This action packed sequel to the 2006 Pixar hit follows Lightning McQueen and his best friend Mater the Tow Truck on a world tour race. During the race Mater accidentally becomes involved in a spy case with Finn McMissile and Holly Shiftwell, British secret service spies. They are working to crack a case that involves the clean energy fuel that is sponsoring McQueen’s race.
Unlike other Pixar movies, Cars 2 has a clearly defined target audience, pre-teen kids. So unlike so many Pixar films of the past like Up that clearly have stories that adults as well as children will gravitate to, Cars 2 is built purely for fun (and to sell more toys). Sure there are some themes of friendship that are spread throughout the film, but make no mistake, this movie is about action and hi jinx in a PG way.
The animation is the best of the business as is usual with Pixar. The recreation of the destination cities (Japan, Italy and London) are spectacular. The amount of detail that went into the crowd sequences full of bustling cars is nothing short of astonishing. From a technical perspective Pixar has outdone themselves again.
The story lacks the emotion of the first Cars, or any other Pixar film for that matter. Instead Cars 2 packs in a lot of action, both in the form of racing and explosions. The pace is quick and if something isn’t racing or exploding, Mater fills the rest of the running time with his form of screwball comedy. This is a movie clearly about Mater the Tow Truck, and Lightning McQueen takes a backseat. Finn McMissile and Holly Shiftwell may have more screen time than Lightning McQueen this go around, which is a good thing. Finn McMissile is a cool car by any standard and is voiced perfectly by Michael Cain, and Holly Shiftwell is fun in her own right.
So while there is plenty of fun for the kids the movie as a whole comes across like a long TV episode. In addition the world of Cars has no rhyme or reason and with little thought one can punch major holes in set up of this world. For instance how do cars have parents? How do cars taste food, or why do they even eat if they still use fuel? Where did the humans go? Is this the light and fluffy version of the Terminator movies where the machine have taken over the world? Of course asking these questions is silly as again these movies are for the kids and just are not that deep.
So the last question is will the kids like the movie? Of course! Especially kids who are into Hot Wheels and machines. If your child was a fan of the first I think they will even like this film better. The cars are cooler, it’s more action packed, and the kids seem to like Mater the best as well. So while comparing Cars 2 to most of the Pixar catalog it doesn’t measure up, but it succeeds at what it set out to do: make a great film for kids.
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Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.
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