Cars 2 is Tow Mater’s show all the way

Film: Cars 2 (U)
Director: John Lasseter & Brad Lewis
Cast: Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Owen Wilson, Eddie Izzard, John Turturro, Bonnie Hunt
Rating: **1/2

Lightning McQueen (Wilson) is back and is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Radiator Springs with best friend Tow Mater (Cable Guy) and his girlfriend Sally Carrera (Hunt), while racing champs are heading to Japan to take part in the World Grand Prix organised by Miles Axelrod (Izzard) to promote his new biofuel. But there’s an evil plan brewing in the background which endangers the life of the participants. While McQueen enjoys the limelight in Tokyo, Mater pulls a well, Mater by making a scene without intending to do so. Meanwhile, British agents Finn McMissile (Caine) and Holly Shiftwell (Mortimer) arrive in Tokyo to figure out what the evil Professor Z and all his “lemon” gang are up to. They rely on a certain American intelligence agent to divulge more info and in a classic mix-up, they assume it is our endearing Tow Mater who holds crucial information about the big operation.

While the prequel to this movie felt like a sappy love-story of a bratty racing car, this one’s an underdog tale. Mater, whose supporting role turns into a full-fledged one in this film, is completely adorable as he goofs his way around the evil guys and tries to demonstrate the importance of friendship. Mater’s engine vrooms for Ms Shiftwell as they set off to find the bad guy across Europe, into the grand finale in London where the Queen shows up to see McQueen.

In a story that sort of couples a typical Bond film and an Adam Sandler film, directors Lasseter & Lewis depend heavily on thrilling fight sequences to hold the audience’s attention. Among the new characters in the sequel, McMissile’s finesse is extremely enjoyable. However, beyond the pretty packaging and witty dialogue — especially between McQueen and his pompous rival Italian Francesco Bernoulli (Turturro) — the story lacks a punch.

Coming from Disney-Pixar who created animation classics like Toy Story and Shark Tale, one expects a solid narrative to be a part of the package and the film lets you down on that count.

There isn’t much in this story that you’ve not seen before in other animated films and it is long enough to make you want to twiddle your thumbs. But the film picks up pace towards the end, as the directors finally pack elements like humour, action and thrill — which otherwise make solo appearances throughout the film — at the same time.

McMissile, Mater and Shiftgear make a good team that makes the film a fun watch. Far better than its predecessor, Cars 2 3D is an enjoyable experience, but don’t expect the awesomeness of Disney-Pixar films of the past from this one.

Originally published on on June 24, 2011

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