Now Playing: Pixar’s ‘Cars’ Sequel Makes Even Fox Animation Studios Look Good

Pixar’s winning streak is over. Although I strongly disliked the original ‘Cars‘ when it was released back in 2006, upon seeing it a second time, I realized that it’s not that bad, despite being little more than an animated retelling of ‘Doc Hollywood’. I hoped that perhaps the drastic story and concept changes made for ‘Cars 2’ might make up for the original being so boring and uninspired. Boy, was I wrong!

‘Cars 2’ shouldn’t don the ‘Cars’ title at all. It should be titled ‘The Mater Show’, because that’s all it is. Larry the Cable Guy is one of the worst comics of all time. There are too many truly dumb people out there to make me want to watch a guy act like one for fun. His comedy is full of stupid puns and idiocies. So having the character he voices in ‘Cars’, Mater, be the central character in ‘Cars 2’ drove me nuts.

Unoriginal and über-clichéd, ‘Cars 2’ finds Mater mistaken for a secret agent. The fact that this is textbook spy movie formula limits the film’s potential. There aren’t any cool spy weapons because the spies are played by talking cars. They shoot grappling hooks, pour oil slicks, and have built-in guns and jet engines – the only four spy-like things a group of cars can possess. The movie cannot feature any exciting spy action sequences other than car chases. Following a predictable storytelling model, you know who the secret bad guy is from the first five minutes.

Pixar made the same mistakes with ‘Cars 2′ that it did with the original. It’s much too long for a kids’ movie. There’s hardly any kids humor in it and, despite trying, it’s completely void of heart and soul. It almost feels like Pixar didn’t know for what audience it was making ‘Cars 2’. It’s nearly two hours long, plays out like a bad James Bond movie, is unfunny, and force-feeds a disconnected, unimportant moral. Another odd thing ‘Cars 2’ shows is a lot of violence. Cars are crashed, crushed, blown up, sunk in the sea, tortured and killed.

The one good thing that I will say about ‘Cars 2’ is that it features some all-time best 3D. No joke, the first race of the World Grand Prix is breathtaking. If ESPN 3D looked this good and I was actually into sports, I would subscribe to it in a heartbeat. Not being a fan of 3D, it takes a lot for me to endorse it.

‘Cars 2’ is worse than the first. It’s terrible. It makes the ‘Ice Age’ movies (which I despise) seem like pure gold. It limits its audience to boys ages 2-10, which is undoubtedly what a toy-selling company wants. I honestly believe that ‘Cars 2’ director John Lasseter (head of both Pixar and Disney Animation) put this movie out just to sell more toys. ‘Cars 2’ is like one big product placement spot, designed to make Disney and Pixar billions from selling their own characters. It has no other purpose for existing.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆


  1. Sitting through this movie was excruciating. Not just because it was bad, but because I realized that Pixar is fallible. It made me very sad.

  2. JoeRo

    I was kind of hoping that this movie would surprise us all and be amazing. Like you I wasn’t a big fan of the original Cars, and finding out that Mater was the main character in this new installment really pissed me off. I’m sure Cars 2 will make big money, but it’s sad to see Pixar drop the ball after so much success.

    If they were going to write sequels for existing properties they should’ve worked with Brad Bird on the Incredibles 2, I don’t think anyone was clamoring for more Cars [shudder]. At least the next Pixar flick is a Fairy Tale, but after that we get a prequel to Monsters Inc. doubleYOUteeEFF!

  3. Animation quality aside (which I’m sure is impeccable), story-wise this looks like one of those awful Disney direct-to-video sequels thrown together by the studio’s 4th-tier staff.

    The cars fly now? Really? Ugh. How far John Lasseter has fallen.

  4. Jane Morgan

    ‘Cars 2’ was probably part of the deal which gave Stanton the greenlight on ‘John Carter Of Mars.’

    • Luke Hickman

      But John Carter of Mars is no longer a Pixar title. Originally, it was supposed to be. But just before production began, it switched to Disney.

  5. RollTide1017

    I feared that this would happen.

    This has been the only Pixar movie where the trailers sparked zero interest with me. There have been a few where I wondered if the movie would be any good but was pleasantly surprised (Up, A bugs Life and the first Cars). The trailers for Cars 2 though, have made it look awful a even with Pixar’s track record, I’ve just had zero interest in seeing this. It’s ashamed really but I guess there streak had to end at some point.

    I don’t mind the Toy Story sequels but, I don’t like that Pixar seems to be doing even more sequels/prequels of other movies. The only movie they have that deserves a sequel IMO is the one they seem uninterested in doing…The Incredibles.

  6. No, Fox Animation titles don’t look as good as ‘Cars 2’… they’re just better films that ‘Cars 2.’

    We knew this day would come, I’m just thankful it came in the form of a film that I had little interest or hope for in the first place.

  7. It’s quite sad. I always thought Pixar was untouchable. Rogert Ebert likes it, as does Variety. And Variety can be very cruel when reviewing movies.

    Still, I’ll check it out. I want to see with my own eyes how and why the mighty have fallen. Pixar’s track record is still amazing.

  8. vihdeeohfieuhl

    We all knew it was going to happen one day. Sure, it would have been nice for Pixar’s hitting streak to stretch to 20+ movies, but on the bright side, we don’t have to witness it unravel with a unique property. Hell, some people even feel like their hitting streak ended with the original Cars.

    Let’s just pray that this is a fluke, rather than a new pattern for Pixar. Brave doesn’t seem like it can really light a fire, but I suppose we all need to take a, “wait and see approach.” I think that 95% of us could have predicted that Pixar’s unblemished reign would end with Cars 2, so let’s try not to act surprised or hugely disappointed.

    The real let down will come if their next effort is middling. What a shame it would be to witness them batting a thousand, and then release two turds in a row. The pressure is finally mounting for Pixar, and I am thrilled to find out how they will respond to it. Will they rise to the occasion, or sink into a Dreamworks/Fox state of releasing shit sandwiches on an almost consistent basis.

    I didn’t think that Cars 2 was as bad as Luke thought it was. I would still give it at least a star and a half out of five. However, I had absolutely zero expectations for it, I have young children, — including a son that is firmly in the target demographic that Luke mentioned — and maybe I was able to enjoy it a little more by feeling his enjoyment. The 3D absolutely knocked his socks off too!

    • Luke Hickman

      Aside from Megamind, I’ve been digging DreamWorks’ latest flicks. Shrek 4 was surprisingly not painful at all and How To Train Your Dragon was downright awesome.

    • Luke Hickman

      I wish my daughter would have liked it. She got bored and left the theater to wander the halls because she “didn’t want to fall asleep” (her words, not mine). When you ask what her favorite part was, she says “Woody and Buzz”.

      • vihdeeohfieuhl

        Kids are funny that way. My daughter actually loved the new cars as well (although clearly not as much as my son). She definitely had some, “OH WOW!” moments. I don’t know how old your daughter is, but if she’s about the same age as mine, they are extremely unpredictable.

        We took her to Kung Fu Panda 2, and she would not stay seated at all. She just wanted to wander through the theatre. If you asked me a at the beginning of the summer which movie she would have had no interest in watching, and which one she would sit and watch in it’s entirety. I would have bet almost anything that she would have watched every second of Kung Fu Panda 2 (She adores the first one), while having little interest in Cars 2.

        I think it all comes down to how much sleep they have gotten in the day, which time of day it is, what type of nutrition they’ve had that day, etc. There are just too many variables when they are a certain age.

        I actually agree with you about recent Dreamworks efforts. Megamind was borderline drivel, but the last Shrek was good, and How To Train Your Dragon was superb. I used a bad example. I should have said, “releasing shit sandwiches on a semi-consistent basis like Dream works pre-2010.”

  9. Brian H

    I’m not a huge Pixar fan to begin with, but I do generally think that their films are too long.

    Not that there is an amount of time that I want to hear Larry the Cable Guy speak/exist…

  10. Well I think its pretty obvious that if you despise Larry the Cable Guy then you will not like Cars 2 no matter how great it could have been, same goes for anything you hate someone being in, tons of people hate Seth Rogan or Will Ferrell, but its all about your sense of humor and what you find funny. Myself, Mater was one of the best parts of Cars and why I love it so much, he’s innocently endearing and lovable and Larry pulled that off perfectly in the first film, of course no one will agree with me since the dislike for Cars around here is very high, so I certainly wasnt expecting any kind of good review from anyone on this site to be honest.

    I would like to hear a review from someone who was a big fan of the original, the positive reviews for it on Rotten Tomatoes have been very good, even a few that felt Cars 2 was way better than the first, so I have no doubts that this will be another great Pixar movie to me 🙂

    • Luke Hickman

      There are plenty of actors out there whom I cannot stand, but occasionally make a perfect picture. Take Jim Carrey – I HATE the dude, but LOVE Eternal Sunshine. There’s a lot more keeping Cars 2 from being a great movie than just Larry. Trust me. The bit about LArry in my review is only one listed reason why the movie blows.

      • There’s a small possibility that a Michael Bay film could have a higher tomatometer than a contemporary Pixar film. Even with the basement-low critical expectations to overcome for the new Transformers movie, it’s still only a small chance.

    • I love the first ‘Cars’! It’s really a movie that gets better with repeated viewings; unfortunately, most people wrote it off after one viewing.

      No opinion on ‘Cars 2’ yet (I have to wait another week for the foreign release date).

      • Couldnt agree more, I enjoy Cars, with every watch, as much as I did the first time I saw it, maybe even more so….its my favorite Pixar movie and I watch it more than any others

        • The song ‘Our Town’ may be Randy Newman’s finest contribution to the Pixar canon. Man, it is beautiful and touching.

  11. i liked the first one , it grew on me. i do want to see this one. hey i felt dreamworks had one of their worst years with how to train your dragon , shrek 4 , and megamind which i know people liked dragon , felt it was too grating. got on my nerves.

  12. While Cars got a score of 74% when its all said and done, the bad reviews that it got sound exactly the same as the bad reviews for Cars 2, so I’m guessing the people that liked the first film obviously didnt like the second, quite a few critics really didnt like the first Cars but as time went on, it seemed more and more people felt Cars was the worst Pixar movie, with that now in place it really doesnt surprise me about the dislike for #2, Cars when it came out was still looked at as pretty original and another good attempt by Pixar, but now its looked at as Disney/Pixars personal cash cow after the toys and characters went viral, but hey what can you do, I’m sure I’ll be in the minority (again), when it comes to liking it 🙂

    • Chaz, have you seen the trailers for Cars 2? It seems to be very tonally different than the first film. What did work about the original was its charm and laid-back attitude. This one appears to discard all the lessons from the first movie in favor of an action-heavy spy plot in which the cars can sprout wings and fly. WTF is that about? That has nothing at all to do with the first film.

      The redneck tow truck gets mistaken for a British secret agent? Seriously? This is the sort of hackneyed plot you expect from a tossed-off episode of a daily after-school cartoon, not a Pixar feature.

      • Yes I have seen the trailers, the first trailer or two, which were more teasers, did not impress me at all and I was wondering if I would even use the free ticket I have from buying The Incredibles on Bluray, but the full length trailer that showed more action and funny Mater moments (him changing his look to a Monster Truck was hilarious IMO) made me much more excited to see it, I’m fine with the tonal change in the movie because HEY the first one already took care of that, now its a family action flick with a couple of your favorite characters from the first one, more new cars, new characters, new story and lots of Mater sounds about perfect to me

      • EM

        The redneck tow truck does not get mistaken for a British secret agent; he gets mistaken for an American secret agent. Still, it takes his British secret-agent allies far too long to realize Mater’s cover is not a cover, even allowing for the extra slack one tends to grant a cartoon comedy.

  13. javier

    I admit that the trailers were very underwhelmimg, too much Mater. I’m not a big Larry fan but I’m very much a car guy so I will definitely check it out. I loved the first one but I also didn’t feel like I needed a sequel. I’m pretty torn right now on whether I should go see it or not. Going to the movies is expensive so when a movie sucks its very disapointing.

  14. RCorman

    Cars 2 is all about the merchandising. The original Cars movie sold around a Billion dollars in merchandise, so they probably were more concerned about making a movie with new stuff they could sell as opposed to making a great movie.

  15. What amazes me the most : nowadays, toylines based on movies/franchises get one run or two at most. A few months after the movie debuted, the toys are quietely discontinued or put on sale. It happened to all major toylines I collected during my youth : Jurassic Park (two series; then on hiatus till The Lost World), Hook (two series), The Lion King (one series) etc.

    ‘Cars’, however, came out in 2006 and AS OF TODAY you can still buy tons of merchandising based on (just) the first movie. How did they do it? I have no idea … it must be a world record (save for Star Wars, a on-going action figures phenomenon that will never die)

  16. EM

    Despite being a fan of the original Cars, I was not interested in a sequel, even after reading descriptions and seeing previews. Still, I decided to go see Cars 2 with an open mind.

    I dislike Cars 2. In fact, I agree with everything Luke says about it in the review (not necessarily with what he says about Cars or about the Ice Age movies, which don’t even interest me), except that I dislike 2 less strongly than he does. On a five-star scale I’d probably give it 2–3 stars. The 3D is, hands down, the best I’ve seen. Overall the art design is superb. And the Paris sequence did a far better job of transporting me back to the City of Light than Ratatouille did.