invention and charm in the five minute short stories than you'll find sitting through Cars 2. Avoid, and hopefully it will just be a blemish on an otherwise spotless record.

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