Cars 2: Mater makes it work

Our review of Up drained most of the fight out of me so I’ll make this one brief. Before I saw this sequel, the original Cars had always been my least favorite Pixar and the only one I didn’t like. Pixar’s other films range from very good to excellent and Cars stands out as somewhat of a blemish. Of course it’s a relative blemish as most animation studios could only hope to achieve the level of success Pixar found with its anthropomorphic automobiles. Nevertheless, I went into my viewing of this sequel feeling taxed and burdened as if watching the movie is a chore (Sicario is out! I should be watching that. Then rewatching it!).

I’m happy to report that while Cars 2 is not great, it was a pleasant surprise. Lightning McQueen continues to be my least favorite Pixar lead so for me, shifting the attention from that slick racecar to the simple-minded Mater was a plus. Mater still ranks toward the bottom on my list of favorite Pixar characters but his vulnerability and positivity make for a more compelling watch than McQueen’s insecurity.

Mater himself kicks off the action of the movie by forcing McQueen into competing in a multi-leg international race. The movie doubles-down on the racing and features several extended sequences. Alongside these races, Pixar pulls some tricks from its Incredibles bag and enlists Michael Caine as a secret agent for British Intelligence. After throwing in some “car-out-of-place” jokes with Mater unwittingly making a scene at a fancy auto-gala, the tow truck becomes involved in Caine’s secret operation. Along the way, Mater must prove to himself that he’s not a fool and McQueen must earn back Mater’s friendship. Spoiler alert: things end happily every after.

Now, I already mentioned that this movie was a pleasant surprise. And I meant that. But it’s more like going to RedBox expecting something terrible and getting something….mostly okay. Not great. Not really worth your time (go see Sicario everyone!). But overall a fine time. That being said, the plot falls flat and other than the film’s commendable animation, it feels like a direct-to-video film. Not what you’d expect from a studio with twelve Oscars.

Rating: 4/10


Check out other Flashback/Backslide reviews in the Pixar Blogathon:

Inside Out (2015)

Toy Story (1991)

A Bug’s Life (1998)

Toy Story 2 (1999)

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Finding Nemo (2003)

Cars (2006)

The Incredibles (2004)

Ratatouille (2007)

WALL-E (2008)

Toy Story 3 (2010)

Up (2009)

Brave (2012)

Monsters University (2013)

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3 thoughts on “Cars 2: Mater makes it work

  1. Pingback: Monsters University: The Sequel That Works (2013) | Flashback/Backslide

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