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Review: Cars 2

Cars 2
Jun. 21, 2011by:
7 10

PLOT: Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is challenged by his arch-nemesis, Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro); an arrogant F1 racer, to participate in the Grand Prix. With Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) in tow, McQueen heads to Tokyo. Soon, Mater finds himself tangled up with two British spies, Finn McMissile (Michael Caine), and Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) on the trail of a monocle -wearing supervillian- Professor Z (Thomas Kretschmann), bent on sabotaging the Grand Prix, and destroying McQueen.

REVIEW: CARS 2 is yet another winner from Pixar...obviously. Is anyone even the least bit surprised at this point? Since TOY STORY back in 1995, the company has proven itself to be virtually incapable of making a bad film. However, like it's predecessor, CARS 2 is undeniably one of the lesser Pixar entries, but still pretty damn good in it's own right.


It doesn't help that CARS 2 follows the one-two-three punch of WALL-E, UP, and TOY STORY 3, each of which are among the finest family films ever made. By comparison, CARS 2 is a fun ride, but lacks the emotional wallop each of those films possessed. It's first and foremost a romp, with the only objective here being to entertain, which it does. In a way, you could call it Pixar's variation on a summer action flick, with it's spy plot giving them the change to wreak carnage on a scale never before seen in one of their productions.

One thing that has to be said; CARS 2 is radically different from the first film. That was a gentle tale of a superstar being humbled by the quaintness of small-town life, being almost Capra-esque at times (and owing more than a little to the Michael J. Fox vehicle, DOC HOLLYWOOD). CARS 2 is more like a sixties Bond flick (complete with a groovy retro score by Michael Giacchino, replacing the first film's Randy Newman).


Surprisingly, Lightning McQueen takes a backseat in this installment, with Larry The Cable Guy's Mater being the star. In fact, I'd wager that Caine and Mortimer's super-spy characters get more screen-time than McQueen, but that's not such a bad thing, with Caine in particular, obviously having a ball voicing the James Bond-style Aston Martin. As for Mr. Cable Guy, I'd have to say that's my biggest issue with the film, as I didn't really find him funny in the first film, and I feel the same here. However, the kids I saw this with were practically rolling in the aisles every-time Mater was on-screen, so what do I know? He does have one really funny scene where he tries to figure out a Japanese toilet, before interrupting a TRUE LIES style shootout (featuring none other than Bruce Campbell voicing the good guy!).

Other than Caine, I probably got the most enjoyment out of John Turturro, hamming it up big time as McQueen's arrogant Formula 1 nemesis, complete with a gloriously over the top Italian accent. Also nifty were two vocal cameos by Franco Nero (DJANGO!) and Vanessa Redgrave (doing almost her entire role in Italian!).


Like the first film, CARS 2 is a feast for the eyes, with the Pixar, CARS-centric take on Tokyo being particularly slick (also loved their take on cheesy Japanese advertising). The only downside was the 3D which, even in IMAX, drastically reduced the brightness of the colorful images, which is a shame. Chalk this up as yet another 3D film that should be seen in 2D if possible (although Digital Projection is a must).

Unlike most Pixar films, there's no big lesson to be learned here, other than to value friendship of course, with most of the 110 minute running time being focused on massive action scenes. Some of the set-pieces, such as McMissile's opening raid on the gloriously Bond villain-like Professor Z, are incredibly dynamic and fun to watch. I also got a big kick out of all the villains being notoriously awful cars, such as Pacers, Yugos and Gremlins. Obviously the gang at Pixar know their lemons.

In the end, CARS 2 is not quite up to the standard of the majority of Pixar films, but that said, mediocre Pixar is still way better than what any other animation studios are doing. On it's own merits, CARS 2 is a damn fun film, and terrific summer entertainment the kiddies will likely want to see again and again. As for the older Pixar fans, you'll have a great time, but just taper your expectations a tad.

Extra Tidbit: The opening TOY STORY short is great.
Source: JoBlo.com

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10:24AM on 06/21/2011

Cars is still good

Cars is like being the least attractive Playboy Model. Not the hottest girl to ever grace the pages, but she's a fucking playboy model. You wouldnt turn down the chance to be with her. Cars isnt as amazing as the Rest of Pixar but it's still best animated film since Toy Story 3.
Cars is like being the least attractive Playboy Model. Not the hottest girl to ever grace the pages, but she's a fucking playboy model. You wouldnt turn down the chance to be with her. Cars isnt as amazing as the Rest of Pixar but it's still best animated film since Toy Story 3.
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+11
7:08AM on 06/21/2011
Michael Caine may be the only person on the planet that can make a decent movie out of anything that stars Larry the Cable Guy (just his voice or not).
Michael Caine may be the only person on the planet that can make a decent movie out of anything that stars Larry the Cable Guy (just his voice or not).
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+7
7:55AM on 06/21/2011

Bruce Campbell?

Sold!
Sold!
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8:49AM on 06/21/2011
I enjoyed the first, so i'm looking forward to this one. It wasn't Pixar's best, but it certainly wasn't Shrek...
I enjoyed the first, so i'm looking forward to this one. It wasn't Pixar's best, but it certainly wasn't Shrek...
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11:07PM on 06/21/2011

Gonna see it

I enjoyed Cars, even though it wasn't Pixar's best . They haven't disappointed me yet so I'm looking forward to giving them money.
I enjoyed Cars, even though it wasn't Pixar's best . They haven't disappointed me yet so I'm looking forward to giving them money.
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8:18PM on 06/21/2011

I really like Cars

I'm in the minority of people who like the first and I am happy to hear that you dudes liked it! I'd probably place it near the middle of Pixar's best, but it's way better than Bugs Life which I LOATHE!
I'm in the minority of people who like the first and I am happy to hear that you dudes liked it! I'd probably place it near the middle of Pixar's best, but it's way better than Bugs Life which I LOATHE!
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10:58PM on 06/23/2011
A Bugs Life was great, it's world made sense.
A Bugs Life was great, it's world made sense.
+2
7:37AM on 06/21/2011
First Pixar film I couldn't give a crap about! ..the same could be said about the first Cars, but back then I was naive to think that Pixar could do no wrong! ..only thing I don't get, is why they would want to repeat their weakest film by far?!
First Pixar film I couldn't give a crap about! ..the same could be said about the first Cars, but back then I was naive to think that Pixar could do no wrong! ..only thing I don't get, is why they would want to repeat their weakest film by far?!
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8:01AM on 06/21/2011
As the father of 2 - I'll tell you why. The Cars 2 aisle at Toys R Us, which will probably be there through the Christmas season.
As the father of 2 - I'll tell you why. The Cars 2 aisle at Toys R Us, which will probably be there through the Christmas season.
9:52AM on 06/21/2011
Weakest film?? Oh how easily everyone forgets "A Bug's Life"
Weakest film?? Oh how easily everyone forgets "A Bug's Life"
11:19AM on 06/21/2011
THANK YOU GRAND MARQUIS. I keep saying this.
THANK YOU GRAND MARQUIS. I keep saying this.
12:27PM on 06/21/2011
Sorry but a bugs life is certified fresh at 91% on rotten while cars is at 74%. Cars is the worst Pixar movie ever, but still good. Dont hate on the awesome Bugs Life!!!
Sorry but a bugs life is certified fresh at 91% on rotten while cars is at 74%. Cars is the worst Pixar movie ever, but still good. Dont hate on the awesome Bugs Life!!!
1:59PM on 06/21/2011
Since CARS, and its merchandise, has made over two billion dollars so far, I'm not sure why you're asking this question, really.
Since CARS, and its merchandise, has made over two billion dollars so far, I'm not sure why you're asking this question, really.
+1
2:00PM on 06/21/2011

Pass.

Too many other movies coming out in theaters that I'd rather spend my money on, than some direct-to-dvd sequel of the weakest of Pixar movies.
Too many other movies coming out in theaters that I'd rather spend my money on, than some direct-to-dvd sequel of the weakest of Pixar movies.
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+1
12:10PM on 06/21/2011
Passing on this the same way I passed on the original. Anything with Larry The Cable Guy, whether it's his voice or in person, is something I don't wish to "enjoy". Sadly the guy is pretty smart, and yet wastes it on being a dumb redneck.
Passing on this the same way I passed on the original. Anything with Larry The Cable Guy, whether it's his voice or in person, is something I don't wish to "enjoy". Sadly the guy is pretty smart, and yet wastes it on being a dumb redneck.
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+0
4:33PM on 06/23/2011
Cars wasnt horrible but I cant stand Larry The Cable Guy's voice. He ruins everything he is in. And is not funny. Seeing as how they made him the central characterin this movie I refuse to see it. Looks like its pixar's first critical failure
Cars wasnt horrible but I cant stand Larry The Cable Guy's voice. He ruins everything he is in. And is not funny. Seeing as how they made him the central characterin this movie I refuse to see it. Looks like its pixar's first critical failure
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10:55PM on 06/23/2011
Sorry Bumbray but this is where I have to disagree. The world of Cars makes no sense to me, I can't suspend my ability to disbelieve long enough to enjoy it. It's illogical for a world to be inhabited by talking Cars, THEY DO NOT HAVE HANDS!!!! How the hell are any of the buildings, gas stations or roads made, how the hell can they broadcast the races or even use computers? One of the characters even had a Jimi Hendrix ringtone in the first one, WTF!? it was my problem with the first Cars and
Sorry Bumbray but this is where I have to disagree. The world of Cars makes no sense to me, I can't suspend my ability to disbelieve long enough to enjoy it. It's illogical for a world to be inhabited by talking Cars, THEY DO NOT HAVE HANDS!!!! How the hell are any of the buildings, gas stations or roads made, how the hell can they broadcast the races or even use computers? One of the characters even had a Jimi Hendrix ringtone in the first one, WTF!? it was my problem with the first Cars and it's my problem whenever I see a comercial for Cars 2. I can't be wowed by any of the action scenes or a globetrotting plot with homages to James Bond if the whole time I'm asking myself; how the fuck is any of this possible? And yeah, I know it's a cartoon but Pixar usually goes through great lengths to add a bit of realism to their stuff, the Toys can talk but they only do it when humans aren't around, Doug and all the other animals in UP needed voice boxes etc. The loss of rationality in the Cars franchise becomes even more mind boggling the more I think about it. Oh well, they're still my favorite Animation studio and I eagerly look forward to Brave, a movie that has a logical world despite being fantastic. Really, Green Lantern made no sense to you but an advance technological world that mirrors ours inhabited by beings with no opposable thumbs did!?
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5:42PM on 06/21/2011

Kudos, Joblo

Well what do you know, same grade as Kung Fu Panda 2! I think that the reviews for both movies were fair. Too generous, maybe, but fair. I have to admit, finding out a movie is mediocre has never brought me this much joy.
Well what do you know, same grade as Kung Fu Panda 2! I think that the reviews for both movies were fair. Too generous, maybe, but fair. I have to admit, finding out a movie is mediocre has never brought me this much joy.
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4:47PM on 06/21/2011

Walmart

This was made because walmart demanded it because cars toys and other car merch were and are the hugest seller they've ever had. who cares if the flics suck kids(there parents.) buy the shit out of cars merch, hell theirs even cars cereal!
This was made because walmart demanded it because cars toys and other car merch were and are the hugest seller they've ever had. who cares if the flics suck kids(there parents.) buy the shit out of cars merch, hell theirs even cars cereal!
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5:44PM on 06/21/2011
let me amend my comment...Kung Fu Panda 2 is in the mid 80s on rotten tomatoes (83% i think) and Cars 2 is at 67%. Same grade given on JOBLO.COM
let me amend my comment...Kung Fu Panda 2 is in the mid 80s on rotten tomatoes (83% i think) and Cars 2 is at 67%. Same grade given on JOBLO.COM
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-37
8:00AM on 06/21/2011

Taper my expectations?

Fuck off! With the exception of the legendary Paul Newman. Cars was a waist (and yes I have kids). I'm just glad they did not try to replace his voice with Black Clark.
I swear, these guaranteed Money makers should just Rote. I need a "Hollywood" that can give me some new I.P. Damn It!!!
Fuck off! With the exception of the legendary Paul Newman. Cars was a waist (and yes I have kids). I'm just glad they did not try to replace his voice with Black Clark.
I swear, these guaranteed Money makers should just Rote. I need a "Hollywood" that can give me some new I.P. Damn It!!!
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12:38PM on 06/21/2011
you have kids? that's scary.
you have kids? that's scary.
5:49PM on 06/21/2011
If this guy does have kids I bet they are bored kids. I can imagine him not letting them watch Cars 2 as it's not original IP. Oh and it's spelled 'waste' not 'waist'. Jeez!
If this guy does have kids I bet they are bored kids. I can imagine him not letting them watch Cars 2 as it's not original IP. Oh and it's spelled 'waste' not 'waist'. Jeez!
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