Tow-truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) accompanies race car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) to a racing championship, only to get involved in a complex conspiracy to defeat the rise of a new alternative fuel. What happens next? Read the review of Cars 2 to find out more.
Business rating: 1.5/5 stars
Voice cast: Larry the Cable Guy, Owen Wilson, Michael Caine, John Turturro.
What’s Good: The quality of animation; the action sequences.
What’s Bad: The confused screenplay; the absence of light-hearted moments and emotions.
Verdict: Coming from the house of Pixar, Cars 2 disappoints.
Loo break: Several in the first half.
Watch or Not?: Recommended only if you are a Cars fan. But do not expect a lot.
Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures’ animation film, Cars 2, is the sequel of Cars (2006). While ‘Cars’ was based on racing car Lightning McQueen’s rise to fame, the sequel focuses on Mater, a stupid but kind-hearted tow truck, who is Lightning McQueen’s best friend.
After a busy racing season, Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson), one of the world’s foremost racing stars, comes back to the dusty town of Radiator Springs to meet his friend and his girlfriend. The simpleton Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) bumbles and cuts McQueen’s vacation short by announcing on live TV that McQueen will participate in the World Grand Prix, a racing event that McQueen had skipped to come down to Radiator Springs.
So, McQueen, Mater and McQueen’s crew travel to Tokyo where the first race of the World Grand Prix is being held. Miles Axlerod (voice of Eddie Izzard), the organiser of the Grand Prix, is promoting a new alternative fuel by means of the championship as all the race cars are running on the new fuel. But another group of cars, called Lemons (meaning outdated and flop car brands), want Miles’ plan to fail as they are against the fuel. For this, they have created a camera-shaped electromagnetic gun that can destroy cars running on the alternative fuel. International spies, Finn McMissile (voice of Michael Caine) and Holley Shiftwell (voice of Emily Mortimer), are tracking the electromagnetic gun and the Lemons’ secretive boss.
In a pre-race party at Tokyo, Mater embarrasses McQueen because of his unsophisticated ways. Mater is asked to leave the party. At this point, he meets the spy, McMissile, who takes Mater to be the American spy he (McMissile) was looking for. Mater tries to tell the spies that he is just a simple tow truck but the spies take that to be Mater’s disguise. Mater and McQueen’s friendship suffers another jolt when McQueen loses the Tokyo race to his arch-rival, Francesco Bernoulli (voice of John Turturro), because of a goof-up by Mater. Mater leaves McQueen’s camp and joins the spies in their investigation. He even proves helpful because of his knowledge of the Lemons since he is a towing truck.
McQueen continues on his Grand Prix tour, winning the second race and the third too. In both these races, a few cars are targeted by the electromagnetic gun and explode. The safety of Miles’ alternative fuel, therefore, comes under scrutiny as others do not know that the explosions are due to the electromagnetic gun.
During the third and last race, the spies and Mater attempt to foil the Lemons’ plans, but they are captured. Also, McQueen’s life is at stake. Can Mater save McQueen? Do the friends reconcile? Who is the Lemons’ boss? What happens to the plans of the alternative fuel? The rest of the film answers these questions.
Cars 2 Review – Script Analysis
If ‘Cars’ was Pixar’s least-liked film, ‘Cars 2’ sets the bar even lower. As the focus of the story (John Lasseter, Brad Lewis and Dan Fogelman) is on Mater, the simpleton, comedy should have been an integral part. But apart from a few funny dialogues, there is hardly anything that elicits laughter from the viewers. The screenplay (Ben Queen) is like that of a spy movie and will appeal to adults more than the children whereas the film has a basic plot line that holds interest for children. However, the over-personification of all the characters (cars) will put the adult viewers off. The well-executed chase sequences (of which there are many) and three races will appeal to the children. But they will not understand or appreciate the story’s backdrop (alternative fuel versus big oil). On the whole, the screenplay entertains in parts but fails as a whole. The lack of funny dialogues and situations is the biggest flaw. Having said that, it must be added that a section of the audience, which is not too discerning, will enjoy the parts where Mater musters up courage to foil the villains’ devious plans and also the well-written confrontation scenes between McQueen and Francesco Bernoulli. The quality of animation is good although the colours seem rather dull in the 3D version because of the dark 3D glasses.
Cars 2 – Trailer
Cars 2 Review – Voice Cast & Direction
As far as the voice acting is concerned, John Turturro is the pick of the lot. He brings to life Francesco Bernoulli, the naughty Italian racing car. Daniel Lawrence Whitney a.k.a. Larry the Cable Guy (as Mater), Owen Wilson (as Lightning McQueen) and Michael Caine (as Finn McMissile) also do good jobs. Emily Mortimer (as Holley Shiftwell) and Eddie Izzard (as Miles Axlerod) support well.
Director John Lasseter and co-director Brad Lewis concentrate more on the action sequences in the film, giving the soul of the story a miss. Unlike other Pixar films (Toy Story series, Wall-E and Up), ‘Cars 2’ is devoid of emotional and heart-rending moments as well as a unique message. The directors’ focus on the plot of the story rather than on the emotional connect is to blame. Michael Giacchino’s background score is okay.
Cars 2 Review – Verdict
On the whole, ‘Cars 2’ entertains but only in parts. At the Indian box-office, the film will work with select audiences in a few city multiplexes only.