Another Day At The Track
Voices of: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine and Emily Mortimer
Director: John Lasseter
Rating: PG for mock violence and crude humor
Running Length: 125 minutes
My, what a busy day at the race track. Cars was a wonderfully animated film about a world populated by cars doing what humans would do and introduced us to Lightning McQueen, a red race car (voice of Owen Wilson) and Mater (voice of Larry The Cable Guy) a rusty, dented tow truck with a heart of gold. Here comes, “Cars 2,” that continues the travels of McQueen, going from country to country trying to win Grand Prix races, and taking along Mater, the bull-in-a-china-shop friend. As such, we have an over-long story and several villains.
Lightning McQueen is invited to participate in a European Grand Prix and ends up having to take along his friend, Mater. This is the humor in the story with Mater having a smile and no manners, resulting in embarrassing situations (bathrooms, and yes, cars have them here) and general mayhem. The reason for the races is because a master villain (when one disappears, another is there) has invented a super oil the cars will use. When this defective oil blows up, the world will go back to gasoline and he will be rich, heh, heh, heh. McQueen, becomes suspicious, and partners with British agents (Michael Caine as an Austin Martin and Emily Mortimer). From here on, there are many chase scenes, narrow escapes, a meeting with the Queen (a Bentley, of course) and Mater’s numerous disguises…about 30 minutes too many of them, because at over two hours, the film drags on. Plus, McQueen is gone for the middle part of the film.
The voice-overs are fine, especially Larry The Cable Guy (want to bet that the next Car film will be he, only?) and Michael Caine. Cars doing what humans would do (bathrooms for men and women) is imaginative. Animation is fine-tuned and finely-tooled. However, the plot is convoluted with much discussion about this new “oil,” and general villain bragging which is over the heads of kids eight and under. At the screening I attended, an elementary school-age child was heard to say halfway through the movie, “I want to go home.” With all the glitz on the screen, there still is something wanting here. Just plain heart.
Copyright 2011 Marie Asner