Cars 2

Cars 2 PosterThe dynamic duo return to the silver screen once more, but this time, Mater is the hero. After a challenge from an arrogant Italian racecar, Lightning McQueen travels to Tokyo Japan with his best friend to compete in the World Grand Prix for the title of the world’s fastest racecar. However, it immediately becomes apparent that this trip won’t be a smooth ride.

First off, Mater isn’t exactly on his home turf in the big city, rubbing fenders with celebrities. Lightning endures a number of embarrassments due to the good ol’ tow truck’s antics. On top of that, amidst all the fanfare of the racing championship, Mater runs into his own adventure. International espionage. And it compromises Lightning’s chances of winning.

Mater’s adventure also introduces us to a new cast of all-car characters. Secret agents, menacing villains, you name it they’re in it. I went into the movie very skeptical about the spy angle. After all, how were they going to pull off spy cars? The same way they pulled off talking ones. Fin McMissile and Holly Shiftwell were well executed as spies.

The Good

As in the previous movie, Mater was lovely. He had witty one liners and several laugh out loud moment. From Wasabi, to the bathrooms, I got a kick out of all of it. Especially since you have the loveable country bumpkin experiencing the culturally rich Japan. In all the wrong ways. A couple of Popemobile comments were amusing, and the Queen was funny with her little tiara.

The themes in this movie are pretty cut and dry. Love your friends for who they are and cherish all the aspects of life. This last theme really hit home when Mater gives his reasons for keeping his dents. It was priceless. Rather than have his dents smoothed out, he decides to keep them, imperfections though they be, because each one reminds him of an event from his past, many of which he shared with Lightning. Later in the film another dented car is inspired to follow his lead. The message is clear: The bumps and bruises of life make us who we are, and it’s better to embrace them than wish them away.

The Bad

Content-wise the movie was pretty clean.

There was mild sexual undertone in some of the comments aimed at the snazzy open wheeled Italian racer. However, it was subtle enough that my brothers probably only picked up on the swoony girl affect and not the deeper underlying innuendo.

Mater has some water-spraying encounters with a Japanese toilet, and there is a piece of crude humor involving a public oil leak, which is played up as leaking bodily fluids. There is also a brief gambling scheme.

You would think Violence wouldn’t be an issue in a film like this. After all, it’s cars going up in flames. Nothing gory or bloody, right? Well, I would agree, but I feel it my duty to bring up the big controversy I have heard over the “torture” scene in the movie. Honestly, I wasn’t even positive how the car was being tortured until I reanalyzed the scene. Basically the American spy’s engine is being revved to the point where his fluids are supposedly boiling (which we don’t see, obviously, it is implied). The car sweats and begins to smoke some. When the car dies from the “torture” the screen fades out. We see faint flames, letting us know he caught on fire and blew up.

This was not really a concern for me. The torture was very carsish, not humanistic in the slightest. I understand the concern that the car has a face, and thus it still constitutes as torture of a sentient being, but the movie was G rated for a reason. It’s not violent in the sense that it is violating. Cars crash, things blow up, but all in all it is very mild violence. That’s my take though. Some people are a lot more sensitive to their children seeing torture at all. My family believes you should not hide truth or life; you should prepare kids for it. This would have to be a decision parents make based on the ability of their children to handle it.

Conclusion

Overall, the movie was cute and worth seeing, if only for Mater! I also liked the humanness of McQueen. He’s still that changed car from the end of the first movie, but he deals with some pride issues still. Who of us that have ever struggled with it, don’t? I felt the characters were the guys I left in the last movie, so consistency was good. I also fell in love with Mater all over again. I was rooting for, and loved McQueen, but this was Mater’s movie.

The ending did get a bit cheesy in a few areas, and some dialogue could have been stronger. Honestly, I was far more in love with the first one. Its plot was better, smoother, and had uniqueness to it that this ending lacked. While Cars 2 started out strong, in the end, I felt I had seen too many elements used in other stories. It was the typical friend wounds friend, friend leaves, friend feels bad for friend, friend saves friend, and friends embrace and forgive all.

I didn’t regret going to see this movie, but I didn’t fall in love with it like the first one. It just didn’t have that emotional tug at the end that affected my heart. I didn’t cry when I watched Cars, but I certainly had a hitch in my throat when McQueen pushed The King over the finish line and made his heart tugging speech. There was no hitch in my throat when this one ended.

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