Cars 2 ***

CARS 2

After so many amazing films from Pixar, it is strange to see them go back to the well and come up with a sequel to one of their weaker films.  When “Cars” came out in 2006, it seemed like a step backwards for one of the best studios in the business.  It was enjoyable but it was pale in comparison to films like “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo”.

I guess it makes sense financially because “Cars” was their biggest film in terms of merchandising.  But I always felt like Pixar was more then just dollars and cents.  They put out films that are full of heart and soul.  They tell amazing stories using the best artists of animation working today.  “Cars 2” is simply amazing visually.  No question about it.  It is also a lot of fun as well, but the story doesn’t feel like it needed to be told.

The original “Cars” was about a race car that was living in the fast lane, when he stumbled upon a small town hidden away on Route 66.  There he learned to slow down and appreciate friends and life.  This time the story revolves more around the tow truck Mater.  He gets caught up in a high tech action thriller.

Lightning McQueen gets invited to race in a world tour, which provides the animators to recreate cities from all over the world.  The races through these cities are sensational.  McQueen decides to take Mater with him, who gets caught in a case of mistaken identity and ends up joining British secret agent Finn McMissile.  Together they must take down an organization that is trying to protect fossil fuels by sabotaging a new renewable, clean energy that is sponsoring the races.

What is missing here is a heartfelt story.  In it’s place we get a series of high tech action sequences.  Pixar has really ramped up the violence here as cars blow up, get shot at and electrocuted.

“Cars 2” is a fun time at the movies.  It is just an unnecessary sequel.  Think back to this time last year when “Toy Story 3” came out.  That was an incredible follow up in a franchise full of classics.  Here’s hoping that this is just a minor set back for the best production company working today.

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