"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." -Inception

Friday, August 26, 2011

Movie Review: Cars 2

Cars 2, yet another one of Pixar's sequels, is an ambitious adventure set around the world that somehow doesn't quite capture the goodness of the original.  The first film was about a race car finding his way into the big leagues.  How to win big but enjoy the small stuff, the stuff that really matters.  The character that helped him realize that in the original, Doc Hudson is not here anymore as the actor who voiced the character, Paul Newman, had passed away.  There is a small touching mention of him here but then story is shifting and moving ahead fast away from Radiator Springs.  Directed by John Lasseter, I guess I was expecting the same Midas touch as the rest of the films but I couldn't help but feel something was lacking.  I did enjoy myself at the film because there is so much to take in. The Grand Prix is a race around the world in Japan, Paris, Italy and London and it is spectacular.  

Earlier this year, I was amazed and pretty impressed with Blue Sky Studios' Rio in that they managed to show the entire city of Rio de Janiero.  Well, that was nothing.  Pixar shows us Tokyo, Paris, Porto Corsa (a fictional Italian city) and London all in one movie.  The details are stunning. I was especially in awe of the Italian coastline shown in glorious details.  The sets are something else.  And the attention to detail in the cars in every country.  I'm speechless.  There is a lot of hard work put into this and it will be fun to spy the exact details in the next viewing too.  The different cars include the "Popemobile", car cameos from Jeff Gordon and Lewis Hamilton, the geisha cars of Japan and I could not get over the Queen and her grandson Prince Wheeliam.  Love it!

There were too many new characters to keep track of in this film but I like the two main British cars, Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer).  How cool is it that Michael Caine voiced a Pixar character!  Finn and Holly, in a mix-up, come to believe that Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) is an American spy and things get very confusing after that.  I was just enjoying the changing scenery and the race around the world to get involved in the sub-plots.  All the new characters meant we didn't get to spend as much time with the older characters.  Sure, there's a race around the world but I really would have like to see more of Lighting McQueen and Sally.  

Overall, this is a film that will be enjoyed by kids especially young boys will love as the race scenes rival actual car races but personally I feel will have you yearning for the sweetness of the original.  I know the Cars universe is a marketing giant but I think we don't need to revisit it for another feature.  The shorts of the Cars universe are excellent and I do hope they continue it.  Just like it was lovely to see the Toy Story gang again in the short Hawaiian Vacation.  With the announcement of more Pixar original, I think that's the way the future's headed.

Directed by John Lasseter, Co-Directed by Brad Lewis, Written by Ben Queen, John Lasster, Brad Lewis, Dan Fogelman, Produced by Denise Ream, Music by Michael Giacchino, Editing by Stephen Schaffer, Art Directed by Jay Schuster.

Voice Talents of: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Eddie Izzard, John Turturro, Tony Shaloub, Thomas, Kretschmann, and many more.


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