July 21, 2015
Review #730: Cars 2.
Larry the Cable Guy (Mater), Owen Wilson (Lightning McQueen), Michael Caine (Finn McMissile), Emily Mortimer (Holley Shiftwell), John Turturro (Francesco Bernoulli), Eddie Izzard (Sir Miles Axlerod), Thomas Kretschmann (Professor Zündapp), Joe Mantegna (Grem), Peter Jacobson (Acer), Tony Shalhoub (Luigi), Jason Isaacs (Siddeley/Leland Turbo), and Stanley Townsend (Vladimir Trunkov/Ivan/Victor Hugo), Directed by John Lasseter (#440 - Toy Story, #441 - Toy Story 2, #539 - A Bug's Life, and #729 - Cars)
The first Cars was okay. In the sense that when compared to other Pixar movies, it suffered under comparison, but the movie along was fine. This? Meh. Remember how passion made Cars into something to credit? With this, it should've been buried in a box and never opened. Ultimately the problems all come down to the focus changing from McQueen...to Mater. Look, I don't hate Larry the Cable Guy, but after a while, I started to just loathe Mater. He worked better in the first movie because of the small town atmosphere the first movie had, where Mater wasn't with spies and inferior cars trying to ruin a Prix. When did we go from small town memories to SPY FLICK? That would be like if Toy Story 2 was instead a cyberpunk opera. Actually, that would've been better than this. McQueen and Mater's bonding was actually more interesting than Mater being a spy, because I wasn't yelling at the screen, waiting for the movie to get to the point. It's something when you want to see cars racing each other more than spies. At least the rest of the cast is alright, even if there are dozens of characters (and cameos). Admittedly, it's a good looking movie in terms of animation, especially nighttime shots, with the glow of the lights. Mater drags on your nerves, especially if you have little patience. It could be argued that he is up to the level of annoyance that Jar Jar Binks was in The Phantom Menace, though at least Mater saves the day. I like the idea of McQueen going to race in a Prix around the world, to see other cultures and other racers, now that the town is well off. Instead, it's a look into how silly Mater can be in other cultures, right down to swallowing a bunch of wasabi. I wonder if it would've been funnier in live action, with real people. Of course, if I wanted to, I could watch it on the Internet.
The "be yourself" theme works in theory, unless of course you meet someone who doesn't like you, or is a bully. Yes, even when you are being beaten up, at least you can be comforted in that they were being themselves. The idea that cars can apparently kill other cars is a bit strange, though this works into my idea that the cars secretly took over the Earth and just became sentient, disguising their act by acting as friendly as possible. The movie is good for younger audiences, at least, but it should strive better. We could get into the "animation shouldn't be just for kids" argument, but there are better movies to watch. The depth of the movie is lacking with regards to other Pixar movies, but maybe that was a part of the disappointment with me. Pixar is a pinnacle of great quality animated movies, before (Toy Story, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo) and after (Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, Inside Out) this movie. If you have younger relatives, they might like it. But only if there are no other options. None.
Overall, I give it 5 out of 10 stars.