Featuring the Voices of:
Larry the Cable Guy as Mater
Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen
Michael Caine as Finn McMissile
Emily Mortimer as Holley Shiftwell
Eddie Izzard as Sir Miles Axlerod
John Turturro as Francesco Bernoulli
Written by Ben Queen
Directed by John Lasseter, Brad Lewis
Running Time: 1:52
Cars 2 was a decent enough film but seriously lacks the magic of other Disney/Pixar films.
Lightning McQueen has become a world famous racer, but is a little embarrassed by where he came from. When his best friend Mater comes along on a trip, Mater is out of place and embarrasses Lightning even more. But Mater is also mistaken for a spy and becomes embroiled in a plot to help the oil companies stamp out a new type of product that could put them out of business. As the two friends drift apart, they soon realize that together they're stronger and can take on, and possibly save, the world.
Cars 2 was marginally better than the original Cars but they're still the two weakest entries in Pixar history. While Pixar has an amazing ability to get you to feel a connection to all sorts of things big and small, whether it's a fish or a robot or a mouse or bugs, for some reason doing the same thing with cars has been nearly impossible. Maybe if it was one car in the middle of another movie it would be OK, but an entire movie devoted to just cars is way too much. They all look and sound the same and you simply can't wring emotion out of them. I felt no connection to any of the characters and therefore didn't care that much about the movie. First off, the main character this time around is Mater, so if you find Larry the Cable Guy's voice annoying, you will not like this movie. His fish-out-of-water character has been done a million times before, and normally Pixar (especially with John Lassiter in the director's chair) could still find something to work with in that kind of stale story, but this time around there wasn't much that was new. Mater is mistaken for a spy and somehow bumbles his way through everything and comes out the other side unscathed. I could have been watching a Rowan Atkinson movie instead. And the rest of the cast was decent, but again I didn't feel any connection to them. As hard as they tried, Pixar was unable to make me care about any of the cars. I often thought that the reason Cars 2 was made was because the first movie was so poorly received that Pixar wanted a change to redeem themselves. Unfortunately, they didn't. Will all the little boys who have Cars merchandise all over their rooms like this? Absolutely. But unlike just about every other Pixar film, the adults simply won't care. A rare misstep for the Pixar team, but I expect it's only a slight hiccup.
All that being said, the animation was once again superb and proves why Pixar is far and away the best in the game. The picture just jumped out at you (and not just because it was in 3D). It was clean and crisp and vibrant and the race sequences made you feel like you were right on the track. We traveled all around the world in this movie and each country was just as picturesque as in real life. There were some good action sequences and some funny moments as well, even if the jokes were ones we had heard before. They tried to make this one a little more mainstream by adding a theme song by Brad Paisley & Robbie Williams called 'Collision of Worlds' which has the world's most obvious lyrics, but isn't all that bad. Though admittedly I'm a big Robbie Williams fan. The 3D in the film was decent, as they are for most animated films, but once again the company didn't use it for any particular reason. You would think by now the studios would have caught on to the fact that people are tired of unnecessary 3D and go back to having things pop out at the screen. Pixar did one very smart thing though... the traditional short film that happens before the main event featured the characters from the Toy Story films and was 100 times better than the actually movie. So people wanting to see their favorite Pixar characters may just pay to see the short and suffer through the rest of the film.
The extras on the 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo were surprisingly few and far between. There was a director's commentary and two short films - one of which had been shown in theaters. So the only real worthwhile extra was the second short film, "Air Mater" which follows Mater as he decides to learn how to fly.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall I thought Cars 2 was just OK. The animation was amazing as always, and there was a certain level of excitement and humor, but unfortunately there was little or no connection with any of the characters. And when you don't care about the characters, it's hard to care about the movie.