Monday at the Movies – Cars 2 Review

When I first heard that Pixar were going to be making a sequel to Cars I had one of those internal cringe moments. I mean their last movie was a sequel (Toy Story 3) was it really wise to back it up with another? Surely Pixar (one of my fav production studios) were not going to succumb to the ‘Sequel-Cash-Cow’. Then when I learned that their 2013 release was going to be a sequel to Monsters Inc (currently titled Monsters University) I almost cried.

Just because I had reservations about the film didn’t mean I wasn’t going to go and see it – of course I was, at the first available opportunity, which just so happened to be yesterday.

Okay, so first a basic run down of the film.

In Cars 2 we find Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) heading back to Radiator Springs to spend time with his best friend Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) having just won his 4th Piston Cup. Lightning decides to participate in the inaugural World Grand Prix – heading off to Japan with Mater and his Racing Team in tow (pun not intended). When Mater is mistaken for an American spy by members of the British Intelligence Agency – Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) and Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) the insuing drama is undoubtly hilarious. Mater and his spy friends must determine who is responsible for attacks on the cars participating in the Grand Prix before Lightning meets his demise.

So was the film great or was it just a cash in? Well I think I need to split that question into two separate questions.

The first is did my kids (2.5 and 4.5) like the movie? I think the best way to work out if kids like a movie is not to ask them straight out (they always say yes) but rather to use what I call the ‘wriggle-factor’. When my kids are really absorbed in a film their butts stick to the seat and they don’t move. They don’t ask me every two minutes for more food. And they don’t find it neccessary to sit on my lap and have a conversation. Unfortunately all these things happened in this movie. The problem, in my humble opinion, is that while it was exciting and colourful and fun it was just too confusing for them. All of the jokes my husband and I laughed at the most went completely over their heads and they were left asking me if I had any lollies left. Older kids might well be more engaged.

Secondly, did I like the film? YES, YES and YES. As you may have worked out (given that pixar films have now starred on my blog two weeks in a row) I am a bit of a Pixar fan. And I can promise you that any Pixar fan will love this movie. First of all it has the best computer graphics of any movie I have ever seen – while the cars themselves still maintain their cartoonish appearance the backgrounds could almost be real (except for the fact that all the famous landmarks have been modified slightly to incorporate car-based statues – I am sure this will provide loads of entertainment for things not noticed on a first viewing at the cinema). The movie was funny, yes Mater can at times be a bit painful (which seems to be the most common complaint from other reviews) but I think Lightning McQueen is painful too and was quite glad he wasn’t the main protag in this film. The only thing you need to remember is that it is ultimately a kids movie so if you are expecting something other than the obvious moral ending – go and see something else!

So my favourite moments (don’t worry I won’t give too much away). There was a lovely moment where the cars mourn the passing of Doc Hudson, which I can only assume was meant in homage to the passing of Paul Newman who voiced Doc Hudson in the original movie – a touching inclusion in the film. There were the inevitable references to previous Pixar films my favourite of which was the existence of ‘Gastow’s Restaurant’ in Paris (no that’s not a typo by me either, it’s a joke – get it?) There were plenty of amazing new characters including the very cool Professor Z (as a scientist myself I always have a soft-spot for the mad-scientist) and the Italian F1 car Francesco Bernoulli (voiced by the very funny John Turturro). And far too many laughs to count.

So personally, I give this 4 stars out of 5. I liked it, my husband liked it. I would like to go and see it again without the kids distracting me – but I am sure there will be plenty more viewings once it comes out on DVD.

Also as a side note the short movie that preceeded Cars2 was Toy Story Hawaiian Vacation and it was awesome. Correct me if I am wrong but I think this is the first of the pixar shorts (the ones before the cinema releases not the ones included on the DVDs) to include dialogue and at first I was a bit dissapointed – I love seeing how the Pixar masters manage to get so much across without the use of speech. But the short was so funny that it made up for it (I mean come on it stars Ken how can it not be funny!)

Have you seen Cars2? Are you planning on seeing it? Do you agree with my review? Was their anything you loved/hated about the film? Don’t forget to leave me a comment.

Jody Moller

(The Exasperated Novelist)

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