Have you ever enjoyed a movie so much you couldn’t wait for the sequel? After enjoying the first Cars movie, I was looking forward to our next family movie night watching Cars 2. Does it live up to the hype?
If you’re looking for another Lightning McQueen movie, you’re in for disappointment. However, this story does build on another of the favorite characters from the original Cars movie: Mater. Filled with plenty of laughter, the kind that Larry the Cable Guy is known for, there’s never a dull moment in this second installment of the Cars series.
A Big Change
Cars at its core was a story about being a good person. Instead of expanding on that basic core story, Cars 2 moves in a completely different direction. The change was to take a comedic side character and turn him into a spy. The idea to turn the main focus from Lightning McQueen to Mater takes the story from a heartfelt character-driven story to an over the top comedic story.
While all of the Radiator Springs citizens, save for Doc Hudson, do return in some form, they are not prominent in the story. The main story takes off after Lightning McQueen gets invited to a series of races all across the world to test out an alternative fuel source. Eventually, Mater is mistaken by two Brittish spies as an American spy leading to Mater being put into situations that he shouldn’t have been put in.
Cars 2 relies heavily on situational and slapstick comedy. This comedic tone did not sit well with me after watching the original Cars. Most of the jokes are over the top and directed toward younger children. One situation that sticks out prominently to me is where Mater mistakes wasabi for pistachio ice cream. After haggling portion size with the server, he eats it all in one gulp, leading to him slopping down water from a waterfall while Lightning is having an interview. And then leaking oil and getting embarrassed about it.
There is one aspect of this film’s tone that I did enjoy: the scenery. Taking you to Japan, Italy, and England, you start to see the beauty of the full world of Cars and not just Radiator Springs. We get to see ocean vistas and national monuments like Big Ben.
I like the first Cars film. It had a story that I connected with and felt that the comedy was the right kind of comedy. Cars 2, on the other hand, changed things that made it hard for me to connect with. The comedy changed from subtle to over the top and clearly directed to a younger demographic. And it takes a side character and brings them into the forefront of the story in a role slightly outside of his comfort zone.
Overall, I was not a fan of Cars 2 though I can easily see how younger audiences can connect with it and enjoy it for what it is. If Cars was a family film, Cars 2 is a true children’s film with its over the top childish humor. I do recommend this film but only to the youngest in your family as the older you are, I feel the less likely you are to connect with this film.