Movie Review: Cars 2

It’s less about the racing than it is about dealing with a moron for a friend.

That came across to me as the underlying theme of Cars 2.  Even amidst a pretty well done espionage story, the whole point of the movie is about respecting your friends even if they are horribly irritating.  It’s basically said as bluntly as possible, that it’s OK to be a loud redneck in inappropriate situations, and it’s OTHER people who should change.  To be honest though, I’m not sure I agree.  If I had a friend who was as obnoxious as Larry the Cable Guy, I would insist he change his attitude, for his sake.

I get the message, I do.  And it’s a nice message, I guess, to a degree.  I think the better message would be to act appropriately in different situations, or maybe a message about adapting to new environments…?  Nah, I guess they think it’s better to act stupid and annoying and ruin situations because that’s who you are.  This is actually kind of a bad message actually.

Whatever, message aside, the spy plot of the film was actually really well done.  Lots of good action and pretty great computer animation.  It wasn’t mind-blowing animation, but it’s nothing you could call bad.  The scenery and design were fantastic.  There was more imagination and creativity than I was expecting.

The voice acting was pretty decent.  Especially from some of the new characters.  Michael Caine was enjoyable as the main secret agent, and John Turturro was pretty good (as expected) as an arrogant Italian formula one racer.  I really don’t like anything about Larry the Cable Guy.  I don’t think he’s funny, I think he’s obnoxious, and he makes millions doing a fake redneck schtick (search YouTube for “Larry the Cable Guy before redneck”) that only makes people dumber for enjoying it.  However, at least Pixar is able to make his character, Mater, somewhat likable.  I do think they put too many redneck jokes in this movie, though.  I kind of see Mater as Pixar’s version of Jar-Jar Binks, and in Cars 2 he gets first billing…  But I think the rest of the film’s merits balance out the annoyance of hearing Larry’s voice.

I don’t think this was as good as the first Cars, which I thought was underrated.  Cars 2 is pretty fun though.  Aside from a subplot in a children’s film about alternative fuels, and a sad reminder in the beginning that Paul Newman is dead, this is a pretty good movie for kids.  It doesn’t have the emotional impact that like, ANY other Pixar movie has, but again, it’s fun and fast paced.  The little kids in the theater were laughing hysterically throughout, so that’s probably the most important selling point of a movie like Cars 2.

7 out of 10

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