28 July 2011
2011, 106mins, U
Director (s): John Lasseter, Brad Lewis
Writer: Ben Queen
Cast includes: Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Owen Wilson, Emily Mortimer, Franco Nero
UK Release Date: 22nd July 2011
I’m one of the few who believes 2006’s “Cars” is worthy of the Pixar label, most disregarding it as a clumsy and underwhelming addition to the studio’s catalogue. The picture maybe isn’t as distinctive as “Toy Story” or “Finding Nemo”, but it is modestly amusing, well animated and appropriately cute. A shame the same can’t be said for its sequel. “Cars 2” is easily the worst film Pixar have ever produced, in fact it’s possibly the first certifiably bad movie they’ve ever made. The only positive the follow-up adopts from its predecessor is the sublime animation; everything else is several gears below adequate, never mind inspired. The jokes are juvenile and stale, whilst the storytelling clunks along with no energy or urgency. It’s truly dispiriting to note, but on the back of “Cars 2” Pixar are now a genuinely fallible creative force.
The shift to spy based shenanigans doesn’t work, especially given that the plotting is so predictable. Mater stumbles into all the fish out of water scenarios you’d expect (and none you wouldn’t), whilst Emily Mortimer and Michael Caine are obviously gunning for easy cash. Not that McQueen’s Gran Prix storyline is much more invigorating, but at least the race sequences involved in that section have some energy, something Mater’s sleuthing perilously lacks. The attempt to embrace a different tone is clearly genuine, but it’s badly fumbled thanks to the clumsy application of an already suspect script. I did admittedly enjoy Michael Giacchino’s funky genre referencing musical score, but that’s about the most pleasure “Cars 2” provides. It’s a misjudged and wearisome feature, placing adding pressure on Pixar’s next effort “Brave” to redeem the outlet in 2012. Here’s hoping “Cars 2” represents the first, and last time Pixar deliver something this poor.
A Review by Daniel Kelly, 2011