The Magical World Of Disney #79: Cars 2

Cars 2 Poster.jpg

Cars 2 is a 2011 American computer-animated action comedy spy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The film is the sequel to the 2006 film Cars and features the voices of Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, John Turturro, and Eddie Izzard. In the film, race car Lightning McQueen and tow truck Mater head to Japan and Europe to compete in the World Grand Prix, but Mater becomes sidetracked with international espionage. The film is directed by John Lasseter, co-directed by Brad Lewis, written by Ben Queen, and produced by Denise Ream.

Cars 2 was released in the United States on June 24, 2011. The film was presented in Disney Digital 3D and IMAX 3D, as well as traditional two-dimensional and IMAX formats. The film was first announced in 2008, alongside Up, Newt, and Brave, and it is the 12th animated film from the studio. It grossed $562 million worldwide. A sequel, Cars 3, is scheduled for release on June 16, 2017.

In the sequel to the 2006 original, race car Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) and tow truck Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy) head to Japan and Europe to compete in the World Grand Prix, but Mater becomes sidetracked with international spies Finn McMissile (voiced by Michael Caine) and Holly Shiftwell (voiced by Emily Mortimer).

A lot of people really hate the original Cars and I can’t really understand why. Sure, it’s the weakest of the Pixar animated films but it’s not god awful. It’s the only decent Larry The Cable Guy performance I’ve ever seen and it’s an overall fun animated film.

Cars 2 is on that same level, after three back-to-back classics with Wall-E, Up, & Toy Story 3, Pixar has made a mostly mediocre movie. It lacks the same wit and charm that we’ve come to expect from Pixar films but at the same time, it is by no means, a complete mess.

The animation, as always, is very nice, the comedy is pretty good, and Pixar does a good job riffing on the spy movie genre. Even the newest characters they add to the film, McMissle and Shiftwell, they were a lot of fun to watch.

I think the biggest problem with Cars 2 is the fact that it doesn’t have that Pixar charm that the last three movies they’ve put out had that made those movies great and future classics. There’s no memorable characters in the film. Like 20 years from now, we are going to remember Woody and Buzz Lightyear, we are going to remember Carl Frederickson, Russell, and Dug the Dog, and we are most definitely going to remember Wall-E and EVE. The Cars movies don’t have that charm.

Now, I’m going to pull out a conspiracy theory on this movie. I really don’t believe Pixar wanted to make a Cars sequel this quick. Anybody who has ever read an interview with John Lasseter knows that he has said that they wouldn’t do sequels to their movies unless they have a good story.

I really believe that Disney told them to make a sequel because Cars is supposedly sells more merchandising than the Toy Story films, which I find that hard to believe especially now with Toy Story 3 being released in the last year.

But again, that’s just my theory about how this movie got made.

Despite my theories, I still like Cars 2. It does not rank up there with any of the Pixar films that have been made in the last three years but it should not be considered by any means, a disaster for Pixar. The animation is very nice, the comedy works well, and the riffing on the spy movie genre is also well done. The biggest problem is that it doesn’t have a compelling story or that Pixar charm I mentioned.

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