Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2013
One of the increasingly annual summer treats is a usually delightful trip into an imaginary world dreamt by Disney's Pixar Animation Sudios. Last year's entry, Toy Story 3, was one of two Disney films that grossed over $2 billion (the other being Alice in Wonderland). This year's Cars 2, while not quite the blockbuster that was the previous year, is currently the reigning box office champion and will surely gross more than its rivals.
Cars 2 is a much darker movie than the first which is quite clear from the beginning. The audience is quickly thrown into the world of Cars espionage with Finn McMissile, voiced by the always great Michael Caine discovering a villainous plot on an oil platform in the middle of the ocean. While this is the catalyst for the entire film, the gravity of the situation never resonates with an audience. The choice to use personified trains, planes, and automobiles makes the otherwise very violent events appear to be not so gruesome.
2006's Cars arguably stared the young and naïve racecar Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) but this story is clearly that of the rusty, dumb witted tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). Their story starts back at Radiator Springs (a once dilapidated relic of Route 66 since restored to former glory by becoming the home of Piston Cup champion McQueen) as McQueen returns home to begin summer adventures with Mater. Soon Mater lands McQueen in the World Grand Prix, the first ever race of its kind.
The race or more its purpose is the most bothersome part of the film. A billionaire car, Sir Miles Axlerod (Eddie Izzard), who happens to be an SUV turned green car, creates a new type of renewable fuel that will replace gasoline. All contestants in his race must utilize this fuel. Of course the villains on the oil platform at the beginning of the film are set against this from happening. However, the problem is not that the film decided to take a political issue at hand (as they clearly did in 2008's Wall-E); it is that they wavered on the topic. It is hard to believe that children, or even most adults, will be able to follow the ecological conflict that moves the plot.
Overall the film is a fun, thoughtless adventure about friendship with a little bit of politics thrown in. Thankfully the almost ceaseless action prevents the audience from dissecting the flaws until the lights come up. The struggle will be reduced by most to the "good" and the "bad." Or even the "haves" and the "have nots," as the villains are humorously "lemons."
It is not so much that Cars 2 is a bad movie it is just that Pixar set the bar so high with Toy Story 3 that almost any movie would fall short. To be honest, it was surprising that the Cars gang even got a second look and would be even more so if they got a third. Perhaps now with the bar so low next year's entry Brave will have an easier task of impressing its audience.
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