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June 28, 2011

Cars 2: The Ask Patty (Spoiler Free) Review

Cars2-movie-wallpaper-3 Hello again, Ask Patty Nation from Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sally, and the rest of the gang at Radiator Springs!  Cars 2 opened on Friday to much ballyhoo and ... well, mixed reviews.  So what did we think?  It's definitely what you expect from a Disney / Pixar outing - very visually engaging, great voice talent, a lot of fun - and a little more besides.  Now, I didn't watch the original Cars a second time before seeing the second one, but Cars 2 definitely felt more focused on action than the first.  Is that a bad thing?  Not necessarily!  In a lot of ways it's a very fitting sequel. Head past the jump for my take on the new outing from Pixar, without giving away any of the details for those who like to be surprised.

Right at the start, you know you're in for something new:  we're immediately introduced to the Michael Caine (and as an aside - I sure do love Micheal Caine!) voiced spy-car Finn McMissile.  He's every bit the spy car cliche - think of one of those many Italian sports cars helmed by Roger Moore as 007, outfitted with a wide arsenal of weapons and defensive gadgetry.  This opening action sequence sets the tone for the globe-hopping espionage affair that unfolds alongside the familiar facing motif.

Meanwhile, Lightning McQueen is coerced into joining a worldwide grand prix and Mater, voiced by the unique and incomparable Larry the Cable Guy, gets caught up in the spy antics when his down-home personality is mistaken for an undercover agent with a very good cover.  He's taken on a wild ride as he inadvertently helps to foil the film's villains: a group of greasy jalopies who are bent on world fuel domination.  The grand prix racers, you see, are using an alternative fuel created by Miles Axlerod, but these conspirators are determined to crush the green agenda.

The locations are all very well rendered - Tokyo in particular was spectacular - and of course, there are tiny details and in-jokes for Pixar fans hidden in the background.  I'd have to watch the movie a few more times to catch them all, but I did notice a marquee for "The Incredimobiles," a tongue-in-cheek nod to Pixar's superhero outing The Incredibles

So is it better than the original?  I'd have to say I don't think so, just because the original was so innovative in a lot of the things it did, and the globe-hopping certainly is a far cry from the charming Radiator Springs-centric storyline of the first movie.  That said, so much of the story focuses on entirely new characters that Cars 2 stands on its own very well.  I don't believe seeing the original is a necessary first step at all.  All in all, it was a whole lot of fun, and if your family has a hankering for some action, Cars 2 will definitely cure what ails you - and probably supply more than a few laughs, too.

Kaeli Gardner, Inc.
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