Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review for CARS 2

Will it be a photo-finish or crash-and-burn?

Pixar Animation Studios have had a rich history of creating some of our favorite and most remembered films of all time, for not only children but adults alike.  It started with Toy Story, the first full-length 3D animated film, and since then we see it almost everywhere.  Now, to commemorate 25 years of work, Pixar has released it's newest film Cars 2, now the question we have to ask is, is it the film to celebrate 25 years of excellence?'s not.

Cars 2 brings us to the familiar town of Radiator Springs, where we meet the old gang once again.  There's Mater the lovable tow truck oaf, played by Blue Collar comedian Larry the Cable Guy, the Italian pair Luigi and Guido played by Tony Shalhoub and Guido Quaroni, the very lovely Sally played by Bonnie Hunt, and racing superstar Lighting McQueen played, once again, by Owen Wilson.  Other actors such as John Turturro, Eddie Izzard, and more also lend their voices to a boat load of new characters for this film.  After his fourth win of the Piston Cup, McQueen is finally ready for some R & R, but after some trash talk from F1 car Francesco Bernouli (Turturro), on a Larry King-like talk show, McQueen gets the spark to enter in a new race, called the World Grand Prix.  This new race is sponsored by Miles Axelrod (Izzard), who has developed a new form of fuel, which he calls Allinol, that is supposed to be a new renewable source and to be clean burning.  However, that is all the side plot.  The real story involves international spies and a scheme to fix the Grand Prix, and who is the one to save us all? Why it's Mater of course, who gets mistaken for an American agent that has vital intel about this plan.  He gets pick up by British agents Fin McMissle, played by Michael Caine, and Holly Shiftwell, played by Emily Mortimer, and they bring him along to help save the world.  That's right, the two British sports cars, mistake a rusted slack-jawed tow truck with a heavy Southern accent as a American spy....I just died a little inside.

What was Pixar thinking?  The first Cars had charm, a funny cast, and fantastic animation, but it's sequel only has one of those three, the animation.  Cars 2 takes a total shift from the original by taking the focus of Lighting McQueen, a character who in the beginning was a pompous ass who only cared about fame and fortune, but through the power of friendship and the simple life (the concept...not the stupid TV show starring Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie), and now puts it on Mater, a character whose purpose was mostly to say a funny one liners and to be the lovable best friend of the hero.  Having Mater as the lead seems so wrong to me.

The other issue I have is the overall story of this film.  International espionage? Secret agents? Spy cars?  I mean, this could probably work for a sequel to The Incredibles, because the setting of that film seems right, but Cars 2, has TALKING CARS!  Why would talking cars deal with these sort of situations? They're cars! The idea of that is more ridiculous than that they get their kicks from seeing their kind drive around a track, which is essentially running around if you really think about it.

There is the occasional laugh or two from time to time, but it can't really save the film.  The jokes consist of NASCAR related things mostly, which I know nothing about.  Other jokes include some clever cameos of actors or celebrities and even past Pixar films (keep an eye out for those).  Overall the film is semi comical, with jokes and puns that children will get more of a laugh than the parent(s) that take them to it.

I saw this film in 2D but from what I can tell, 3D may look pretty well, but the movie was such a disappointment that you'd probably just want to save the money until the new Harry Potter comes out.


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