Cars 2 (U)
Time Out rating:
<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5Rate this
Time Out says
Tue Jul 19 2011The new ‘Harry Potter’ notwithstanding, this summer’s rash of family blockbusters seems to consist of one substandard sequel after another, all in fuzzy 3D. One was hoping Pixar’s Midas touch would ameliorate the situation with the sequel to its admittedly lacklustre 2006 Hicksville lament ‘Cars’. But, alas, this follow-up – co-directed by head honcho John Lasseter – never really gets into gear. While wee fans of the franchise will doubtlessly revel at the sight of a fleet of new toy cars to pester mummy for, the rest of us can only ponder the reasons behind a premise that mixes ’60s globe-trotting spy-jinks and brash, computer- game-style racing with humdrum messages about the eco virtues of alternative fuels and how important it is to respect the intelligence (or lack of intelligence) of one’s peers.
Much of the story revolves around a stiff-upper-lipped Aston Martin-esque super-spy called Finn McMissile (voiced by Michael Caine), who unearths a fiendish plot to destroy all petrol-driven vehicles. By sheer coincidence, rickety hick pick-up Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) is taken for a fellow agent and unwittingly embroiled in the scenario. And that’s pretty much it.
Pixar’s technical expertise is not in doubt: the animators’ elaborate vistas and extraordinary level of detail is a marvel. But creatively, ‘Cars 2’ is a bit of a scene-hopping mess made worse by dint of a million car chases and hardly any gags. The most obvious weakness is characterisation. Unlike those of, say, ‘Toy Story’, which ooze individuality and make the audience feel emotionally connected, here it’s just a bunch of shiny vehicles that sprout mouths and eyes from out of the blue. As a means to flog merchandise, ‘Cars 2’ ticks all the boxes. But as a character-led film it doesn’t work. Time, perhaps, for the franchise to be towed off to the scrapyard. Sorry, Pixar. A Fan.
Author: Derek Adams