MAG Journal's Cars 2 Review
A Bug’s Life. The Incredibles. Toy Story. What do these all have in common? They’re all great Pixar films that deserved sequels (only one of which was given the treatment). Unfortunately, money speaks volumes, and the incredibly successful merchandising of Cars (unanimously viewed as Pixar’s weakest film to date) has dictated that Pixar follow up with Cars 2. While I liked the hotly debated Cars, Cars 2 is devoid of any of the Pixar charm and instead feels like a phoned-in, incoherent pile of junk.
The film follows Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), Lightning McQueen’s best friend from the first movie, as he is mistakenly wrapped up in a mission led by British intelligence agents Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer). The mission: capture Professor Zündapp and destroy his secret weapon. Meanwhile, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is invited to race in the World Grand Prix, hosted by Miles Axlerod (Eddie Izzard). His mission: win the World Grand Prix and make the boastful Formula One car Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro) eat his dust. Rather than focus on one strong storyline, Pixar crafted two weaker storylines that don’t work together at all. McQueen’s story is entertaining, but lacks any sort of theme or moral, and Mater’s story is simply uninteresting and is held back by the character himself.
Pixar could’ve easily expanded McQueen’s story and had a great film on their hands, but instead they decided to focus more on Mater’s story. The reason Cars worked well was due to its strong story, coherent message, and, most of all, its likeable protagonist. Why Pixar decided to point more focus towards McQueen’s annoying sidekick is beyond my comprehension. Mater is a simpleton, always screwing things up for Lightning McQueen. We’re told to sympathize with this imbecile, but it becomes a daunting task as the film progresses and we become increasingly annoyed with Mater’s obnoxious antics. Looking back, I don’t recall laughing even once at any of Mater’s jokes. In fact, none of the children in the theater laughed either. Mater himself is arguably the biggest flaw of this film.
The film isn’t without its positives, though. The racing scenes are well-done and supply a steady dose of silver screen adrenaline to the audience. In addition, the animation is gorgeous, with beautifully rendered recreations of Japan, Italy, Paris, and England. Unfortunately, this film is nothing but eye candy, as that is where the positives end.
Cars 2 feels like a sloppy effort backed by Disney in order to revive the Cars merchandising craze which earned Disney-Pixar oodles and oodles of money. Pixar did something brand new with Cars 2: they put half an effort into the film and forgot to add a splash of that Pixar charm that both children and adults alike love. Overall, Cars 2 is not worth the price of admission. It’s not worth a rental via Blockbuster or Netflix. If you must see it, wait until it appears on Cartoon Network or some other cable network, because any money put into this film will not be returned in entertainment value. You disappoint me, Pixar. Hopefully the greed train won’t stay in your station for long, because audiences deserve better movies than the painfully mediocre Cars 2.
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