Review by Diana Saenger
It took real willpower for me not to leave after the first 20 minutes of watching Pixar’s new movie Cars 2. The only reason I shifted nervously through the rest of the film was because I brought my 10-year-old granddaughter along. I could have saved myself some unease, for when we walked out of the screening, she said, “That was a terrible movie, Grandma. I didn’t like it.”
The first problem with this film involves a loss of identity. The funny and innovative town of Radiator Springs and its eclectic vehicle inhabitants featured in Cars (2006) was a center point of what happened in the original movie. We loved the hotshot swagger of racecar Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson). McQueen’s courtship with the saucy Porsche Sally (voiced by Bonnie Hunt) came across as warm and fun. The rusty tow truck Tow Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy), had a heart of gold and a great sense of humor. Luigi (Tony Shalhoub), Fillmore (George Carlin) Sarge (Paul Dooley), Ramone (Cheech Marin), Flo (Jenifer Lewis), and of course Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) were adorable characters who contributed to a delightful story that flowed well and entertained both kids and adults.
Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater, Finn McMissile
Cars 2 starts with a confusing scene right out of James Bond – only with cars, a ship, and actions even I couldn’t figure out what was going on. At first I wondered if this was some kind of commercial tie-in. But soon we’re into a little mishap between Lightning McQueen and his best friend Tow Mater. When McQueen decides to up his game and enter the worldwide Grand Prix, he’s off to race around the world. He has a few crew members along, and naturally Tow Mater knows he must be there too
The movie becomes a jumbled mess from this point on. There’s the confusing James Bondish-theme with agents Finn McMissile (voiced by Michael Caine) and Holley Shiftwell (voiced by Emily Mortimer) running around trying to save McQueen from someone who wants to blow him up but often having to save their own butts – er-fenders – instead. There’s a subplot about McQueen being so embarrassed by Tow Mater’s inappropriate behavior in Tokyo, which raises the question of whether or not they can maintain their friendship, but it’s lost in this disaster of a story. Even the music during the races seems irritating: instead of hearing what one would image at a NASCAR race, the score sounds more fitting for the Olympics.
Francesco Bernoulli - John Turturro
Scenes centered on adult activities or actions such as drinking martinis, getting mixed in bathroom sprawls and mafia type actions are painfully dull and pointless. I mean don’t we have enough problems with teens driving under the influence? Now we have cartoon suggestive scenes with 10W-40 martinis? Shame on Pixar.
Digging themselves into a deeper –non-kid hole, there’s some kind of link about “oil” running through the movie. Not particularly vehicle oil, but Big Oil and evil people who want to control it. Gee, I wonder where that idea came from?
I’m so disappointed in this story by John Lasseter, Brad Lewis, Dan Fogelman and screenplay by Ben Queen. I can’t imagine what they were thinking. Car 2 does not have an audience – and especially not one made for children. Throughout the 113 minute film I noticed only about 10 minutes of laughs from kids, and not much more from the adults.
Pixar says in the film’s synopsis that McQeeen wants to be the world’s fastest car. But the road to the finish line is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and bombshells. Unfortunately, it’s Cars 2 that’s filled with potholes, detours and bombshells. Don’t waste your money on this disappointing movie, even though the animation is terrific.
Photo credits: Disney/Pixar
Those who made the movie