Cars 2 Review
By Bret Dorman
I understand why people make sequels. Sometimes its nice to see established characters in different situations. Sometimes if a franchise is doing well, its guaranteed money. But with Cars 2, it seemed like Disney went into its massive toy/merchandise warehouse, found a bunch of old Cars toys, and thought the best way to sell them was to just make another movie.
The Story: Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) gets called out by fellow racer Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro) to race in The World Grand Prix, which is a promotion for a new fuel by Sir Miles Axlerod (Eddie Izzard). Meanwhile, Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) gets mixed up in a classic case of mistaken identity and has to help real spies Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer). Also, there’s tons of NASCAR cameos which my dad would love if he liked cartoons about talking cars.
Mistaken Identity movies can be tricky. From the beginning, we the audience know what is happening, and if someone in the movie just took one extra minute to explain what was going on, we could avert all the impending disaster. Cars 2 gets two things right. One, Mater, on several occasions, tries to tell the real spies he is just some car. Its the real spies who make the mistake of thinking he is a spy. Two, Mater is actually ‘good’ at doing his spy work. Its like a constant string of Scooby Doo traps. They plan one thing but then it goes horribly wrong and still ends up working.
The problem is, Mater is an annoying character who is just cheap laugh after cheap laugh. I understand this is a kids movie and seeing a car make fart jokes is funny for kids (its funny to me too) but beyond the fart jokes Mater is just a moron. Its not that I would rather see Lightning McQueen be the ‘Accidental Spy’… I would rather see a really awesome spy flick by Pixar that didn’t involve any other the ‘stock car-acters’ of the Cars… ‘franchise’…
Its hard to imagine if the kids could keep up with the story and what was going on or if they just liked seeing the cars make funny faces? I think that this movie was actually pretty well made for a kids movie, almost too well made? But because its a kids movie they also have to dumb it down so the potential it had was decreased for older viewers like me. I would much rather just see a Cars 2 that was a throwaway script and a Pixar-Spy flick that was geared more towards older teens/adults. That would be awesome.
Regardless of the script or even whether or not making Cars 2 was really a good idea in the first place… this movie does have one thing going for it no one can deny. It looked great. Most of this movie is various light sources and reflective surfaces and just showing off how awesome Pixar’s animation is. The action was pretty watered down (for a Die Hard action junkie like me) but it was fluid, which was refreshing.
In Conclusion, Mater is a pretty dumb and selfish character. He can’t let McQueen have one minute alone with his girlfriend and gets super upset anytime he does anything wrong and is called out on it. I like the idea of a good spirited character putting aside petty arguments between friends to ‘save’ the friendship.. and the world! Mater might be a good hearted character, but he’s mostly annoying.