Directed By: John Lasseter & Brad Lewis
Runtime: 106 minutes
Following in the wake of the 2006 ever-popular "Cars" is its sequel, "Cars 2." Still boasting the creative imagination of a car's world, we see the clever gimmicks applied to the automobile as it functions in its own specialized environment - adapted from all the familair human comforts and technological advancements of our time. I believe this is what resulted in the widespread popularity of the first film because not only was the idea original, but it speaks to our American appeals, widely centered on our own personal transportation, meaning we LOVE our cars!
Whereas the first film explores the story of one car, a hothead speed racer with an ego that could use a little downsizing, "Cars 2" takes a different perspective. With the returning voice talents of Larry the Cable Guy (Mater), Owen Wilson (Lightning McQueen) and Bonnie Hunt (Sally), we feel at home with these characters we have come to adore. The opening scene in the film involves a type of espionage spy mission that takes place on a deep-sea oil rig platform. Immediately we relate this scene to the countless spy movies in the James Bond film series. Though this time, our spy is Fin McMissile, voiced by Michael Caine.
Back at Radiator Springs, McQueen has recently returned from racing and is reunited with all his old pals. One evening there is a television segment on Mel Dorado about the plight of oil tycoon Sir Miles Axelrod, voiced by Eddie Izzard. Axelrod had gotten lost in the jungle for some reason or other and ended up surviving off of a sustainable fuel he created - somehow. Now Axelrod is promoting his new fuel, call Allinol, by hosting a World Grand Prix. Of course McQueen enters into the competition and before we know it, the gang is flying off to Europe for the race of their lives.
McQueen is rather hesitant to take Mater with him on the trip because Mater is... well he's a Radiator Springs hillbilly that just wouldn't fit in with all those pish posh European imports. Alas, he takes Mater along anyways and it's a bit disastrous for him. After he loses his first race due to a miscommunication with Mater, he tells the rusty tow truck that the doesn't need his help anymore and a friendship is torn. Meanwhile, McQueen steps down from the film's center stage and in comes Mater, who possesses most of the spotlight throughout the film. If I could relate Mater to a bumbling half-wit spy, I would have to pick Inspector Jacques Clousea played by Peter Sellers in "The Pink Panther" film series. During a restroom break, Mater unknowingly becomes part of an international espionage mission and soon enough, is dragged into the world of high-tech spies and cool gadgetry. Although he is always flubbing things up, it ends up working out for the better every time, thus convincing his spy cohorts, Fin McMissile and Holley Shiftwell, that he's the best damn spy in the business.
So there you have it, "Cars 2" juggles a friendship hanging in the balance as well as a dose of political corruption on the side. The storyline is most definitely taken from bits and pieces of those stories we've already seen or heard of. However, applying such parts to the creative world that exists in this Autoverse is still unique and surely worth a viewing. Kids will love this film, while adults will appreciate the visuals and the subtle laughs throughout.