The world of Cars 2 does not make any sense. It is a world where the only living things seem to be talking vehicles. Yet, there are things that couldn’t possibly have been created by them. There are buildings, tables, electronics, and pretty much everything else that exists in the human world. It’s just not believable that any kind of vehicle could have made these things. All this is without even wondering why, for example, the cars are drinking, and what could possibly be in those drinks? Where does the drink go in the body of a car? How exactly do they pick up a glass with a tire? See, nothing in the world of Cars 2 makes any sense.
The strange thing here, is that the original Cars film took place in the same world and yet these kind of questions never came to mind when watching the film. The talking cars in the original film seemed right in place in the world of the first film, but here something just isn’t right. Maybe it’s that the story this time around isn’t as good or the cast isn’t as great so there is less to distract from the completely absurd concept of the film. Whatever it is that is different this time, it makes the sequel much harder to watch than the great and easy to watch original.
Most of the cast is back for the sequel although two great members have passed on since the making of the first film and the second. The lack of presence from these two actors, Paul Newman and George Carlin, is definitely felt in the film. Obviously, they couldn’t have been in the movie, but their absence is still felt. New cast members include the great Michael Caine in a perfect role for him as a British spy named Finn McMissile. Emily Mortimer also fits perfectly into her role as the awesomely named other British spy, Holley Shiftwell. Cult favorite Bruce Campbell also makes an appearance here as an American spy and he is great in his small role. It would be nice to see him back in future Pixar films.
Basically, the plot of this sequel is that best friends Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater travel around the world going to various races where Lightning McQueen faces off against Francesco Bernoulli played by John Turturro. While at one of the races, Mater accidently gets himself involved in some spy business and must join up with Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell on various action packed adventures. There’s a good amount of thrilling races and spy action throughout the movie and all of it is animated incredibly well. Pixar has always had the highest quality of 3D animation and this film does not disappoint in that regard.
In fact, if it weren’t for the complete nonsense of the world of Cars 2, the film would be perfectly enjoyable. It is not a great movie, but it is a good one. There is lots of action and some good jokes and a decent overall message. It’s just not as funny or emotional as some other Pixar films. Plus, it’s just so hard not to question all the little aspects of the world filled only with talking cars and how exactly it works.
In the end, Cars 2 is a mixed bag. It’s definitely not Pixar’s best, but it may not be their worst either. It’s merely good enough which for Pixar really isn’t good enough. Cars 2 is a disappointment, but one that will put a smile on your face, if only briefly.
Cars 2 is playing in 2D and 3D at the Entertainment Cinema (reviewed here) and in 3D only at the AMC Theater (reviewed here), both right in Cambridge! This reviewer saw Cars 2 at the AMC Theater. The projection and sound were both fine although the 3D really is unnecessary. Though it does look better in 3D than most other 3D releases as most animated films often do. There’s an awful preview, however, for the Lion King in 3D which looks so bad and is so unnecessary that it is just painful to watch. Luckily, there’s also a fun short film with the characters of Toy Story that makes up for this. See the film in Cambridge or check movie listings for whatever theater is most convenient for you.