Cert: U Runtime: 106 mins Director: John Lasseter & Brad Lewis Cast: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Eddie Izzard, Emily Mortimer and Michael Caine
A wise car hears one word and understands two…
Pixar are back with Cars 2 this summer, the story follows star racecar Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and the incomparable tow truck Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) take their friendship to exciting new places in “Cars 2” when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car. But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage. Torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and towing the line in a top-secret spy mission, Mater’s action-packed journey leads him on an explosive chase through the streets of Japan and Europe, trailed by his friends and watched by the whole world. Adding to the fast-paced fun is a colorful new all-car cast that includes secret agents, menacing villains and international racing competitors.
The best of Pixar’s films have protagonists who are a small part of a very large world and are almost helpless against incredible odds – Toy Story, Wall-E, Finding Nemo etc. The protagonists of Cars are very big in a very small world, so do not play to the strengths of Pixar.However, being Pixar, they still make these films better than anyone else would have with the same material. Cars and Cars 2 are intelligently written and filled with more detail than you could comfortably fit into a single screening.This movie is not so much a sequel to the first as an affectionate James Bond parody that happens to be set in the Cars universe. Whereas the original Cars was thematically slow and patient, this one deliberately takes things in the exact opposite direction. Whether anyone will prefer the first film or the second is entirely their preference, and it is wrong to say that one is better than the other. Each film has its own appeals and drawbacks.The main weakness of this film is a failure to create any kind of sympathy for the characters. They are not alone, they are not lost, they have friends and allies and the resources to get out of any situation. It never feels like there is any real danger, as there is with the Toy Story films. Whereas the first film had enough focus on character development to compensate for this, the subplot about the tested friendship between McQueen and Mater seems especially insubstantial here.Nevertheless, I feel like this is an enjoyable installment in the franchise, never letting your attention wander and always ready with a clever idea. They have demonstrated that they are willing to go in entirely new directions with this world – maybe if they make a third film, they can make something truly worthy of the Pixar name?