Cars 2 (2011) Poster

(2011)

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3/10
Such a disappointment
markdroulston22 June 2011
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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7/10
A Great Summer Film, that the whole family can enjoy
Grey Gardens11 June 2011
We all know that Pixar makes incredible movies, I personally have never disliked a Pixar film. The first "Cars" film, was a great movie, not a perfect film. It was one of the least better films, Pixar has made, but that's like saying, Insomnia was one of Christopher Nolan's worst films. I had high expectations when coming to see the film, like I always have before I see a Pixar film.

After my viewing of the film, I have to say Pixar never fails to produce a great, entertaining film. Although it doesn't reach the heights of Wall-E, Toy Story 3, etc. It still stands by itself pretty high up there. The animation is extremely well done, the look of the film is amazing. The voice actors are great, I miss Paul Newman though. Although the film is not perfect. The movie is not perfect though, the story is not great, but not bad, the movie does not have the emotional as other Pixar films, but it is definitely not a heartless film. But the film is definitely entertaining and a great beginning to 2011 Summer movie season. Take your whole family to see this movie, it will probably not disappoint. It will not only satisfy kids, but also the adults, this film is for everyone. Fun for kids, but the adults can also connect with it and will have a great time watching this movie in theaters. It is quite an adventure and I will be glad to give it a second viewing.
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5/10
How the Mighty have Fallen
ARTaylor24 June 2011
We hoped it would never happen, but no one is perfect. Even the best can stumble. This had to happen eventually. Even the string of terrific Disney's classic films and the 90s Disney Renaissance didn't last forever. I'm afraid that, yes, Pixar has made a bad film.

Cars 1 was their least ambitious film. The story was predictable and character development obvious making it their most mediocre film. It was good but it lacked that little extra touch that made their films great. However, they had some great side characters, a heart, and wonderful scenes that elevated it up beyond most other films. But ever since this film's announcement I always wondered why. McQueen had his story and there's not much else to tell. Like Finding Nemo, where else is there to go? And I'd rather see sequels to better movies like The Incredibles, even Bug's Life seems to have more potential. It's easy to see why they made a sequel to it, since all you need to do is go to Disneyland or any Disney Store and see it covered in McQueen and Mater, which happened to be two my of three year-old cousin's first words. Off all the Pixar films, Cars made the most with the merchandise.

The biggest problem is the story. Cars 1, while predictable, was touching. Cars 2 has almost no heart or character development. The focus shifts from McQueen to Mater. McQueen had his story in the first and there's little to tell here. He has one character moment that's essentially the same realization as the first film's. The problem with Mater is that he's such a simple character. Everything about him is on the surface for all to see. He's the same person throughout the movie, with one predictable realization which goes no where, that he doesn't warrant his own film. He's like Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove. They're both terrific side characters but lack enough complexity for a full story. And Larry the Cable Guy has always been better with the other Blue Collar guys rather than on his own.

While Cars 1's highlight was its side characters, this movie almost abandons them. They do nothing. McMissile is a moving plot device and little more. Shiftwell is supposed to be a love interest but lacks any interesting moments. The rest of Radiator Springs basically sit back while McQueen and Mater have all the fun. Their stories and character are pushed aside so Larry can have fun being Mater. Because of this, there are almost no funny little side scenes where characters just have fun being themselves. Instead, most of the humor is derived from seeing Mater do silly things.

The look is impressive but not more than anything else Pixar's done. With each movie, the studio has pushed the graphics into new levels. Each movie has had some wow moment where audiences can't help but be amazed by what they're seeing. There were times in Cars 1 when it looked almost real. Cars 2 lacks any wow factor. One of the most impressive sets, Tokyo, were already spoiled by the Tokyo Mater short. This more than anything makes me wonder if Pixar was even trying to up the ante or if they were just using what they had to make a movie a year.

Spies and Cars seems to work well together. After all, any Bond or Bourne film will easily demonstrate why the two go together. Indeed, the opening scene on the drilling platform is easily the best with the fast chase and cool gadgets. But they weren't able to properly combine the racing and spy elements, almost as if you're watching two movies at once. There's too much spy stuff for the racing to be interesting, which becomes pointless against the overpowering and overly clichéd spy story. Perhaps Pixar should have set it as simply a spy movie set in the Cars universe and had McQueen and his friends in cameos or as a background story.

Another lousy spot is the music. Cars 1 had a terrific soundtrack with excellent uses of popular songs like Life is a Highway and Route 66. But there's not one memorable song or music cue in this movie. Giacchino usually does terrific work like with The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up. But he too fumbles the ball here. Perhaps he was just uninspired by what he had to work with.

Cars is Lasseter's pet project. But I think he's too close to it. He's got that Lucas Star Wars prequel trilogy problem. The people around him either were in awe of the man who made Pixar and Toy Story or they were afraid to hurt his feelings since he loves the Cars franchise so much. Pixar efforts have been so well done because they were collaborative efforts, each fixing each other's problems to make a better project. But with Lasseter off working more directly with Disney, he really should have had a co-director or perhaps given the reins to someone else like he did with Toy Story 3.

I almost rated this movie higher. It is fun while you're watching it, even if as soon as it's over it becomes too easy to pick apart the problems. But this is Pixar. They've dominated the animation market since Toy Story and have been pushing the boundaries at the Academy Awards ever since. To see them stumble with a not-so-great film would be one thing. But they're coming off from two Best Picture nominees to a movie that's simply flashy but with little substance. Kids will love the bright colors and silly antics, but parents will hate having to then buy twelve new Mater toys. Cars 2 is stalled and in need of a tune-up.
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7/10
Something's Missing
TourettesPersonal27 August 2011
The saddest thing about Pixar today is, they don't know what movie they are going to release on their 25th Anniversary since one of their upcoming projects "Newt" was cancelled despite from Blue Sky's Rio plot. Cars 2 feels like it's a direct-to-DVD film. It's not really bad but it's just unnecessary. Though, the action is pretty cool. The kids will enjoy it but the rest is like Rango. Instead of Western Themes, it's Spy movies. The story isn't bad except it doesn't give anything emotional and heartwarming unlike the other Pixar movies. Cars 2 is pretty fun but the most important ingredient of their movies is missing.

Firstly, the lead of the film is Mater. The theme of the film is Espionage but it's just some sort of an animated version of a particular spy movie. Everything moves here. There are too many action that any kid can enjoy but the story is probably too interesting for grown ups. If the movie gets focused to the plot, the kids might get bored. The missing Pixar element here is the heartwarming moments. The movie still has a heart but it fails to be compelling. Don't worry about the humor, that is one thing they will never fail. Some of the writing seems rushed.

The voices do what they do best. John Lasseter knows what to do in this movie. The animation is obviously pretty good. The score is a bit generic that you may hear in any movie or television show. The action keeps everything moving. Watching the car fighting scenes is like watching a kid playing his little toy cars and let them do something fun. Which is pretty impressive.

In Pixar, the craftsmanship or the animation doesn't quite matter. It's all about the compelling story and the emotional heartwarming moments. It's hard to say Cars 2 is bad film. Pixar still knows how to make a good movie but without their important elements, it's like you're watching a movie from a different studio. Once again, it's pretty fun but if you expect a lot of Pixar magic then you might get disappointed.
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6/10
Not what my kids and I expected...
atrpunk24 June 2011
Espionage, assassinations, sabotage of renewable energy, propaganda, corporate cover-ups, media manipulation and The Mob...

James Bond? Nope. Jason Bourne? Nope.

Disney/Pixar's CARS 2. Wow. This movie wasn't at all what I was expecting. In the second serving of Lightning McQueen and his pals, they take their show to the international stage in a world championship race-off sponsored by oil-alternative manufacturer, Allinol. But turmoil behind the scenes pulls the gang into a world of spies, the Mob, Big Oil, evil German scientists and hit men. Now they have to save the world before it's too late. Oh, and they race too. The animation is amazing. Water, large balloons, backgrounds during races...pay attention because the quality of the graphics in this one are world-class. There are some goofy, funny moments and some nice one- liners for the older crowd. The themes of being true to yourself and bonds of friendship run strong throughout this film but it's the remainder of the message that worried me. There were non-stop put downs throughout and some other questionable topics. I was beginning to question the G rating when the villain ordered his henchmen to "kill" several other cars. Thinking back to the innocence and the good spirit of the first movie, I began to wonder how we got from there to here. Adventures in racing take a back-seat to the more mature plot of an espionage thriller. Looking around the theater, I could tell that kids younger than 4 or 5 were beginning to get lost. Even my ten-year-old had a hard time understanding the socio-political messages. On top of all that, I'd be willing to bet that Cars 2 is a contender for most guns, explosions and bullets fired in a G-Rated movie. This movie had much more violence than the first one.

Aside from the appropriateness of the movie, it wasn't bad. All the likable characters from the first movie were back with bigger roles like 'Mater & Luigi and there were many new characters added that also brought their own personalities into the mix. To me, this was an espionage-thriller so the added bonus of some comedy made the movie move right along at a good pace.

It was engaging for me, I enjoyed it, but the entire time I couldn't help but wonder why Disney/Pixar chose to tell this story through a kids movie.
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10/10
WHOA. Totally Underrated
anthony_rocks2310 July 2011
Cars 2 is about 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. For Disney/Pixar this is much different compared to Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Cars, Up, Wall-E, Monsters INC., Ratatouille, Toy Story 2, The Incredibles, A Bug's Life, And Toy Story 3. All have been Wonderful Films. Cars (2006) has been rated as the lowest rating of Pixar. But i thought it was wonderful. Cars 2 has the same formula. If you don't like Larry The Cable Guy, you will not enjoy this movie. He outshines Lightning McQueen, by being the main character. this film comes with my highest recommendation.
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6/10
Flawed but still enjoyable
thomsedavi24 June 2011
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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10/10
It's not what they say, It's what you enjoy.
Juan99425 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I'm finding myself very disappointed by the generally critics about "Cars 2", and I found the nucleus of the issue the fact that Pixar's latest movies have had a very philosophical idea floating around (Wall-e, Up, Toy Story 3) and the "Cars" franchise it's not about that.

Does "Ratatouille" have a philosophical script? I'm afraid not, "A Bugs Life"? Sure not, But they accomplish another goal, they were made for another approach, a different image and a different perception of the movie.

Is Pixar a philosophy-related books maker? Is Pixar a adult-animations producer? They're not, they're great storytelling guys (They found out a way to link the whole world without making a "Around the World in 80 Days" film), they make the gorgeous 3D scenarios (I was astonished by the great detail of London and Porto Corsa) and they develop almost perfect characters (Who in the world will link as many cars parts with body parts as Pixar did?) and most important, they bring entertainment to the audience, and "Cars 2" fills all those gaps.

I'm afraid this is the result of what happens when someone (in this case Pixar) develops a great reputation and suddenly they came up with something different of what we are used to, and it became for some people a "horrifying" creation.

I enjoyed "Cars 2" since the stressful opening scene until the happy ending and I think is because I entered the theater hoping to have a great time, fun and a visually amazing experience, and not hoping to find the anthropological greatest creation, and that's exactly what I got.
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8/10
An action-filled fun change of pace
Robert Jung26 June 2011
Sometimes you go to a Pixar movie and get a deeply insightful, heart-tugging classic that sings to the deepest corners of the human condition.

And sometimes you go to a Pixar movie for some uncomplicated fun and adventure.

"Cars 2" is unapologetically the latter; it never reaches the emotional depths of "Up" or "Toy Story 3", but it never tries to be. Instead, this is a family-friendly action-packed adventure movie, the kind of movie you watch because you just want to sit back and enjoy the spectacle. Whether it's the gorgeous scenery, the breakneck chase sequences, or Finn McMissile's never-ending arsenal of cool gadgets, "Cars 2" is a movie that simply wants you to have fun as you follow along with its whirlwind escapades.

Some might feel this is a disappointment from Pixar, but I think that's being unfair -- after all, no one begrudges Steven Spielberg for producing both "Schinder's List" and "Indiana Jones".

"Cars 2" isn't high art, but it never tries to be. Even the best creators deserve to cut back and have fun once in a while.
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8/10
Good movie... a little out of character
who_da_man_turner25 June 2011
I personally enjoyed the movie very much... It was full of action and had the same old Pixar humor. The only things that critics said that was seriously wrong with the movie was the fact that they build to much on Mater's character... Mater's character in the first one provided comic relief for the movie. In Cars 2, they made the comic relief the main character. The entire movie was based around Mater and that is what made it funny. But for some people there was to much of him and not enough of the original Lightning McQueen. This is a valid point, but it doesn't ruin the movie.. I would suggest watching it for sure!

JRT
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