I have to admit, going in to see Cars 2 today had me nervous. After all, I wasn’t all that fond of Cars from the word go. This much Larry The Cable Guy in one place had me downright quaking. “Git ‘er done” is on my list of most annoying catch phrases of all time, locked in a tie for first with Carlos Mencia and his condescending chalkboard screech “Dee DEE dee!”. But then I remembered, this was a Pixar movie, and Pixar has yet to do a bad movie. Would Cars 2 be the first?
Cars 2 takes us back to Radiator Springs, where the Lightning McQueen racing empire is shaping up nicely. Lightning’s just taken his fourth Piston Cup, and is looking for a little down time following a great season. But that’s not to be as soon enough, oil magnate Miles Axelrod has introduced a new sustainable superfuel, and to prove its value, he’s launched a worldwide Grand Prix race on three countries’ soil in a bid to show off what it can do. But when a shadowy organization starts using the superfuel to take out the racers, it’s going to be up to…of all cars, Mater…to step in and save the world from a conspiracy that goes a lot farther than anyone might expect.
There’s a lot more Mater in this one than in the previous, and Lightning McQueen is actually almost of secondary importance here. This may be strange, no mistake there, but it’s also decidedly interesting. This complete yokel is going to save the world? It’s like an Ernest movie, mixed with a James Bond thriller and set entirely on a giant Hot Wheels track.
There are also a huge number of shoutouts and “Hey-it’s-that-guy” effects going on in here. Watch for Bruce Campbell to show up in yet another voiceover, as well as Sig Hansen from Deadliest Catch, and a nod to Ratatouille, among others. And of course, you’ll get extra value by way of a Toy Story short, which is pretty funny in its own right.
Frankly, I was afraid that this one wasn’t going to come off–a sequel to one of the worst Pixar movies yet?–but I definitely enjoyed this one more than the previous. There’s a lot of action here, good laughs…it’s a fun summer movie. Don’t look for this to be really involved, or even make sense in a lot of parts (What is a crab boat doing in a movie where everyone consumes gas and oil?), but still, it’s a very fun title.
The Screenhead Ten Scale joins the contrarians on this one and gives Cars 2 an eight out of ten for being an exciting, fun ride that’s well worth the Pixar name. It’s no Up, no Toy Story Pick A Number, but it’s a fine addition in its own right.