Director: John Lasseter
Stars: Owen Wilson, Michael Caine, Larry The Cable Guy
Reviewer: Lewis Filer
Pixar never fail to not disappoint with their easily accessible and absolutely brilliant films that cater for both children and adults. Adult orientated jokes that aren’t too edgy, amuse adults and fly right over little ears, while the slapstick on screen capers of the characters entertain the younger ones as they laugh their little heads off.
This, as well as the brilliantly varied stories that have featured across the entire catalogue of films and superb voice casting truly makes Pixar films the best in family entertainment.
This can be said about the sequel to 2006’s success that was Cars and the second Pixar film to gain a sequel. It’s been 5 years since the talking automobiles first outing and they return just as strong and just as entertaining as when we first met them.
The story kicks off with an opening very reminiscent of the start of a ‘James Bond’ movie. Thrilling, exciting and very different from other Pixar films, we see new character Finn McMissile, a British spy, voiced by screen legend Michael Caine (Alfie, The Italian Job, Educating Rita) infiltrate an oil rig on a secret mission to get photos of a secret weapon constructed by evil Professor Zundapp, voiced by Thomas Kretschmann (24, King Kong)
With car chases, gadgets and explosions, “Cars 2” succeeds in grabbing the audience’s attention and sets them up for the fuel-injected action that awaits.
Meanwhile, in Radiator Springs, four time Piston Cup winner Lightning McQueen voiced again by Owen Wilson (Cars, Wedding Crashers, Marley And Me) has returned home for a much needed break after months of racing.
Happy to have his best friend back home, Mater, voiced by comedian; Larry The Cable Guy (Cars) begins to pester Mcqueen to spend all their time together, which leads to Mater accidentally entering Mcqueen into the World Grand Prix sponsored by celebrity car, Miles Axelrod who is given a voice by British comedian Eddie Izzard. Mcqueen gladly accepts the challenge after being taunted by Italian Formula 1 car Francesco Bernoulli, voiced by John Turturro (Transformers, Secret Window, O Brother Where Art Thou?)
From this point on, “Cars” main character; Lightening Mcqueen takes the back seat on this outing and gives way for the real star of the show, in the form of Mater who is mistaken for a top secret agent by British agents Finn McMissile (Caine) and Holley Shiftwell, voiced by Emily Mortimer (Scream 3, Harry Brown, Elizabeth)
The secret agent antics that follow, take place all across the globe, from Tokyo to Italy, to Paris and then climaxing in London in this high-octane spy outing.
With its themes of friendship, danger and acceptance, Cars 2 hits the right subjects to make it a great film that lets the audience care for the characters, particularly the completely brilliant and loveable Mater, who was always the star of the show even in the first movie.
The first thing that anyone will notice about Cars 2, is the superb attention to detail that each and every major city has been given, particularly London. All landmarks are present, both major and minor. Beautifully recreated with a hint of the ‘Cars’ universe thrown in (the aeroplane pigeons in Paris were my particular highlight), the cities are truly a gorgeous sight to behold and at times you forget that it’s all cgi.
The story portrayed by director John Lasseter (Toy Story 3, A Bugs Life, Ponyo) co-director Brad Lewis and scripted by Ben Queen, isn’t anything special but does have its charm on occasion. It seems that the sequel is more reliant on the non-stop action that is present during pretty much the entire film. This isn’t a bad thing as the action is very exciting, but it does seem like making an action movie is the director’s main agenda.
The cast, mainly new are to be frank, brilliant. Michael Caine who is always outstanding in anything he does gives a great performance as McMissile, and his on screen agent partner voiced by Emily Mortimer gives the “bond-girl” performance to her character Holly Shiftwell. It seems like a risk to not include Owen Wilson’s character McQueen so prominently in the sequel but it pays off and once again, Larry the Cable Guy delivers the charm and naivety of Mater beautifully. Cameos also include Lewis Hamilton playing himself as a car, The Queen as a car and in very brief scenes, the cast of the first movie.
The music scored by Michael Giacchino (Cloverfield, Star Trek, The Incredibles) is a great accompaniment to the on screen action and helps the story flow from the action sequences to the less in your face scenes such as McQueen and Mater’s on the edge friendship. The different cities each with their own themes are a particular highlight of the soundtrack along with some of the “artist” music used throughout, featuring the likes of “Weezer” and “Robbie Williams”
Not as brilliant as the cars first outing, but Pixar succeed once again in giving us another great summer movie for the entire family to enjoy after last years outstanding success; “Toy Story 3”
With just enough fuel in its engine, Cars 2 delivers an enjoyable 2-hour ride for small kids and big kids alike, gaining it a well deserving 7 out of 10.
Also, the movie is preceded by the all new Toy Story short, “Hawaiian Vacation” At just 5 minutes long, it is a pleasantly charming visit to the toys that we grew up with and still love to this day and is definitely not to be missed!