You never really know what to expect when it comes to a sequel. Most times in Hollywood a sequel is warranted when the film does very well and above expectations in the box office. Some sequels continue the story, and others seem to forget what made it unique in the first place. But when Disney’s Pixar announces a sequel I usually have a lot of faith. John Lasseter, whom I am a big fan of, has always stated that a sequel is only warranted when there’s a story to be told. He believes the core of a film is its story. But even Pixar can sometimes be mistaken.
The film is directed by both John Lasseter and Brad Lewis. Returning again is Owen Wilson as Ligtning McQueen and Larry the Cable Guy as Mater. McQueen is a hero in Radiator Springs and on his break returns so that he can spend time with his best friend Mater and of course his true love Sally. During his return he is challenged over the television to participate in the World Grand Prix race by racer Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro). He agrees. The catch of this race is that they must use Allinol, a special clean fuel as a substitute for regular gasoline.
I’ll fill you in on a hint as to where the story leads back toâ€¦ The film begins at sea amongst a lot of oil rigs that have recently discovered an untapped oil field. British spy Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) infiltrates it and discovers some mysterious camera. This will come into play later in the film.
Meanwhile at the first of the World Grand Prix races, the camera is used to â€œkillâ€ the car racers. And yes, the film does say kill which is surprising given the fact it’s a family film. Mater is mistaken as a spy by both McMissile and Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) who is McMissile’s fellow spy. Together with Mater they must uncover who is responsible and stop their plot before more cars die.
If the plot seems a little simple you’d be right. What I find curious is that Lasseter is known for coming up with complex plots that really develop its characters and put a lot of heart and emotion into the story. This film barely had it. The first film had heart, emotion, and a story that was plausible. This film lacked all of those elements.
Of course this is yet another film presented in 3D as well as 2D. I didn’t feel as though showing it in 3D added anything to the film. It didn’t take anything away either though. You’d have just as an average of an experience saving some cash and seeing it in 2D.
The one thing I did really appreciate was the visuals. Pixar really does know how to animate a film. Images are extremely detailed and the backgrounds are as lifelike as ever. Kudos to the animating team as they really are excelling in everything they do.
I guess no one is perfect and Pixar was bound to fail sooner or later. They’ve had a successful run and I can guarantee that this film will make a lot of money. It’s a big family film that people will see regardless of the reviews. My advice to Lasseter and crew: stick to the story elements of your films. Don’t let money be the motivating factor. So let’s hope they realize what went wrong.
FINAL GRADE: C
FINAL GRADE AS A PIXAR FILM: D +
Reel Film News Movie Review by Bill Ayres