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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 29 July 2011
The 4-star rating above composes 3 stars for the story and 5 for the animation - I err on the side of generosity as, of course, Cars 2 is not as bad as the critics said. They didn't particularly like the original Cars, so they were unlikely to welcome a sequel with open arms, especially one with Mater as the main character! But this isn't a straightforward sequel that leaves the spirit of the original intact. I found it surprisingly violent. Other reviewers commented on the torture scene - and that's not the only nasty moment. It definitely should have got the PG rating mysteriously allocated to its predecessor which was really a U. The set pieces are spectacular, but as this film sets off doggedly down the action movie route there is little counterbalancing character development or emotional buy-in that distinguish Pixar at its best. Given that the original file has cult status among under-10 boys, I felt that the plot is quite complex for younger children to grasp, even if they're not bothered by the violence. At least this will make it watchable for a repeat viewing.

Following the success of "Mater's Tall Tales", Mater has obviously emerged as the most popular (or marketable, or John Lasseter's favourite) Cars character, so Pixar decided to make him the central character in Cars 2. Having closed the loop on Radiator Springs in the original film they needed a McGuffin to make "Mater's Tall Tales the Movie" work. Unfortunately the vehicle (no pun) chosen is a spy film, a rather dated genre which sends the film off down a violent action path with very limited opportunity for character development (think: when did you last care about anyone in a James Bond film?) It also sidelines the racing theme - surely the unique selling point of a film about anthropomorphic cars - along with most of the strong characters from the first film. Even Lightning McQueen plays second fiddle to Mater.

The original Cars was criticised, unfairly, for its long slow middle section. But, this did give time for character development so sorely lacking here. Cars 2 over compensates by accelerating into rocket speed in the middle after a fast start and not slowing up until the end.

On the positive side the animation is truly amazing (and will be equally amazing in 2D). If only it had a better story to tell! As a digitially animated London whisked past at rocket speed towards the end I felt that a lot of talent - and money (it cost $200 million to make!) had been splurged in making a film that's not the sum of what went into it. I left the cinema dazzled, slightly disappointed but hoping that there will be a successor. Like Shrek the Third, Cars 2 really isn't a bad film, but it has let down its predecessor and needs a final chapter to redeem the franchise. But please, Pixar, don't make Mater's Tall Tales 2!

** Update after rewatching on DVD - In my heart of hearts I can't justify this film being any higher than 3 stars so have downgraded my review rating. There are many fine vignettes and details in this film (yes, that is Gusteau's Restaurant from Ratatouille renamed as Gastow's, plus watch out for "British Wheeland" references and the car with headlight eyes in the Paris market scene). Also the plot is much more understandable a second time. But for all cleverness the film lacks the warmth of the original Cars: a definite 5-star film, or indeed virtually everything else in Pixar's back catalogue. The paucity of bonuses on the DVD tells its own story: "Air Mater" (a new Mater's Tall Tales - advertising the forthcoming "Planes") and the Toy Story toon which accompanied the cinema release. No making-of documentary, studio stories or director's commentary. Plus the biggest give way of the lot: the word "Classic" on back of the DVD box. Last time I saw this was on Chicken Little - need I say more! Even the technical expertise of the animation screams vanity project. I think Pixar realise that they've produced a 24-carat misfire and this film will sink faster than Finn McMissile when he abandons the oil rig in the opening sequence.
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Pixar films are always spectacular on Blu-ray, and 'Cars 2' continues this trend with its direct digital transfer (1080p/AVC MPEG-4, 2.35:1 aspect ratio). Colour, detail, texture, and depth are nothing short of jaw dropping in every scene. What always amazing me in Pixar films is how, despite the fact that it's a cartoon, textures for water, painted metal, paved streets, and various other surfaces all look photo realistic. Tokyo and London in particular will be a showstopper for home cinema enthusiasts. The bright neon signs contrast nicely with wet surface streets, inky black skies and shadowy alleys. Buckingham Palace and all the historic sites are so realistic. Pixar films are known for their attention to detail, not only in terms of technical achievement, but in filling every pixel with information. (5/5)


The 7.1 DTS-HD MA surround track is pure auditory delight. While not nearly as aggressive as something like a 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon', this track is filled with bombastic bass, perfect voice work, outstanding panning, and an array of discrete effects that will suck any listener into the world of 'Cars 2'. (5/5)


Miles Axelrod's engine (referred to by Mater as the worst engine ever made) is a 3.9 liter Rover V8, which was installed in Land Rover Defenders from 1994-1998. Lightning McQueen calls Sir Miles Axlerod "Sir Axlerod" several times. The correct way to address him would be "Sir Miles"; a knight is addressed as "Sir" followed by his first name.

In the Paris scenes, a rooftop sign is visible in the distance, for a restaurant called "Gastow's". The restaurant and sign are a parody of "Gusteau's," the restaurant that is the main setting of Pixar's Ratatouille.

Finn McMissile (voiced by Michael Caine)'s license plate - 314-FNMC - includes Michael Caine's birthday, March 14th.

This is also the first John Lasseter-directed Pixar film not to have a score by Randy Newman.

At the End Credit, I realized that voice of Jeff Gordon (NASCAR racer) was used for Jeff Korvette, and Formula 1 racer Lewis Hamilton as!

It has a budget of $200 million. The domestic box office gross was disappointing ($190 million), while the Worldwide box office gross faired better ($548 million).

'Cars 2' takes a cue from successful sequels like 'Aliens' by changing genres. Gone is the ode to Small Town Americana, and in its place we have a spy thriller parody set against an exotic international racing tournament sponsored by an alternate energy fuel. Beside genre, the big shift from 'Cars' to 'Cars 2' is the lead character. While NASCAR racer Lightning McQueen is still here, tow truck sidekick, Mater, takes center stage when his fish out of water antics get him mistaken for a spy. There is much more action in Cars 2 than Cars 1.

From the trailers, I learn that the next Pixar film for theatre in 2012 is called Brave, while for 2013, the film will be the theme of Cars as live characters.

'Cars 2' is an entertaining spy thriller/comedy with reference quality HD video and 7.1 audio. The film itself is very good, but doesn't quite live up to the other Pixar films in terms of emotional investment. Anyway, it is an enjoyable film with top-notched video and audio. Highly recommended.
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on 3 October 2016
Like Cars, but more action based with a more involved storyline / plot. Younger children may not fully understand everything going on, but my three year old insists on watching it daily anyway. Recommended!
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on 9 October 2016
Bought this to replace the last one we had, my sons attempts to put the DVD in by himself caused damage to the old one. Quick delivery, fab price, and worth every penny to keep my two year old happy
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on 2 February 2016
A good film for kids and grownups to watch - my 20 month old grandson loves it as does my wife.
The star is really not Lightening Macqueen as the cover implies but Mater and the British secret intelligence cars.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 July 2011
This is the first Pixar movie ever that I did not totally adore - it was OK, but no more. Below you will find the reasons why - in my personal opinion - "Cars 2" is much weaker than the original.

1. The story, part 1 - producers wanted a car/spy movie referring to James Bond franchise and they got it, but the price for it is a plot both complicated and - for the first time in Pixar's movies - simply stupid! Also, I am certain that smaller children who never watched any James Bond movies (or any spy movies for that matter) will not get the story and get confused. Which is more, all the shooting, crashing, exploding and bombing are in my modest opinion out of place in a kid's movie. And to complete the picture, there is even a quite scary scene of TORTURE and MURDER of a spy car by the bad guys!

2. The story, part 2 - I personally found that some elements of plot are quasi racist! The bad guys (or rather the bad cars) are all the obsolescent marks from countries of former East block (Zigoulis, Zastavas, Yugos, Trabants, etc.), who are ugly, cheap, frequently disfunctionning, leaking oil, etc. They are in fact the lowest proletariat in "Cars" world. Frankly it could be a good idea to make the movie about renovation of those old and rather pathetic cars (like converting them to more ecologic fuels) which could give them some kind of a future and a place in society - but instead they are presented as murderous villains! Now that is a great idea to show your little kids - if somebody is poor and down on his luck, speaks with foreign accent, looks foreign, wear used clothes and obviously suffers, he/she is obviously dangerous and must be destroyed by classy people!

3. Mater - he was an absolute delight in the first movie, as a simple (OK, really simple) village guy, amateur of simple pleasures, but who could at the right moment deliver a piece of deep wisdom coming not from his brain but from his genuinely good, honest heart; in this movie first he appears as a completely babbling idiot with bad manners - before turning into a super hero in the last five minutes as if he has been touched by a magic wand... That is a real let down for such a lovely and successful character...

4. All the wonderful and colourful four wheeled "people" from Radiator Springs appear just in cameos - the whole movie turns around Lightning McQueen, Mater, the two good spies, one Italian racing car and a horde of evil doers. Doc Hudson obviously couldn't be around anymore - but Sally, Red, Sarge, Fillmore, Luigi, Sheriff, Flo and others are almost inexistent.

5. More generally, the heart warming gentle message of the first movie is totally missing in action and the whole ending and plot solution seem totally artificial.

That being said, most kids should like this film, with all the racing and shooting appealing may be slightly more to the little boys than girls. Still, I think that children between 4 and 7 years will not understand much, they will probably get scared in some moments and I am afraid they will really not like the scene of torture and execution of car by the bad guys.

I felt a little bit sad leaving the cinema. Until now, Pixar managed to make a perfect run - from the first "Toy Story" to the "Toy Story 3" their movies brought something new, beautiful and precious in kids movies, to such point that even the grownups could enjoy them fully and learn some life lessons from them. "Cars 2" however is something different, made hastily, of lesser quality and even a little bit ugly in some moments - and it seems to me that it was made first and before all to help sell "Cars" merchandise... and it shows on the screen... I really hope that with "Brave" which is due for opening next year Pixar will come back to its former great shape.
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on 11 September 2011
I should probably start by saying that the first Cars film ranks in my top 5 movies of all time. With it, Pixar managed to tell an engaging and original story with a heartfelt message through the use of cutting edge graphics and technology. It was a film that was truly more than the sum of its parts.

Unfortunately, with Cars 2 the opportunity to build on what made the first such a stellar piece of storytelling was forsaken by a lack of focus all around.

The plot, as others have mentioned, is multithreaded and confusing. This is uncharacteristic of Pixar, whose films have always focused on story first. As a spy film, it's merely ok. As a moral tale of alternative energy, it's weak (alternative fuel has been invented, but wait -- no it hasn't?). There is no character arc for any of the leads (whereas McQueen's character arc was what made the first film so touching). Francesco himself starts out as an arrogant foil to McQueen, but never learns his lesson or has an opportunity to change. He simply gets forgotten by the wayside as the story about the faux-alternative fuel takes center stage.

As for the merchandising, this is where I am baffled. Prior to seeing the film, I was excited to see all the new characters from Francesco to Raoul to Carla Veloso and Jeff Gorvette. Most of these new characters don't even have speaking parts! All that creativity is simply squandered.

As a final note, who was it that saw Cars 1 and then thought, "I know, if we add guns & bombs we can make a sequel that will be awesome."

In light of alternatives for children such as Tangled, Toy Story or even Sammy the Turtle, the more I think about it, the fewer stars this film deserves.
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VINE VOICEon 25 November 2011
It's credit to Pixar that Cars 2 is considered a bad film. Had any other studio made this (and the first Cars, for that matter), they would have been recevied a lot better, I think. But, by Pixar standards, this is one of their weakest, for sure.

But that doesn't mean it's a bad film overall. Don't be put off by the negativity you may read: this is a GOOD film. Not great, and certainly not one of their best, but still enjoyable and satisfying.

Trouble is, Cars 2 is the polar opposite of the first one, which isn't exactly a good thing. There was plenty to like about the first Cars: relaxed pace, heartwarming story, meaningful characters...still, Lasseter seems to have taken the poor reception to the first film to heart, and swung right in the other direction with Cars 2. What we end up with is fast, slick and action-packed, but lacks a soul.

It starts well, and the globetrotting theme seemed like a great idea - the Tokyo segment is excellent. But it quickly gets tedious, and just as you settle in one place, off we go to the next destination. Do we get exciting, dazzling locations? Yes. But it feels like they chose the places they wanted to take Lightning and friends first, then decided how they were going to fit the story around it after. So it feels very stretched.

The plot itself is very complicated. I wouldn't worry about little kids being confused, as there's plenty of dazzle and vroom-vrooms to keep them entertained, but don't be surpried if you have to stop and answer a few questions for them - and answer some of your own too.

So as the whole thing tangles itself in knots to keep the spy-plot, racing-plot and jetsetting tied together, by the time you reach the climax don't be surprised if you have no idea who's doing what and why.

But that all being said, Cars 2 is still a fun film. In a way, its kind of a relief that Pixar made a film like this. Sinces the last Cars film we've had Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up and Toy Story 3. They were all adult-heavy and quite serious, so it's nice to see Pixar going to back to making something light and fizzy that won't shred your emotions when you watch it.

Cars 2 is worth a look, for sure. It's by no means a bad film, but don't go expecting anything amazing. No wheels are re-invented here, only spun and skidded.
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on 27 August 2016
My son absolutely loves this film, and I have to admit I quite enjoy it too. It possibly isn't quite as good as the first one, but it still merits 5 stars in my view. The story is good fun and the little car related changes made to everyday life things in the film are great.
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on 29 November 2011
Hi all,just a note after recieving this with a degree of caution{after reading of problems with the 3d disk and samsung players in usa}it seems indeed there is a problem.
The film stops and returns to the previous chapter or will freeze for a period of time?if you google cars 2 problems you will see what i mean.After contact with Samsung today they are sending me a usb key containing the newest firmware{ive installed the newest available via internet but seemingly this is a newer version not yet online}so i hope that works?they deny any knowledge of this problem and that may be just the operators genuine ignorance,other than that the "normal"bluray played but not the bonus disk???? ..For Samsung owners my model is the bdd5500 and has played everything no problems so i think the disk is fine {maybe its being produced under a new system etc}but sammys dont like it.
Just a heads up.
However as the disk is about £17 for normal bluray on the high st id grab this and hope it all gets sorted out!
ps the digital copy is very low res.
Hope this helps.
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