Okay, so I admit I was a little bit late at watching the newest Pixar movie, Cars 2. But since I had some silver AMC movie tickets, I had to wait at least a week after it began showing on the 24th of June. Plus I’m not a huge movie goer so it’s not like I’d start hyperventilating if I didn’t see a movie’s premier RIGHT NOW.
Cars 2 was surprisingly different from Cars in the way that the newer movie wasn’t really about racing, or even cars at all. It sure seemed that way at first – the plot opens by having a secret spy action sequence, James Bond style. Oh and by the way, this is where we find out that yes, in Pixar movies, cars can die. So we suddenly get a weird premise of something lifted straight from Goldfinger. Okay, but somehow that’s going to relate to the racing, and cars, right? Wrong.
The scene finally shifts to the main characters of the first Cars movie, with Lightning McQueen paying a visit to Radiator Springs and hanging out with his old friends, especially Mater. But while there, Francesco Bernoulli, a famous Formula 1 car sends McQueen a challenge to race in the World Grand Prix. So the movie’s about this race with some secret spy stuff tied with it, right? Wrong. Instead, the entire plot gradually shifts over to focus on Mater, McQueen’s BFF tow truck, and how his happy-go-lucky brand of idiocy embarrasses McQueen in front of international television. This causes the racing champ to drive away (pun completely intentional) Mater in a fit of anger, and straight into the arms – err, wheels, of two secret agents, Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell.
I’m not about to write any spoilers, so I won’t reveal any more than that, but basically the plot becomes a clichéd spy/action story with explosions and cool gadgets and even cooler manoeuvres done all in the world of cars. While the animation is top-notch, the plot falls flat, the romance is completely pointless and the characters end up being less developed than they were in the first Cars movie. Well, except Mater, because he’s the main character, but really? Cars being spies? Seems difficult to imagine, especially coming from the same company who just did Toy Story 3 with such a brilliant and inspiring plot. While both movies involve giving life to everyday objects in the real world, Toy Story played on the imagination just enough – toys becoming real while we aren’t looking, and eventually given new life when they are outgrown and handed down to the next child, while Cars is a bit too difficult to imagine in the real world. It’s probably why it’s not one of Pixar’s more successful productions, although they’re often much better than other animated movies that come out at the same time.
Anyway, back to my main point. Cars 2 is more about the friendship between McQueen and Mater, and how we should love our friends just as they are. We might be running on completely different ‘engines’ (highlighted by how McQueen and the team travel to different countries and experience different cultures), and misunderstand one another to the point of getting into fights, but in the end, friends are friends, and nowhere is home without them. So yeah, the fancy-shmancy action scenes were all distracting decorations to the more important stuff. Go watch it, if not for the elite animation skills, then for a good laugh at some pretty clever jokes. Cars 2 is a movie for people in a lighthearted mood.
*WARNING: Watching this movie will cause you to come out of the theatres and seeing faces on every single vehicle you lay your eyes on.