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Review: Cars 2

CARS 2

reviewer Dexter Kong
Rated: U(UK)
Release Date: July 22nd, 2011(UK)
DirectorJohn LasseterBrad Lewis
CastOwen WilsonLarry the Cable Guy , Michael Caine

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Of all the Pixar films that needed a sequel, Cars 2 was not one that people were hoping for, yet John Lasseter decided to make one anyway. You would think there’d be a reason as to why they were making a sequel, have they cracked the formula?

The original Cars was a tale of middle America’s fight with commercialisation and retaining one’s identity amidst a modernising world. It was by no means a bad film, but just came up weak in comparison to the hit after hit that Pixar seem to produce.

Cars 2 involves race car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his trusty band of compadrés; he is challenged to compete in the World Grand Prix race, hosted by Sir Miles (Eddie Izzard), who is essentially an appropriation of Richard Branson. Over a series of races there are obstacles thrown in McQueen’s way, mostly of his pal Mater (voiced by Larry “the Cable Guy”),  who gets caught up in some international espionage of the James Bond variety, in a case of mistaken identity. I imagine the idea of doing a spy film with cars must of seemed like gold on paper.

Cars 2 essentially throws away any emotional core or values of the previous film, whilst putting emphasis on a secondary character, in the incredibly annoying Mater.

The main character of the previous film, Lighting McQueen (the red car at the front of every poster!) is actually just a bit part compared to the character of Mater. I find that although Mater is supposed to possess some endearing qualities, this fails to deliver and his character comes across as stupid for stupid sake. Therefore, the underlying tale of friendship here is rather lost as there is never really any undue treatment towards Mater.

Where as Toy Story, Wall-E, Ratatouille..etc have all had an original angle upon which the world is viewed and we are transported to the perspective of the characters as they are juxtaposed against humanity. There isn’t really much in terms of affinity with the characters of Cars 2 and the act of them being cars is really not put to any purpose, as the world we view is distorted: an odd meta place where everything is tailored for these talking automobiles, except only other vehicles can kind of talk. Essentially you could take the quality of being a car out of the equation entirely and still end up with the same film. In this sense Cars 2 lacks the defining attribute of a great Pixar film.

Visually this film is a feast for the eyes, with some spectacular action sequences (especially the opening chase sequence, with Pixar flexing it’s Animation muscle) and incredibly detailed environments in the almost photorealistic London.

The outcome of this plot though is an ultimately forgettable one and unfortunately for Pixar, I predict that this will possibly be another year that they don’t win an Oscar for best animated film, as with the first Cars.

Rating 2/5

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