There will be times when even a great studio like Pixar serves up a dud. It is not to say that Cars 2 is not entertaining, but given the high standards of Pixar’s past offerings, this sequel to the 2006 hit just does not cut it.
Of course, having to outdo its predecessor which went on to become a mega hit and a multi-million franchise is a tall order from the onset. However, seeing that there sure was a higher risk in a concept about a robot on a dead planet (Wall-E) or a grizzy old man with a flying house (UP), banking the buck on a talking car with a proven history must surely rank as one with a lower risk factor.
Cars 2 brings back Lighting McQueen and this time he is up against an insufferable F1 racer named Francesco in a three race completion as part of a promotion for the new green fuel. There’s some excitement given to the bright postcard images of the cities (each race takes place in a different city – Tokyo, London and Paris) and McQueen’s fast racing action undoubtedly reminds one of the Gran Turismo series. But it soon becomes evident that the movie aims to do too much with the plot, because it gets convoluted and cumbersome.
The race is sponsored by Miles Axlerod, an oil tycoon with a not-too -clean history giving rise to espionage sub-plot involving McQueen’s tow truck friend, Mater. The trusted sidekick get unwittingly wrapped up with spies Holley Shiftwell and Finn McMissile as they try to unravel the mischievous plot where a posse of junky cars attempt to derail the launch of the alternative fuel that will threatened to make old fashioned petrol obsolete.
Cars 2 fails to keep up with the standards set by Pixar movies, because it removed the charm that made the original into such an enjoyable movie and replaced it with a generic story of friendship with a bit of spy movie thrown in. The only good thing is the scenes with Finn McMissile (voiced by Michael Caine), but unfortunately those are few and far between. The seems to be a heavier reliance on Mater this time around, but the old truck just does not have what it takes to carry the movie.
The original Cars movies was actually one of the least successful films to come out of Pixar studios but this sequel will no doubt be ranked ever lower than that. As said, it is not a bad animated movie, but truthfully it just does not deserve to have the Pixar brand associated with it.