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Cars 2 (2011)
Not what my kids and I expected...
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.