It is easy to fall into the habit of endlessly praising Pixar, almost out of instinct. Usually they create the kind of films which are nearly impossible to bad-mouth, both because of their saccharine storylines mixed with effective humor and engaging animation. Cars 2 would be a decent animated film by any other standards, but it is the weakest franchise that Pixar is trying to hold onto. The first film didn’t impress me much, despite having the voice talent of Paul Newman attached. Cars 2 is missing this charm, and instead is packed full of action and visuals to enhance the 3-D experience. Visually effective, I was still left wanting when it came to storyline and humor.
Lightening McQueen (Owen Wilson) takes a backseat on the storyline in this sequel, which also changes the entire feel of the film with a change in location as well. As McQueen races back into the competition, he competes in the World Grand Prix with his best friend and companion, tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). Mater becomes the center of the storyline as he embarrasses his racing friend in unfamiliar crowds. Feeling uncultured and out of place, Mater becomes accidentally entangled in an international espionage case. Mistaken for a secret agent, Mater becomes involved in much more than just being a pit worker for McQueen, and this gives him more self confidence in what he is capable of.
The animation could not be more spectacular, and it is shown off in plenty of unexpected action sequences. They all tend to involve Mater, who only haphazardly manages to do the right thing in each situation. The humor and the heart is lacking, but I didn’t find the first Cars all that humorous either. It is still impressive what they are able to do, but Pixar may be better off with a new idea. The Blu-ray combo pack also includes a DVD version of the film, along with two short films and a director’s commentary track. The Blu-ray has these as well as a high definition presentation of the film.