To be clear, Cars 2 is not a bad movie. A lot of critics around the country may have given it a hard time, but only because Pixar has been spoiling them with masterpiece after masterpeice. Nobody can keep up that kind of output forever though, and Pixar is no exception.
Cars 2 picks up a little after the first one left off. Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), the first film’s protagonist, has become the premiere racecar in the world. His best friend, the folksy tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), is causing him some problems since Mater isn’t as “refined” as many of McQueen’s racing friends. When McQueen loses an important race in Tokyo because of Mater’s shenanigans, the tow truck decides to return home to Radiator Springs. However, before he can board a flight back to the States, Mater is mistaken for a CIA agent by Finn McMissile (Michael Caine), Britain’s foremost secret Car agent. Then Mater, McQueen, and all their friends become involved in a worldwide conspiracy that threatens not just the Grand Prix racers, but every Car that runs on gas.
As mentioned before, Cars 2 is not a bad movie. In fact, it has some strengths that make it imminently watchable, and certainly on par with every other kid’s movie this summer. The first of these strengths is Michael Caine as Finn McMissile. In a lot of ways, McMissile steals the show… his scenes tend to be far more interesting and exciting than any featuring McQueen or Mater. Somehow, despite that fact that he is an animated car, McMissile has no problem convincing us that he can stand toe-to-toe with the Bournes and Bonds of Hollywood. Another strength is John Turturro, who stars as McQueen’s conceited and highly entertaining Grand Prix rival, Francesco Bernoulli.
That said though, Cars 2 has a lot of problems that one does not expect to see in a Pixar movie. The first is that it’s just difficult to be become invested in the main characters. Mater is obnoxious, naïve, destructive, and just not the kind of person (or truck) that you could trust with anything valuable. McQueen isn’t so much of a protagonist in this movie (that role has been given to Mater, more or less) and contributes little to the story that isn’t plot-critical. Relationships with other characters, both new and from the first movie, are a bit forced. In general, it seems like more effort was put into making Cars 2 a way to sell merchandise, rather than just making a good movie.
As mentioned before, Cars 2 isn’t a bad movie at all. It’s just… not what we’ve come to expect from the Pixar masterpeice machine. If you want to show your kids a good time, they will love this movie, but it just lacks the kind of adult appeal that made movies like Up so universally loveable. But if you don’t set your expectations too high, it still makes for a good bit of light summer fun.
To find show times for this movie around Denver, visit google.com/movies
To buy tickets online for Denver shows, visit movietickets.com or fandango.com
If you have a local movie screening or other film event you like Robert to attend, you can contact him directly at [email protected]