I absolutely adore the original Cars movie, which is one I can watch repeatedly without hesitation. Sadly, this does not hold true for its sequel, Cars 2.
First of all, it was a bad decision on the opening sequences. It reminds me of why in Herbie Rides Again the original opening was changed, that being that Herbie wasn’t going to be introduced into the story into 8 or 10 minutes in. Well, it’s the same thing here. It starts out like a spy caper, and frankly, who cares? I watched this to see Lightning McQueen, not some other foreign car.
As much as I detest the opening, I do love the tribute to the Hudson Hornet, McQueen’s mentor in the first film. Doc, as the Hudson Hornet was called, was voiced by the late Paul Newman. They did a super job of expressing sadness at Doc’s passing as well as honoring the mentoring relationship between the two. I really appreciated this probably more than anything else in the movie.
On the whole, though, this movie just can’t live up to the magic of the original, not even in the ending. The first movie had so much fun in the credit sequence. This continues to show action, the route home and the places Lightning and the others stop at, but it doesn’t compare in fun or sentiment to Cars.
It’s also just sad not to have more of the original voices, that of the Radiator Springs characters, in more of it. This is really Larry the Cable Guy’s movie as the sidekick, Mater the tow truck. I missed not having more of Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen. The kids begged their parents to go see this more for Lightning than Mater, so I’m sure there was disappointment on that front.
In addition, no offense to Michael Caine as Finn McMissile or Emily Mortimer as Holley Shiftwell, both of whom did have elements of fun in their characters, but I wanted so much more of the original cast. Holley was different and exciting, and I wouldn’t mind seeing her again, but not at the expense of the original cars in the story.
The parts of the story that focused on the relationship between McQueen and Mater were good. At one point, they argue and Mater gets super hurt. It’s amazing how animation can be so successful that you cry at the pain of a rusty tow truck.
Lastly, it was fun to see both Darrell Waltrip as Darrell Cartrip and David Hobbs as David Hobbscap.