Cars 2 is a sequel to Cars (2006) which, as we know now, should have been called Cars 1. All the primary car characters and their famous actors voices are back. The Paul Newman character is not in the film out of respect for PN who died in 2008.
The first Cars movie was a “bracketed” film. The movie opened and ended with big high energy race scenes. In between there is about 70 minutes of not much going on when the film moved to “lazy-Ville” known as Radiator Springs. This was a problem.
Cars 2 fixes that problem by opening with a James Bond-type spy thriller scene then moves to a short stop at Radiator Springs, then on to the really big International Grand Prix series of races. The races take place in Japan, Italy and England. As it turns out the fix is an illusion. While the movie looks great, the storyline is way complicated for kids. The spy stuff led by the voice of Michael Caine as super spy car Fin McMissile (playing the part of an Aston Martin DB5 right out of Goldfinger) is way over their heads. The plot line which has something to do with secret alternate fuels for race cars, secret agents, secret weapons, and secret motives turns into E=MC squared as far as the kiddy audience is concerned. My pumped-up 4-year-old granddaughter lost interest about a half hour in and was ready to leave at the one hour mark. Her trip to the potty at the start of the middle race was her highlight of the film.
The film makers seem to be on a trip to clever-clever-land in showing us all the neat things they can do. None of it means diddle squat to the kids in the audience. Isn’t that who this movie is supposed to be for? While more enjoyable for the adults, its nearly 2 hour running time wears thin like a flat tire on the freeway. In a pre-production discussion for Cars 2 didn’t anyone realize that, while the adults would enjoy the James Bond elements of the film, the kids in the audience probably have never seen a James Bond film.
While sure to make a bundle of cash, let’s hope by the time they get around to Cars 3 in 2016, they will keep it child-comprehensible.
NOTE. As in all Pixar features there is an opening short film. This one is a delightful surprise. The Toy Story Characters are featured in “Hawaiian Vacation.” At least this part of the film is not to be missed.
Rated 2.2 out of 4.0 product tie-ins already available. I’m leaving for Target in a few minutes to get some before they are all gone.