Quick Synopsis- Star racecar Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and the incomparable tow truck Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) take their friendship to exciting new places in “Cars 2” when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car. But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage. Mater finds himself torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and towing the line in a top-secret mission orchestrated by master British super spy Finn McMissile (voice of Michael Caine) and the stunning rookie field spy Holley Shiftwell (voice of Emily Mortimer). Mater’s action-packed journey leads him on an explosive chase through the streets of Japan and Europe, trailed by his friends and watched by the whole world.
What I liked about Cars 2:
- New Characters – British Spies, Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) and Italian race car driver, Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro) are a great additions to the franchise. I loved the spy storyline which allows the story to go into overdrive and move the locations out of Radiator Springs. The Francesco Bernouilli, Italian Car Driver character adds a level of competitiveness to the story but is just plain funny with his arrogance, confidence and insults all in an Italian accent. Too cute.
- The international locations- I think it’s important to expose children to other parts of the world. It offers parents an opportunity to introduce fun facts about other countries. The Pixar folks really get the look, characters of the three countries, (Italy, London and Paris) down pat.
- Non-stop action of the car races – The races were really well done and emulated car races in non-animated movies. I really bought into it.
- Be Who You Are and Loyal and Friendship are important - I like the moral of the story that even though you may not be the most sophisticated of cars like Mater, you have to stay true to yourself and that friends need to accept their friends for who they are.
- The look and graphics of the film – What can I say? Pixar does such an amazing job of making the entire movie experience awesome, the colors and the renderings of the cities are just so colorful and pop off the screen.
- The script - This is another Pixar film where the everyone from the screenwriters to John Lasseter the Director to the voice talent bring their A game. I never ever looked at my watch and the movie really held my attention.
What I did not like about Cars 2:
- The violent nature given this is a PG rated movie. There were a bit too many scenes that involved guns and talk of killing” Lightning McQueen.
- Too much Mater not enough Lighting McQueen – This came as a surprise to and will certainly disappoint Lightning McQueen fans. Not sure why there was so much focus on the Mater character unless they are thining of a spin off although I guess the point was that McQueen learns a lesson about friendship.
- 3-D - Stop the madness. I just don’t think the movie and story were enhanced by 3D.
Recommendation: For fans of Cars 1 or not, you will like this movie. It’s fun and light and works on both an adult and kid level. It offers valuable lessons about friendship and I like the international perspective it adds. Any movie that introduces the world outside the United States, is okay in my book. Definitely add this to your movie list this weekend. You and your kids will love it.