A real car guy movie or a flick for kids? Even if you think you’re too old for Disney movies, "Cars" is a go. Trust me. You’ll thank me later.
Let me begin by saying that the Cars the movie franchise is one of my favorite Disney movie franchises. The level of detail and variety of humor that goes into these films is fantastic. I remember seeing Cars a few years ago and coming out of the theater absolutely blown away by the fact that nearly every car in the film was an actual vehicle in real life. Disney then took these real vehicles and gave them life and personalities. It was just brilliant. Even if you think you’re too old for Disney movies, Cars is a go. Trust me. You’ll thank me later. Now on with Cars 2 the Movie Review!
Cars 2, however, was quite the change of direction. While the original dealt with themes such as friendship, redemption, and humility, Cars 2 decides to take a different approach. The plot revolves around a new race called “The World Grand Prix”, created by a former oil tycoon turned green fuel advocate. Lightning McQueen is challenged to attend the race by a snazzy Formula One race car Francesco. McQueen and his crew (including is best friend Mater) decide to attend. Once there, the team, especially Mater, become quickly wrapped up in a vehicular conspiracy. Mater is mistaken for an American spy by two British spies and finds himself in the world of espionage.
The movie itself was entertaining and amusing, but it was lacking in real substance. The movie attempted to be too many things at once, and in the process ended up losing any real subject matter. The film tried to be a pseudo-spy film, a children’s movie, and a buddy comedy all at once. But it may have been too much to handle. The enjoyment from the film, in my humble opinion, was primarily derived from the wise-cracking dialogue and slapstick humor (mainly from Mater).
What was nice about the film was that the characters were developed nicely. You knew about Lightning McQueen and how he has come to love Radiator Springs. Mater played the part of the haplessly innocent friend who finds himself in situations he is unaccustomed to. Francesco plays the competition, etc. The efficiency with which the main characters were developed and minor characters were introduced was nice. It left no chance for the audience or movie to focus on anyone not central to the plot.
One of the high points of the film was definitely the visual detail and quality of the animation. Cars 2 the movie was a truly stunning film from a visual perspective and the good people at Pixar definitely put a lot of work into the film. The creativity that went into making the entire world anthropomorphically functional for living cars was brilliant. Birds are shown as tiny planes that fire up and fly away as soon as other cars drive through a courtyard. Forklifts are sushi chefs. Big Ben in London is called Big Bentley. The Queen of England is a Rolls Royce while the prince is a Bentley. It’s just an absolute pleasure to watch the movie and pick up on the little things.
Another high point of the film was having an ensemble cast of voice actors. Owen Wilson voiced Lightning McQueen, Larry the Cable Guy was Mater, Michael Caine voiced Finn McMissile, John Turturro played Francesco, Eddie Izzard voiced Sir Miles Axelrod, Jeff Gordon made a cameo as Jeff Gorvette (…he was a Corvette), and countless others. Having a good mix of actors, comedians, and celebrity cameos made the film quite fun to watch and ensured that the punch lines were spot on and that the voices really brought out the appropriate emotions in a scene.
Overall, Cars 2 was a film that was pretty okay to watch. I’m glad I didn’t go to the theaters and have to spend money on it, as I would have been disappointed. Especially with ticket prices these days. It’s almost as if you basically have to take out a second mortgage to go see a new movie in theaters. Don’t even get me started on what I had to do to go watch The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX…(shudders). But as a rental, the movie was just fine. I got to kill an hour or two, had some laughs along the way and ended a Wednesday night on a good note. But it wasn’t a stellar movie that I would go about recommending to friends, nor would I watch it again. It was a one-off movie experience. And I had a decent time. I’d give the film a B+ with my Cars 2 movie review.