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.
After Mater gets his best friend, star race car Lightning McQueen, a spot in the very first World Grand Prix, he is given the job of pit crew chief. But while they are in Japan, Mater crosses paths with Holly Shiftwell, a spy searching for an American spy. Unknown to Mater, the American spy attached a tracking device on him while being attacked. Thinking the tow truck is the spy, Holly and another spy, Finn McMissile, take Mater around the world to find and stop an evil plot created by "lemons," old cars considered ugly. Written by
Mr. Top Hat
Announcer Darrell Cartrip is a Chevy Monte Carlo, David Hobbscap is a 1963 E Type Jaguar, in British Racing Green and Brent Mustangburger is a 1964 Mustang coupe. See more »
Lightning McQueen calls Sir Miles Axlerod "Sir Axlerod" several times. The correct way to address him would be "Sir Miles"; a knight is addressed as "Sir" followed by his first name. 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 ...
[...] See more »
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 »
The best of Pixar's films have protagonists who are a small part of a very large world and are almost helpless against incredible odds - Toy Story, Wall-E, Finding Nemo etc. The protagonists of Cars are very big in a very small world, so do not play to the strengths of Pixar.
However, being Pixar, they still make these films better than anyone else would have with the same material. Cars and Cars 2 are intelligently written and filled with more detail than you could comfortably fit into a single screening.
This movie is not so much a sequel to the first as an affectionate James Bond parody that happens to be set in the Cars universe. Whereas the original Cars was thematically slow and patient, this one deliberately takes things in the exact opposite direction. Whether anyone will prefer the first film or the second is entirely their preference, and it is wrong to say that one is better than the other. Each film has its own appeals and drawbacks.
The main weakness of this film is a failure to create any kind of sympathy for the characters. They are not alone, they are not lost, they have friends and allies and the resources to get out of any situation. It never feels like there is any real danger, as there is with the Toy Story films. Whereas the first film had enough focus on character development to compensate for this, the subplot about the tested friendship between McQueen and Mater seems especially insubstantial here.
Nevertheless, I feel like this is an enjoyable installment in the franchise, never letting your attention wander and always ready with a clever idea. They have demonstrated that they are willing to go in entirely new directions with this world - maybe if they make a third film, they can make something truly worthy of the Pixar name?
If I were rating this in comparison to other Pixar films, my score would be lower... but scoring this as a film on its own, I think it is deserving of between five and seven stars.
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