Cars 2 (Blu-ray)


Buy this DVD at

Rating: G

Larry the Cable Guy as Mater (voice)
Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen (voice)
Michael Caine as Finn McMissile (voice)
Emily Mortimer as Holley Shiftwell (voice)
Eddie Izzard as Sir Miles Axlerod (voice)
John Turturro as Francesco Bernoulli (voice)
Brent Musburger as Brent Mustangburger (voice)
Joe Mantegna as Grem (voice)
Thomas Kretschmann as Professor Z (voice)
Peter Jacobson as Acer (voice)
Bonnie Hunt as Sally (voice)
Darrell Waltrip as Darrell Cartrip (voice)
Franco Nero as Uncle Topolino (voice)
David Hobbs as David Hobbscap (voice)
Patrick Walker as Mel Dorado (voice)

Directed by John Lasseter and Brad Lewis

Special Features:
Theatrical Short – Toy Story Toon: Hawaiian Vacation
All-New, Exclusive Cars Toon: Air Mater
Director Commentary

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.39:1)
DTS-HD MA 7.1 Sound
French and Spanish Languages
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 106 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“From the creators of ‘Cars’ and ‘Toy Story 3’ comes a new, laugh-out-loud, heartwarming adventure geared for the entire family.

Star race car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and the incomparable tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) take their friendship on the road from Radiator Springs to exciting new places when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car. But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage! Experience all the fast-paced fun with an ‘all-car’ cast — plus enjoy two hilarious short films, ‘Air Mater’ and ‘Hawaiian Vacation.'”

“Cars 2” is rated G.

The Movie:
I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to “Cars 2.” Nothing about the trailers interested me. They looked dull, I questioned the wisdom of turning the “Cars” franchise into a spy movie, and I honestly thought this could be Pixar’s first bomb. While I didn’t think this was a great film, I’m happy to report it’s not a bomb either.

While completely flipping genres seems questionable, I actually ended up buying it in “Cars 2.” As soon as the film opens, we’re treated to a quite spectacular spy action scene on an offshore oil rig. Lots of gadgets, lots of explosions, and every Bond cliché in the book. In fact, the opening scene of the movie is arguably the highlight of the whole film. It’s in this scene that I came to the realization that cars are an inherent part of the spy movie genre. A cool car is as important to James Bond as a martini. Once I made that connection between cars and spies, I was thoroughly on board for the genre swap.

That being said, the racing is still an essential part of “Cars 2.” We’re treated to an international race featuring NASCAR racers, Formula 1 racers, drift cars, etc. Everything is represented. And, of course, we’re exposed to more of the “Cars” world. We see Japan and all its neon signs, anime influence, and car version of its culture. The same goes for Italy and London. While the funny car versions of our world are still here and still a fun part of the film, it does lose some of the novelty it had in the first movie.

Another surprise was the fact that Mater was the star of this film, not Lightning McQueen. Your enjoyment of “Cars 2” will depend a lot on how you feel about Mater. I’m OK with him. I know some people here in Texas like him. If you’ve seen some of the “Cars” shorts or the “Mater’s Tall Tales,” this movie has a feel like a feature length version of “Mater’s Tall Tales.” The formula is he does these crazy, amazing things, nobody believes him, then at the end it’s revealed to be true. “Cars 2” doesn’t break from that formula.

A few new cars are added to the cast. Most notable is Michael Caine as Finn McMissile. His voice is well-suited for animation and this movie is like a chance for him to go back and play James Bond, albeit in car form. Emily Mortimer plays Holley Shiftwell and you have to enjoy the fact that they named her according to Bond double-entendre rules. John Turturro is also fun as Francesco Bernoulli. This man belongs in animation, not in “Transformers” movies. His over-the-top performance is well-suited for the Italian car.

Watching “Cars 2” made me really realize what a big part of Pixar’s formula for success is – originality. With the exception of “Toy Story 2” and “Toy Story 3,” every one of their films is set in a new world with new designs, new characters, and new situations. There’s a real sense of discovery in every Pixar movie which is part of the fun. And, unfortunately, “Cars 2” lacks that. Once you strip away the ‘Wow!’ factor of discovering a car themed world, you’d better have something more to offer. “Toy Story 2” did it by expanding on the world with ‘Woody’s Roundup’ and ‘The Evil Emperor Zurg.’ “Toy Story 3” did it by putting the characters in a new home and tugging at the heartstrings. “Cars 2” doesn’t have anything like that. The swap to the spy genre isn’t enough by itself. And while it’s fun to see the rest of the “Cars” world, it only goes so far.

“Cars 2” also relies on the very old story of mistaken identity. You take the idiot, put him in a dangerous situation, and hi-jinks ensue. It has been done in everything from “The Three Amigos” to “The Pink Panther” to “Condorman.” It can work, but “Cars 2” doesn’t really do anything new with it. This story is very predictable which makes it a bit of a letdown.

The first “Cars” movie had some great music. You had “Real Gone” by Sheryl Crow, the Rascal Flatts version of “Life is a Highway,” and music by James Taylor, John Mayer, Randy Newman, and others. “Cars 2” lacks any memorable songs. Weezer does a version of “You Might Think” and Robbie Williams does “Collision of Worlds,” but they’re not anything you would rush to download on your iPod.

After I watched “Cars 2,” I thought that the first “Cars” was better. But when I went back and looked at my review of that previous film, I actually rated it a 7 out of 10 just like the sequel. I guess my opinion of the first movie has softened with time. Still, despite the same rating, I still prefer the first “Cars” movie over this one.

If you were to say that this is Pixar’s worst movie, I would probably agree with you. But even Pixar’s worst movie is better than the films that most studios put out there. Despite my gripes, I enjoyed it, my kids enjoyed it, and it was an entertaining trip to the movies.

The Extras:
When I got this Blu-ray, I have to admit that I was shocked. There are only three bonus features on it. You get the Toy Story short “Hawaiian Vacation” which was attached to the movie in theaters. Then you get a director’s commentary. Finally you get the Cars Toon “Air Mater.” In this, Mater visits a town full of Planes and he takes flying lessons which lead him to participate in an air show. At the end there’s a subtle hint that they should do a movie entitled “Planes.” That then leads to a full teaser trailer for Pixar’s new movie “Planes” which will come out in Spring 2013. It looks like it’s part “Top Gun” and part “Cars” as the lead character appears to be a small propeller airplane. This one actually looks quite fun based on this teaser.

So where are the rest of the bonus features? The Pixar featurettes, the making-of featurettes, the deleted scenes, etc etc etc? You know, all the good stuff we typically get from a Pixar DVD or Blu-ray? They’re not here. But believe it or not, there are FIVE different DVD and Blu-ray sets being released. The DVD and Blu-ray sets all have the same bonus features. You actually have to buy the Blu-ray 3D version if you want to get anything more, and even then the pickings are slim. You get “Nuts and Bolts: A Sneak Peek of Cars Land,” a World Tour – Interactive Map, Deleted Scenes, some Short Documentaries, and “Set Explorations from the Different Cities in the Movie.” In short, this is a move by Disney to try and get you to buy the Blu-ray 3D set. Will it work for them? We’ll see.