Well, Pixar has finally disappointed me. For quite a few years now, they've released trailers that I figured could never deliver a good film, much less a 'Pixar magic' film. I didn't think going back to the TOY STORY well would be worth it, but part 2 was good and part 3 was excellent. WALL-E didn't look like it could be much, and is probably my most favoritest animated film ever (and there are times when it's my favorite film, period). The story about a flying house looked stupid as heck, and blew me away (in no small part because I recognized the plateau from THE LOST WORLD). Even going back to the first CARS, I didn't think that would work and it did (although I'm still uneasy about how they fit a story about the simple pleasures of quiet, old-fashioned life into the most sophisticated animation format of the time. I still think it would've worked better with hand-drawn animation). Each time I've been ready to declare a Pixar flop, and each time they've just been too damn good to let me.
Well, CARS 2 is a flop. The first CARS the hero was Lightning McQueen, but we were mostly amused by the wacky little denizens of Radiator Springs and touched by Doc Hudson (voiced by the late Paul Newman, in his final role). A small dose of Larry the Cable Guy as Tow Mater was fine, even fun.
CARS 2 is the Tow Mater story, not a Lightning McQueen story. And his antics drag on as he's mistaken for a spy and brought into a world of intrigue with Finn McMissile (Michael Caine, doing a spot-on Michael Caine impression) and Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer). And the whole caper rides on the dubious premise that if one alternative fuel is shown to fail, everyone will give up on alternative fuels altogether.
Aside from the lame plot and too much attention on Tow Mater, it's got some things going for it. The panorama's of cities around the world are very well done. And there are the typical movie in jokes, including a drive in playing THE INCREDIMOBILES, a RATATOUILLE reference with the restaurant "Gas Tow's" and an ad for Lasse-tyres (John Lasseter directed the film). So there was enough to amuse me and make me not mad that I saw this. Just not enough to make me really glad I saw it.
Running Time: 106 minutes
My Total Minutes: 245,550