Ben G.'s Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Cars 2
Cars 2 (2011)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Before Cars 2 came out, I told my friends this was going to be good. Simply because Pixar hadn't put a foot wrong yet, so it was BOUND to be another hit.

When Cars 2 was made, Cars was probably the weakest in Pixar's canon (I'm pretty sure Rotten Tomatoes ratings will back me up here). It didn't really have the originality or the emotive resonance of the other Pixar films. So, if the reception was poor (by their standards) why did Pixar choose Cars for sequel treatment?

We were told it's because John Lasseter had a childhood love of cars. Okay, well it is John Lasseter, he's a pretty safe bet, I'll buy into that if he makes it work.......

Oh.

Jesus.

Pixar have shown us time and again they know how to make engaging beautiful movies. Every single one was of the highest quality.

Until Cars 2.

Even Dreamworks - who over the years have offered lackluster competition to the Pixar behemoth - would have been ashamed of this effort. Well okay, Dreamworks love this sort of tripe; pathetic sequels designed to squeeze as much money as possible from a franchise. The point is, Pixar had shown themselves to be above this, which only emphasises how exceptionally disappointing this effort was for them.

Pretty much everything about this movie is awful, the writing is dreadful, the characters are paper thin, it totally lacks humour and charm, it's pretty much missing everything needed for a film to be enjoyable.

In Cars 2 the main character is Mater. An appalling choice in itself, Mater is intensely annoying - but the adventure he goes on makes it all the worse. Mater is thrown into SPY WORK (Spy work, I ask you!) through idiotic convoluted circumstances. Then proceeds to bumble his way through all obstacles in the most obnoxious ways possible, while simultaneously (and inexplicably) garnering a love interest with his spy colleague. Somehow this horrible character was supposed to be endearing.

The biggest problem with Mater is the fact that he's been crow-barred into an homage to the Bond films. It's jarring and Mater doesn't even serve as comic relief. That Cars 2 is indeed such an homage is also disappointing, not because I'm against that by default, they've just done nothing with it. It's all a gimmick, an advert for the cars characters; "Look look! It's a Bond film but we've replaced 007 and Q with Lightning McQueen and Mater. Better yet all the other characters are now cars! This CarQueen'sFace toy will sell millions... mwahahaha!"

The mysterious bad guy is obvious for anyone with a brain, thus making all the smoke and mirrors an irritating waste of time. Why wait until the end to reveal him anyway? In hiding him from attention his character is left totally undeveloped. All it does is subtract any feeling we might have had for him, good or bad. Instead he ends up vapid.

There are a few small pros to this movie on the other hand:

The best thing about Cars 2 is probably Francesco Bernoulli - McQueen's egocentric rival - a new character with actual motives and personality.

Visually it's quite nice, but in all honesty it's hardly impressive by today's standards. It leaves me genuinely struggling to figure out where they spent $200 million.

I'm sure they'll recuperate any losses with toy sales - which is probably the true motive for this movie - it's an hour and a half advert to sell kids toys, and it is a real shame Pixar stooped so low.