The latest Disney/Pixar film isn’t one I’ve really looked forward to, if I’m honest, Cars is probably my least favourite Pixar film ever made. So what’s Cars 2 got that’ll get you interested? Well if the first Cars was Doc Hollywood, this is The Man With One Red Shoe or The Man Who Knew Too Little. A Spy Thriller with someone who’s not a spy in the middle of it.
After winning the latest race season Lightening McQueen is back in Radiator Springs and his Best Friend Tow Mater is excited to see him. So excited he crashes a date between McQueen and Sally and mid-date he sees an F1 car called Francesco bragging on the TV about being the fastest car in the world and phones in to put him in his place and inadvertently gets McQueen pulled in to the World Grand Prix, a new race to prove Allinol, a new environmentally friendly petrol substitute, is viable and safe.
So off they go on the World Grand Prix, with Mater along as part of the pit team. McQueen warns Mater that this isn’t Radiator Springs and he should try to smarten himself up a bit and after embarrassing himself and McQueen, by leaking oil in front of everyone, he rushes off to the toilets to clean himself up, only to be caught in a confrontation between an American Spy and 2 thugs, and before he can be beaten the American spy plants the information on Mater as he leave the bathroom, only to run in to a British spy, who believes he’s the American spy holding his cover, and she arranges to meet him the next day. Mater goes off believing he’s got a date.
The next day at the race track the spies spot Mater in the pits and a load of thugs approaching him, breaking in on his radio headset they tell him to run, believing this is part of the date Mater shouts over the headset and distracts McQueen at a critical point in the race and loses. For this he shouts at Mater and tells him to leave and go back home. Meanwhile the British spies, still believing Mater to be undercover recruit him and take him along on their mission around the world.
So what we have here is a family film, mostly aimed at the kids, playing on the plots of spy films, and other comedy films that also played with spy film conventions. So there are many things here that I don’t believe kids will get. But there’s also plenty of cars racing, and chasing, explosions and bright colours that will probably keep most entertained anyway. There’s funny bits that work, and the obligatory touching moments. Generally I’d say it’s a fair film, it has fun moments, but overall it seems less like the Pixar we all know and love. It feels more a cash in on the popularity of Cars or a film done because the makers enjoyed it rather than for the audiences. But I had that feeling with the original Cars, too.
The animation is good, some really top notch work has been done on the cities that the races take place in, and while the 3D didn’t detract in the way I’ve thought it has in a lot of other films recently, it really added nothing either, it really didn’t pop out at you like most animated films do. So take or leave the 3D option here.
I will say I enjoyed Cars 2 more than I remember liking the first, may just be because I enjoyed the action/spy plot more than the Racing/Not Racing plot of the first. I have no doubt it will be enjoyed by many children and adults alike but it’s far from Pixar’s best, but on it’s own merits, rather than compared to other Pixar films, I’d say it’s a fairly good and enjoyable film.