“ Genre: Children's DVDs - Disney / Universal, suitable for all / Director: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis / Actors: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, John Ratzenberger ... / DVD released 2011-11-21 at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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Cars 2 is the sequel to the highly popular original Cars film, and features all of your favorite characters from Raditor Springs, as well as several new ones!
The film begins as Lightning McQueen is heading back to Radiator Springs after securing his 3rd Piston Cup win, ready to spend some time with his girlfriend Sally Carrera and best friend Mater the Towtruck (Larry the cable guy). Whilst enjoying a meal out with Sally, Lightning and the gang hear about a new World Grand Prix chamionship that is being promoted on TV by Sir Axlerod (Eddie Izzard), a range rover character that has invented a new bio-fuel called Allinol which would be used in all of the races.
Axlerod has managed to sign up top Formula One car, Francesco Bernoulli, who is being interviewed on TV saying how he'd love to race against Lightning to prove who was the fastest car in the world, but no-one was able to contact McQueen.....meanwhile, Mater has called into the same talkshow to defend Lightning, saying he IS the fastest race car and basically embarrassing him as he usually does! Lightning takes over the call and agrees to appear in the series of 3 races to be held in Tokyo, Porto Corsa (Italy) and London.
The film then sees Lightning, Mater and the rest of his pit crew (Luigi, Guido, Fillmore and Sarge) travel to Japan to take part in the first race. Somehow, Mater gets mixed up in a seperate storyline of his own when he meets British Spies Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) who are trying to stop the evil Professor Zundapp and his mysterious boss....as they plan to use a powerful weapon disguised as a TV camera to activate an explosion in the Allinol fuel to take cars out of the race.
The 2 stories are obviously linked and as the McQueen loses the first race, he blames Mater for giving him wrong information though the headset, when really Mater had had a device planted on him by the British spies that enabled them to speak to him too. When speaking to the spies 'voices in his head', Lightning thought he was giving him instructions that made him lose so he told Mater he'd be better off without him.
The racers then head to Italy where Lightning wins without Maters disruption, but cars are still being blown up by the bad guys TV camera. Sir Axlerod comes out to issue a statement to the press saying the final race will take place in London, but none of the cars will be forced to use Allinol as the fuel cannot be confirmed as safe.
Race day comes in London, and all manner of bonkers stuff is happening with Mater and the spies behind the scenes, I'm not going to spoil it for you at this point....but there are bombs, rocket powered engines, being tied up in Big 'Ben'tley clock tower, the queen and madcap car chases!
Despite Mater being sent home by McQueen in Japan, he inevitably saves the day in the end and he finally manages to tell McMissile and Shiftwell that he isn't really a spy and they planted the device on the wrong car! They now believe him, but invite him on further missions after his performance as a spy, which he politely turns down as he wants to spend time with his best friend, Lightning McQueen.
The film has a lot of action, and is obviously moulded on a James Bond style theme. I've seen it about 6 times so far and I'm still picking up on details that I missed on previous watches, and for this reason it's probably not as good as original Cars for younger viewers as it is quite hard for an adult to follow the plot fully! My 2 year old does however know all the characters names from the new film and it features a cameo from Lewis Hamilton as a Black sports car with his trademark gap between his front teeth, nice touch!.
The voice acting matches the animation very well and as usual from a Pixar film, the animation itself is top class. Attention to detail is amazing, which is why I'm still noticing little touches here and there after 6 viewings! Some characters from the first film, although in Cars 2, are very much peripheral figures with no real role to play in how the film pans out. The new main characters; Professor Zundapp, Sir Axlerod, Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell all have very different personalities and portray the corresponding 'Bond' characters to a cartoony tee! Kids obviously won't get the Bond connection, but my little one enjoys it for what it is.
It's definitely not as simple to follow as the first incarnation and you get the feeling that the main character in this one is Mater rather than Lightning McQueen. It does however provide entertainment for the whole family and is a great film in its own right.
So most people will have heard of Cars - a very popular Pixar feature film - but, personally, I took one look at it and thought that it was the stupidest thing I'd ever seen. Personally, I thought it was a stupid idea and the whole concept seemed really annoying to me. That said, I never in a million years thought that I'd be sat in a cinema screen watching the sequel. Cars 2. I was, unfortunately, dragged to the cinema by a small ten year old boy to see this movie and I have to be honest, I was dreading it! But the strange this is... I actually really enjoyed it... or at least I could see why kids would enjoy it. I was really quite surprised at myself! But that's what happened. I guess this shows that you should never judge a movie before that you've seen it because you could end up being pleasantly surprised!
If I had to sum up what I think Cars 2 is about in just one sentence I'd probably say: A funny children's James Bond with anthropomorphic cars. Basically, Lightning McQueen decides to participate in a new racing series called the 'World Grand Prix'. After persuasion from his girlfriend, McQueen agrees to allow his best friend, Mater, to accompany him; however, Mater - a clutzy tow-truck - repeatedly embarrasses celebrity McQueen and so Mater decides to go home. At the same time, oil tycoons are plotting to secure oil profits by making all Allinoil fuel catch fire during the race and subsequently these cars would be severely damaged and unable to compete. This would make the public doubt the safety of the Allinoil and so they would rely further on the tycoon's oil instead. Two British spies try to stop this from happening and attempt to meet with an American spy who will give them more information on the mastermind behind this plot; however, these two spies mistake Mater for their American contact and so he gets sucked into the world of spies. Then the rest of the story kicks off and the action begins.
As for the movie itself, I thought that the animation was absolutely brilliant. The movements were flawless and smooth, not that I really expected anything less from Pixar, and there was such attention to detail. The action is this movie is perfect with all the cool moves, the big explosions and random things flying through the air. Whoever did did the graphics and animation for this really deserves a pat on the back. Although most of the movie looks like a real child's animation, at one point, I really did think that the setting looked realistic. In addition, I thought the soundtrack was excellent, and it's extremely rare for me to actually notice the soundtrack in a children's animation. The suspense music was sleek and spy-like to give the movie a suave and cool edge, and they had cheesy music playing in all the funny moments which just made the whole experience that much funnier.
The voices and accents are excellent and the actor's all do a great job of portraying their car's personality. There are quite a lot of famous names behind the cars with Owen Wilson, Larry The Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Jason Isaacs, Emily Mortimer, Lewis Hamilton and many many more! Sometimes the voices don't quite match their characters or they just feel out of place, but in this movie they really do seem to embody the cars and take on their personalities.
I especially loved how each and every car had it's own personality and you could tell from just one look at it's model/colour/size/design exactly what sort of car it was. There are loads and loads of cars in this movie and they're all different and unique. Even the 'extras' were all really well animated an designed and not all of the characters are cars! There are also anthropomorphic planes/boats/trains, which is all great fun.
I genuinely thought that this movie was quite funny. The design of the cars is an over-exaggerated version of their personality so there are cars with buckteeth, eyepieces, French moustaches, all sorts! Their 'accessories' are also matched by their accents, be it Italian, West American or British. My favourite line was: 'Wasabi?' 'Oh same old, same old, what's up with you?'
Cars 2 received mixed reviews, with most critics saying that although visually it was brilliant, the plot didn't match up. I disagree. I thought that this was a funny and heart warming tale about a car who's mistaken for a spy and is thrust into a world he doesn't understand. There were some really emotional moments where the cars showed what real friendship and love is which was awfully cute. Perhaps it's more like Alex Rider or Agent Cody Banks than James Bond as the protagonist wasn't that suave and he was new to the whole 'spy' thing. This was a funny secret agent movie with cars instead of humans. There were plenty of high speed chases, explosions, camouflages, car crashes etc. I think that the plot was interesting for the kids and highly entertaining, so I'm going to ignore all the bad reviews.
This may sound stupid, but whilst watching this movie, I didn't even think that what was going on was that unrealistic. I thought it was going to be ridiculous, but I was actually so immersed in the world of Cars that I actually started to believe that Cars could actually have feelings. Initially I thought that as cars don't have arms or legs they couldn't possibly make the characters in this mimic the actions of humans, but somehow, they can! I love how they adapted everything from our world to match theirs, especially when the characters were in Tokyo - or should I say, Towkyo. They actually captured the Japanese culture really well with sumo wrestling and Japanese theatre - everything you would expect - the only difference is, all the characters are cars. There was the same attention to detail when the cars all came to London. There were the iconic big, red, double decker buses and even a car who was the 'Queen' of England! My favourite sort of foreign scene was when Mater went to the loo in Tokyo. Now in most oriental countries, the public toilets is still a hole in the ground, and I was glad (and amused) to see that they used these 'hole-in-the-ground' toilets AND that they were extremely high-tech (there was even a TV in there), which sort of mocked how good Japan is with technology.
All in all, with bright colours, lively action and catchy music, this makes for an excellent family film. The kids around me were captivated from the very beginning with the humour and cheesy banter and I highly recommend you take your kids to see this. (Even if you don't have kids I think you'll enjoy this as this is one for all ages!)
This summer I looked after my grandson for a few weeks in the summer holidays. We were lucky enough to get to see the new release Cars 2 in glorious 3D, the long-awaited sequel to Cars, the movie. Jack doesn't see many movies as both his parents work full time, so for both of us any holiday has to include at least one film trip. Now the DVD has finally been released I thought it time to review the film only.
Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), has taken time off from racing to see his girlfriend Sally and his best friend Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) in Radiator Springs, the town where he learnt a lot about both racing and friendship in the first film. He's been looking forwards to spending time with his friends and hanging out with Mater, the old Tow truck but when Mater sees a TV advert for the first World Grand Prix, he wants McQueen to take on the challenge and defeat the big-mouthed Italian car Francesco Bernoulli (John Torturro). Reluctantly McQueen agrees and he promises not only to take his friends from the town to act as his crew, but he's going to take Mater along with him.
The first World Grand Prix is being held in three stages, taking in Japan, Europe and finishing in Italy after racing through several different countries. At the first stop in Japan there's a reception held for the racing cars and Mater gets mistaken for a secret agent by the British master spy Finn McMissile (Michael Caine), along with the untried new agent Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer).
Mater isn't used to being at the center of attention and gets flustered. There's a sad scene where he 'leaks oil' in his excitement (a human equivalent of wetting himself) and he's so embarrassed that he goes to the 'toilet' where he meets McMissile and Holly. But McQueen doesn't believe Mater and as his behavior becomes more bizarre McQueen sends his friend away. Will McQueen really banish his friend and what will happen when the real crooks catch up with Mater? I would hate to spoil the plot, so that's where I'll leave the rest for you to follow.
In the meantime there's plenty of action and some fascinating and spectacular scenery and some inspired sequences where the crowds of cars act as a backdrop to the racing events, in the same way as humans would act. It's cleverly done but the audience of children are just taken up with the on-screen action. The cars act like their human counterparts, right down to touching wheels as a greeting, much like friends clasping hands. At the launch the cars have drinks and Mater manages to eat some fiery food, setting off lots of laughter.
The Japanese sequences are so clever it goes over the kid's heads entirely and I thought it rather too grown-up for a kid's film, but excellent fun for adults. In the bathroom sequence Mater is put through a type of wash & Brush-up including some rather delicate flushing of his rear end. The car's rooms are classic tiny Japanese style cubicles and the whole concept is quite bizarre.
There again, the fun doesn't stop with poking a little fun at stereotypes. When the race gets to Britain the sky is grey, it's raining and London has red buses. Big Ben becomes Big Bentley and there is some special action that goes on there with the whole spy concept with a storyline that's more noticeable to the adult viewer. Jack didn't really take much of it in. He asked me what the spy parts were about afterwards and I think he understood enough to enjoy the film, but it didn't matter that it was all about oil wars and alternative fuel.
He was far too excited with the special effects and the fun and games with Mater getting some secret weapons and a thrilling aerial sequence with Siddeley the British spy plane. Of course he recognized London since he lives there but when the race went past Buckingham Palace and the Queen (Vanessa Redgrave) the cars actually managed to take on the characters of their roles. Of course with Michael Caine taking a starring role as the top British Spy the 'nod' to The Italian Job was brilliant, especially since the end of the race and the end of the spies plotting came together in Rome.
We both loved the film and the whole thing was exceptionally well planned from beginning to end. I took Jack to see it again in October and he enjoyed it just as much. This time I caught more of the nuances and saw how clever it was. But overall it was fun and that's what matters. If you haven't seen it yet then it really is best in 3D but with the DVD just released and selling for £11 on Amazon, it's one of those films that kids will watch several times before they outgrow it.
A full five stars from me.