If you are after another review utterly panning Pixar’s Cars 2 (2011) then it is perhaps best to keep looking, because I really like the film. As a lifelong James Bond fan, I think this film is a really well judged Bond spoof, as well as just being a lot of fun to watch.
The action of the film is a good balance of car race sequences (which I actually found really exciting) and the spy narrative. Mater’s prominence in the latter sees that character feature much more prominently in this film than he did in the first. No doubt some people hate the character, but to be honest I actually find him, even if he is utterly idiotic, really quite hilarious. The narrative is a really fun globetrotting romp, which serves the purpose of setting up some lovely action set pieces and giving these at times absurd characters the chance to riff of Bond archetypes. There are a few too many coincidences in the third act of the plot but aside from that, the story is fun and serviceable. It is worth noting that just like pretty much all Pixar films, there is a definite note of darkness in Cars 2. A number of cars die in the film in pretty full on ways. Furthermore, it is not just the baddies that are killed in the film, at least one of the goodies is also killed. This is actually a refreshing approach from films that, despite their love from adult audiences, are geared toward kids.
Like any Pixar film, Cars 2 looks absolutely incredible, even if the company’s talents are being put toward a much more ‘kiddy’ aesthetic than in some of their other outings. The film is just so incredibly designed and it is the little things that make all of the difference – the logo in the bottom corner of the screen during the broadcast of the races for example. One thing that I was not so fond of is some of the cultural clichés that the film trades in. The Japan-set portion of the film in particular made me cringe a bunch of times. As for Michael Caine’s work, I love the character that he voices in the film. He plays the expertly named superspy Finn McMissile and the look of his character, a silver Bentley with a pencil thin ‘moustache’ is fantastic. It is amazing how great Caine and this design work as a Bondesque master agent. Makes you wonder how Caine would have done in the iconic role himself.
Cars 2 is not one of Pixar’s best films, but that’s ok because they have an almost uniformly incredible output. I just find this film to be totally satisfying. It is a really clever flick and manages to satisfy both my inner James Bond fan and my inner Pixar fan.
Verdict: Pint of Kilkenny
Don’t forget there is a competition all this week on the blog and all the details are here.