Star race car Lightning McQueen and his pal Mater head overseas to compete in the World Grand Prix race. But the road to the championship becomes rocky as Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage.
Spoiled by their upbringing and unaware of what wildlife really is, four animals from the New York Central Zoo escape, unwittingly assisted by four absconding penguins, and find themselves in Madagascar.
Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent - Madagascar style.
The Dragon Warrior has to clash against the savage Tai Lung as China's fate hangs in the balance: However, the Dragon Warrior mantle is supposedly mistaken to be bestowed upon an obese panda who is a tyro in martial arts.
When Gru, the world's most super-bad turned super-dad has been recruited by a team of officials to stop lethal muscle and a host of Gru's own, He has to fight back with new gadgetry, cars, and more minion madness.
The famous race car Lightning McQueen and his team are invited to compete in the World Grand Prix race. There, McQueen's best friend Mater, finds himself involved in international espionage, and alongside two professional British spies, attempts to uncover a secret plan led by a mysterious mastermind and his criminal gang, which threatens the lives of all competitors in the tournament. Written by
The first Pixar film not to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Film since the award was created in 2001. See more »
When the race tracks are shown for the Japanese, Italian and British races, the Union Jack is shown with all the white lines being the same width. In fact the red diagonal cross is offset, so that on each diagonal, the white lines each side of the red are different widths. See more »
[speaking into a video recorder]
This is agent Leeland Turbo. I have a flash transmission for agent Finn McMissile. Finn, my cover's been compromised. Everything's gone pear-shaped. You won't believe what I've found out here. This is bigger than anything we've ever seen. And no one even knows it exists. Finn, I need backup. But don't call the cavalry, it could blow the operation. And be careful! It's not safe out here!
[sees something offscreen, gets alarmed]
Transmitting my coords ...
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In the beginning of the credits, the story of Mater and Lightning's trip around the world is told through pastel-like, mildly animated postcard pictures. See more »
16 years ago, Pixar Animation Studios released the first feature length computer animated film in history, Toy Story. What followed was an incredible run of success, an 11 film hot streak that yielded dozens of awards (including 11 Oscars), billions of dollars in box office receipts, and the admiration of audiences and critics everywhere. Year after year Pixar was a company you could rely on, and while not all the films were perfect, they all were at least of decent quality, and light years ahead of their competition from the likes of Dreamworks and Sony. So therefore it's heart-breaking to say that Pixar's hot streak has come to a crashing halt in 2011. Cars 2 is not just the weakest film in Pixar's catalogue, it is the worst high-profile animated release for some time.
If there is one Pixar film that divides opinion much more than any other, it is 2006's Cars. While by no means a bad film, it just didn't hit in the same way as films like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, or The Incredibles. It did middling numbers at the box office (by Pixar standards) and currently sits with a 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the only film from the studio below 90%. For director John Lasseter (also head of Pixar), Cars is obviously a very personal film, a nostalgic story about the loss small-town American values in the face of increased modernity. If it's not a complete success, credit must be given to Lasseter for at least trying to say something meaningful, and in typical Pixar fashion the film stands out in the increasingly crowded computer animation film market for at least attempting thematic depth, and it's ability to reach audiences both young and old. Cars 2 on the other hand is completely devoid of depth and subtlety, and will more than likely annoy adults while at times being arguably inappropriate for children. Returning director Lasseter takes the worst character from the first film (in my opinion the biggest reason for Cars' failure), and structures the whole story around his infuriating exploits. Imagine George Lucas, upon seeing the negative feedback following The Phantom Menace, making all of Episode 2 about Jar-Jar Binks. That's the kind of thing we're left with in Cars 2. Compounding the story problems is the troubling amount of guns and violence in the film. To make the argument that 'it's OK because they're just cars' is inexcusable. This is still supposed to be a children's film, and while the espionage sub-plot does have potential, there are elements that seem shockingly unsuitable for young kids.
This brings up a question: why would Pixar choose to revisit the only film they have produced which could conceivably be called a failure? Lasseter is on record as saying that the company would only explore sequels to their films if a good story could be developed, and the level of quality of the two Toy Story sequels seems to back up this sentiment, but it's hard to believe that anyone would think the script of Cars 2 is worthy of that high standard. Interestingly, there is one other way that Cars stands apart from other Pixar films: the estimated $8 billion merchandising revenues. While all Pixar films have profited from merchandising, none have had the global appeal of Cars. It's upsetting to think that Pixar, a company who seemed previously to place greater importance on the quality of its films than the bottom line, have gone for the easy cash grab, but there really seems to be no other reason for the existence of Cars 2. Everything about the films seems designed to increase the potential for selling merchandise, whether it's the films global locations which pander to international audiences, or the increasingly ridiculous characters and set-pieces, tailor made to be toys and video games. It's a cynical opinion, one which I had hoped I'd never feel towards a Pixar film, but it is undeniably true: Cars 2 is a film created not as an artistic endeavour, but to feed ancillary markets.
Pixar's golden run had to end sometime, and one bad film is a small price to pay for 11 good, with two or three being genuine masterpieces. What is most unfortunate is the catastrophic level of Cars 2's failure, and Pixar will undoubtedly lose a lot of respect for making such a soulless film, unworthy of the studio's name.
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