Making a movie sequel to an overwhelmingly popular and beloved film must be hard work. Credit should be given to any creative team tasked with surpassing the inherent goodness of the original. Often, the easy solution is to simply recreate the formula of the first successful film. Yet for the ambitious moviemakers, the goal is to make something completely different. Such is the case with Disney Pixar’s “Cars 2.” A story that attempts so hard to be different, it collapses under the weight of its own ambition.
How’s the Story
For a kids oriented movie, “Cars 2” is weighted down by an unnecessarily complex spy story. Unlike “Cars”, Lightning McQueen takes a back seat to the comic relief character, Mater the Tow Truck, who takes center stage in the sequel’s storyline as an unwitting spy on the hunt for a nefarious car that’s been sabotaging an alternative fuel initiative (Did I mention it was complicated?). The theme of the importance of friendship, as in the first film, is deeply rooted as a driving force in much of the action. Yet, unlike the first story, the complexity of the film muddies the simple truths accessible to young and old in the original.
The movie has plenty of action to keep audiences entertained. The world of “Cars 2” can really be described as a comedic international spy thriller. A few notable new characters join the cast, Fin McMissle (voiced by Michael Caine), a British super spy and Francesco Bernoulli (voiced by John Turturro), an arrogant formula 1 champion race car.
How are the Visual Effects?
Disney Pixar has never been a slouch when it comes to presenting dazzling imagery on the big screen. The beauty and detail of the various locales the story encompasses lends to the enjoyment of the film. The quick paced Spy oriented action sequences were visually breathtaking reminiscent of the stellar creative work seen in “The Incredibles”. Also noteworthy was the staggering amount of new cars of assorted shapes and sizes. Compared to the first movie, the merchandising potential has grown exponentially as parents will notice at their local toy resellers.
Can I take My Younger Kids to see “Cars 2”?
Yes. But I’d caution that although not directly seen, a car is killed. In fact, the car, a “good” spy who was interrogated by the “bad” cars, gets tortured first before being executed. The scene unfolds quickly yet may require parents to give an explanation to one’s children.
Any Opportunity for Bathroom Breaks?
Surprisingly, there are several opportunities. I’d recommend the scene when Mater and Lightning McQueen are just hanging around in Radiator Springs in the first half of the movie. Also the plane ride to London offers a lull in the action providing ample time for a quick pit stop.
Overall Rating: B-
Pros: The whole Cars gang is back providing familiar banter and humor. Pixar provides stunning imagery once again that will please animation fans.
Cons: The movie seems forced at times. The overly complex storyline lacks the simplicity and heart of the original.
Watch the official “Cars 2” Trailer: