The original “Cars” has always been unfairly tagged “Pixar’s worst movie”. I dont necessarily think it’s wrong, it probably was the weakest. I just think it’s unfair because, by definition, SOME movie they did had to be the least great. And if you’re talking about a stable of films as awesome as Pixar’s, well, there’s no crime in being the runt of the litter. Seriously? If “Cars” is the worst movie your studio has ever put out? You’ve got a hell of a movie studio.
Well, it doesn’t have to bear that unfair tag any longer, there’s a new king of the Pixar cellar, and this time, the title is rightfully earned.
Cars 2 sucked.
“Cars 2: Lightning McQueen who?” begins with the introduction of a new character. Finn McMissile (voiced by Michael Caine), a car “Spy”, is shown on a top secret mission infiltrating a group of deep sea oil rigs. It’s a much more telling scene than I realized at first, but after watching the entire movie I realized I should have taken away a) This wasn’t going to be anything like “Cars” and b) The characters from the first movie aren’t the stars here. After the introductory scene, the movie returns to Radiator Springs, McQueen, Mater, and the cast of characters from the first film. They don’t stay long, however, as Lightning McQueen is invited/challanged to join a world wide series of Formula 1 races which have been put together in order to demonstrate the power of a new bio-fuel. Before you know it, McQueen and his pit crew are off to race around the world.
Which wouldn’t have been bad… I like the racing sequences, John Tuturro’s “Francesco Bernoulli” (the new opponent for McQueen) was fun, and it was great seeing Pixar animate the cartoon London and Paris and Rome of the Cars world. But very quickly the movie turns into “Cars 2: The Tow Truck who Knew Too Little”, as Mater (voiced by “Larry the Cable Guy” – honestly, that’s how they list him on IMDb, has he had his name changed? Frowning head shake.) is mistaken by McMissile and his co-spy Holly Shiftwell for an American spy. From here on out, “Cars 2: How Much Mater Can You Stand?” is a spy movie, as this trio (Mater, McMissile and Shiftwell) attempt to discover who is sabotaging the races that McQueen is participating in.
Which is a large part of my beef with this movie, for sure. Mater was annoying as a side-kick, forget moving him to the starring role. But my biggest problem with this movie is it’s lack of… soul. I mean, that’s what Pixar is known for, right? Two unlikely toys form a life-long friendship. A father who would swim the entire ocean to find his lost son. An old man who realizes if you keep your heart open, its never to late to care. Here? I am at a LOSS. They pay some minor lip service to being yourself, and maybe something to the effect of you shouldn’t call your friends idiots even if they are idiots, but in general this movie is as superficial as it comes.
Which honestly, leaves you with nothing but action sequences. I’m not kidding, this film is full of ‘em. And one thing I learned about action sequences here? If there’s no HUMANS at risk, there’s no sense of danger (and of course, sometimes even not then, but I digress). And if on top of that, you don’t care about the characters… well… it’s all just sound and fury signifying nothing, folks. It winds up being “Cars 2: … Much” (Thanks Rich)
If you loved Mater from the first movie, then maybe there’s something here for you. If not, stay away. D