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Movie Review: Disney/Pixar's Cars 2 (2011)

Cars 2 is different from its predecessor, but still very much the same

When Disney/Pixar’s Cars hit theaters in 2006 , I had absolutely no desire to see it. Although I do enjoy Disney/Pixar movies, in fact one of my favorite movies of all time is Finding Nemo, I have no interest in car racing and my only interest in cars is that they are a way to get from point A to point B. Even after my young nephews became obsessed with everything Cars, I resisted.

Years later, I decided to give Cars a try. I popped a Cars DVD into my DVD player. I figured that I could pop it out again when I got bored. Instead, I was entranced. The movie wasn’t just about car racing, or even cars for that matter, it was about friendship and finding one’s self. Not only did I fall in love with the story, the songs “Find Yourself” and “Our Town” are now on the playlist of my iPod.

And so it was with great anticipation that I donned my 3D glasses in Disney’s El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, California as the lights dimmed and the curtains parted for Cars 2. I was a little hesitant about the movie because I’d heard that it would incorporate one of my not-so-favorite genres: the spy genre.

Although Cars 2 looked very different from its predecessor, in some ways, it was exactly the same. To start, the movies share a director, John Lasseter, so his touch would be expected to be infused throughout both movies.

In Cars 2, racecar Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) and his naive tow truck friend Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy) travel far from home to participate in the World Grand Prix. This time, it is Mater that experiences the culture shock that McQueen experienced in the first movie. As Mater takes his personal journey, he, and the audience, explore Tokyo, Porto Corsa (a fictional Italian costal city), Paris, and London.

The beautifully rendered destinations are instantly recognizable, but reflect the fact that this world is a world for cars rather than people. The visuals are even more spectacular, and feel more real, in 3D. By the end of the movie, I felt like I’d taken a trip around the world.

I also felt that same sense of engagement with the characters that I’d felt watching Cars; I really cared about them. Cars 2 even had a few laugh out loud, funny moments. I didn't shed any tears (which is fine by me).

I fully expected to enjoy Cars 2, and I did. As is rarely the case for me when it comes to movies, I’d happily watch it again!

Jen's grade:
Absolutely go see it!

Cars 2 opened in theaters on June 24, 2011.

Cars 2 is rated G.

Jen (California,USA)*
* As a member of the press, Jen received one complimentary ticket to a screening of Cars 2.

Find more of Jen's movie reviews here.