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Movie Review: Cars 2

June 25th, 2011

Mater and McQueen

      By now the vast majority of die hard auto enthusiasts have either stayed up late to catch the midnight showing, or ventured to the theatre at a normal hour to watch Disney Pixar’s Cars 2. Children or no children, we have made viewing this movie a priority. After the delightful tale of Lightning McQueen, Mater, and the gang from Radiator Springs in the 2006 Cars movie, auto enthusiasts were begging for more. Cars 2 proves to take the franchise in a very different direction as our beloved automobiles venture away from Route 66 to exotic locations around the globe.
      The most significant gear change in this movie is the repositioning of Mater as the central vehicle, while McQueen takes on more of a supporting role. We could list out the minute details of all the voice actors, but by now who is not familiar with Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, and Bonnie Hunt’s voices behind the grilles? Other significant upgrades in this movie are found in the extreme level of detail stitched into every scene, whether it be the automotive inspired architecture or the significant lack of dumbed-down ‘any-cars’ in each scene. This level of automotive minutia leaves those with an owner’s manual of car knowledge wishing the movie would slow down. Each scene is filled with cars that are largely or entirely based on real cars from every era and continent. Sure there are certain brands whose names and fascia have been altered to protect the guilty, but this merely adds to the fun.
      The movie is not without mild automotive blunders. For instance, an early scene in Radiator Springs along the Mother Road features character based on a FIAT Punto. Apparently, in this alternate universe where Cars replace people, FIAT’s were not banished from importation to the United States during the 1980s. No matter, it is watching for details like these that make a car moving worth watching. How many times has the typical car-guy spotted a vehicle that is out of place for its era in one movie or another. Perhaps Pixar was hoping to help us feed that attention to detail by allowing us to find some of these discrepancies. There also seems to be a disproportionate number of BMW 2002’s in this film, which is hardly a complaint!
      For those taking children, be forewarned that the movie takes some automotively violent hairpin turns that have us recalling the opening scenes of ‘Finding Nemo’ where we are asking ourselves if this was intended to be a kids movie. No worries, as the damaged sheet metal is implied rather than explicitly shown.
      The auto enthusiast would do well to skip reading any of the reviews published by the mainstream media. Decent plot and character development are things for movie critics to worry about and auto journalists to dismiss, even though we had no complaints. We must say that this is a movie that the enthusiast will watch time and time again with finger poised over the pause button ready to enjoy all the details Pixar knows only the car guy or gal can fully appreciate.

The Good:
Automotive animation taken to the next level, whether it be England’s ‘Big Bentley’ clock tower, Italy’s Popemobile, or the JDM Honda Civics in Tokyo.
The Bad:
A bit too much automotive violence for young eyes.
The Verdict:
A must see movie that reminds one just what makes an individual an auto enthusiast.
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