Uninspired sequel fails to keep the Pixar engine running
After 25 years of animation production and a run of critical and commercial smash-hits, the super-smooth Pixar production line finally blows a gasket with Cars 2, a colourful but overstuffed, noisy and heartless sequel that feels more like a toy commercial than a film.
John Lasseter’s 2006 original was a warm celebration of the laid-back lifestyle of the four-wheeled denizens of Radiator Falls, but Cars 2 shifts abruptly in tone and content as it pitches racer Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his idiotic tow-truck pal Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) into an elaborate three-race competition. The cars also have to navigate some off-track intrigue provided by super-spy Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and his sexy partner Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) as they investigate who is sabotaging the eco-fuel used for the competition, provided by tycoon Sir Miles Axelrod (Eddie Izzard).
Co-directed by Brad Lewis, Lasseter’s charmless sequel replaces the homespun values of the original with impressive racetrack backdrops (Porto, Tokyo and London), violent guns-and-missile action, and juvenile comedy from the belching, flatulent Mater. A mechanical slew of pop-culture gags on the level of ‘Is the Popemobile a Catholic?’ indicate a considerable drop in the level of invention from Finding Nemo or Up and, worst of all, there’s none of the artful pathos that’s consistently infused every other Pixar productions to date.
General release from Fri 22 Jul.