Pixar were bound to swing and miss at some point. But I never thought they would miss so badly. Such a disappointment, especially with Brave coming up next year which looks absolutely fantastic. I was among the many who never even remotely understood the reason for this sequel’s existence. So, why is this film being reviewed here? Well, because this time around, race car Lightning McQueen and his pal Mater head overseas to Tokyo to compete in the World Grand Prix race, which is another string of American films that needs to come to Asia territory to feel ‘fresh’.
The main weakness of the film is that it never feels like there is any real danger, as there is with the Toy Story films. Adventures in racing take a back-seat to the more mature plot of an espionage thriller. I went and saw this at the theater and as I was looking around at other people, especially kids younger than 4 or 5, were beginning to get lost. If the spy thing sounds incredibly silly, well, that’s because it is silly. The cartoon James Bond with a goofy sidekick angle will only please those that have never experienced this redundant theme before. Bottom line: Young kids were not following the plot. Oil companies, mafia, espionage etc.
Pixar’s Cars 2 runs 113 minutes and the best thing I can say about the film is the voice work. Everyone does a really good job (Michael Caine absolutely steals the show). So while McQueen’s off in a racing storyline they needed to give Mater some kind of story, and I suppose a spy caper is better than some of the other ones they could’ve ended up using. I know other adults will be glad that their kids enjoyed the film so much so they won’t have complaints about Cars, but for those of us who really enjoy these Pixar films on their own we know this movie just didn’t live up to expectations. Cars 2 is entertaining, but it’s just missing everything that Pixar has accustomed us to.
All in all, Pixar’s reputation has not been tarnished and they’re still, by far, the best studio in Hollywood. Expecting a masterpiece every single year must be a nightmare for Pixar employees and it is kind of reassuring knowing even they, can produce a lackluster film. In short, if you liked the first Cars movie, you may or may not like this one better. If you hated the first one, well, don’t even bother, this one is worse. I did not enjoy Cars 2 at all and I kept looking at my watch to see when it would end. The 3-D is useless, kids around me didn’t enjoy it, and it seems when Oscar time rolls around, it won’t receive any nomination either. Sad year for Pixar fans.