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Toon Talk: Cars 2
Page 1 of 2

by Kirby Holt (archives)
June 27, 2011
Kirby reviews the latest release from Disney / Pixar, the sequel Cars 2.
Toon Talk: Disney Film and DVD Reviews
by Kirby C. Holt
 

 

CARS 2

Pixar Animation Studios / Walt Disney Pictures
MPAA Rating: G

Mater Days

One could call Pixar’s seemingly unending winning streak an embarrassment of riches. With a string of number one box office hits and Academy Award wins, not to mention all the critical huzzahs and audience love, it’s not entirely unforgivable that the studio would take a chance to rest on their laurels for a bit with their latest animated release Cars 2 (in theaters now).

Ask any Pixar fan to name their favorite Pixar movie and chances are you won’t hear Cars mentioned much. It is also one of only two Pixars to not win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature since the category’s creation in 2001 (ironically, the other isMonsters, Inc., which will also get a sequel next year). So why a second Cars instead of a sequel to one of Pixar’s bigger, more beloved hits like Finding Nemo or The Incredibles?

The answer: it’s all in the merchandise. Cars has done remarkably well selling toys, mostly Matchbox-style miniature recreations of its cast of characters. Like Star Wars action figures, no Cars car goes without a toy, no matter how little screen time it gets. And what better way to create more toys than to create more characters for a whole new movie? Plus, there’s the all-new Cars-themed land at Disney’s California Adventure opening next summer.

Watch or read any interview with Pixar head honcho John Lasseter and it won’t take long for him to say that the key to their success is story. “It all starts with the story”, he has said, which isn’t entirely the case when it comes to the seemingly “made to market” Cars 2.

As it were, the story begins back in Radiator Springs, but we’re not there for long as ace racer Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) quickly sets out on a global grand prix, with his ever-loyal best friend Tow Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) in tow.Cars 2 is really all about Mater, as he finds himself in the middle of an international spy caper when British super agent Finn McMissle (Michael Cain) and his plucky assistant Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) mistake him for their American contact.

The globetrotting adventure takes us from Japan to Italy (home of McQueen’s main rival Francesco Bernoulli, voiced by John Turturro) to England, which offers plenty of opportunities for all sorts of site-specific new cars (thus new toys). There’s even a few boats, trains and planes (in anticipation for the next Cars spin-off, Planes, due in 2013) thrown in for good measure. Fans of Bonnie Hunt’s Sally will be disappointed to find out that she has been relegated to a relatively minor role. And it appears that Doc Hudson (voiced by the late Paul Newman in the original Cars, his final feature film role) has gone on to the great garage in the sky.

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