So I finally got around to seeing Cars 2 in theater. I thought the first Cars film was a good movie, but in comparison to Pixar’s other works, it looks like complete shit haha. I wasn’t interested in a sequel to Cars, period. I felt like a movie such as The Incredibles deserved and warranted a sequel before Cars did. I saw Cars 2 as a cash grab from Disney who wanted to capitalize on the insane amount of bank they make off of Cars merchandise. They make a lot of money off merchandise with their other films, but Cars is a different story. They have Cars toys at major retailers around the country all year round, not just when the movie comes out. The critical consensus came in and I was shocked to see a Pixar movie FINALLY receive a negative rating on RottenTomatoes. I didn’t expect to like the movie, but it was sad to see Pixar’s winning streak snapped. So considering I was extremely apprehensive and almost disgusted at the idea of a Cars 2 sequel, what did I think?
I have to say that Cars 2 wasn’t a bad movie. It wasn’t great or anything, it wasn’t even really GOOD, but it was a decent time at the theater and better than most family orientated films these days. That being said, this is from the company that gave us such classics as the Toy Story franchise, Finding Nemo, and Wall-E, so the standard is quite different. I still certainly enjoyed Cars 2, a lot more than I expected to actually.
Let’s start off with the positives. I dug the casting of Michael Caine and Emily Mortimer as the British spy cars. I have a weakness for Emily Mortimer, who I just LOVE, so anytime I can hear her voice is a thumbs up for me. Michael Caine as a spy isn’t exactly new territory for him, but it’s basically perfect casting. The biggest laughs I got were from John Turturro as Francesco Bernoulli. Just some of the recurring remarks where he was essentially saying “WTF IS GOING ON!!??” was hilarious to me. Pixar has always had a knack for casting the perfect voice actor for the role instead of just trying to get the biggest names in Hollywood and “stunt cast” their films *cough*Dreamworks*cough*.
The action scenes were phenomenal! After that opening scene at the oil rigs, I thought to myself “fuck the critics! This movie is going to kick ass!” and then I saw the rest of it haha. But the action is so good throughout! If the movie was just moving from action set piece to action set piece with the British spies, I think this movie would have been INFINITELY BETTER. Instead, they throw in this half-baked storyline with Lightning McQueen and Mater because they have to tie this movie in with the first Cars movie. It would’ve been great if they just jettisoned the old characters and did their own thing with this movie. The whole theme of spies alone is something that I know Pixar could bring to it’s logical conclusion in the Cars world.
Okay, whoever came up with the idea to make Mater the main character of Cars 2 needs to be shot in the head and buried in a ditch. ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS!? Mater was barely tolerable in the original Cars film and he’s almost completely unbearable in the sequel, getting the most screen time of any of the characters. If Mater was fucking scrapped, literally torn to pieces, halfway through this movie, I would’ve stood up and applauded and cheered raucously.
The environmental themes are also just done so fucking poorly in Cars. In Wall-E, the themes of environmentalism were just great subtle details to the world building, in Cars 2 they actually make it a plot point and in the foreground. “Oil is bad! Let’s switch to all natural!” Could they be any more blunt about it?
This movie was also just unforgivably long. I think it clocks in at 107 minutes, but it feels longer because the pacing is just so sketchy. If they streamlined this film and kept it to 90 minutes and found a way to trim the fat, this movie would have benefited greatly. Once again, I think I’m just lamenting the fact that this could have been a bad ass secret spy action movie set in the Cars universe, but instead it gets bogged down in a storyline that is so trite and tired, not to mention done much better in other superior Pixar films.
I actually dug Cars 2 a lot more than I thought I would, but I still can’t recommend it. I expect a lot more from Pixar, period. If this movie was just super cool spy action scenes, this movie would have been so much better. I know I sound like a straight up GOON saying “we need more action!” but I really wish this movie cut out the McQueen/Mater bits which were really hampering the entire experience. Cars 2 was better than it thought it’d be, but still not that good.
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