My expectations for Cars 2 were on the low side. Despite Pixar’s repeated conquest of sequelitis with the two Toy Story followups, the original had been the least interesting piece of the company’s output, and the first reviews were far from favourable.
Happily enough, I turned out to be wrong on many counts.
Cars 2 was an enjoyable movie, and nowhere near the merchandise-o-rama I initially thought it would stoop to.
For a film so clearly billed at pre-teen boys Cars 2 is unexpectedly complex and cruel. The happy technicolour world of the Radiator Springs collides with that of spies, with stakes high enough to warrant multiple instances of attempted vehicular homicide. The multiple plotlines converge and split up, and there’s more to this than just driving on an oval track.
Which is exactly what was needed – another dose of friendship-boosting schmaltz from Laguna Seca would have definitely doomed the film.
Owen Wilson could have cruised through the vocals on autopilot, and Lightning McQueen’s once again the least interesting character in the cast. Michael Caine’s turn as the aging spy is the finest addition, though there’s plenty of local color in both the japanese and european scenes.
Indeed, better than I expected, but just not up to the conventional Pixar standards. Just like the original.
(Been a while since the last movie reviews, there’s quite a backlog remaining.)