Based on the success of the first movie, it’s no surprise that there was a sequel to Cars, the CGI-animated movie about anthromorphic cars. In a way, it was kind of like a full-length version of an old Tex Avery cartoon. Cars 2 brings back a lot of the characters from the first movie, most notably champion race car Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) and hillbilly tow truck Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy), and takes them around the world. This makes for some interesting situations, especially with Mater, who a lot of the focus seems to be on this time around.
In the new movie, Lightning McQueen is invited to take part in the “World Grand Prix”, a series of races set around the world hosted by Miles Axelrod (Eddie Izzard), now a green power advocate. Axelrod wants to use the races to promote his new Allinol biofuel. With Mater in tow, Lightning heads off to the first race in Japan, where Mater’s antics lead to some embarrassing situations.
Soon, however, Mater finds himself caught up in a spy plot as a mysterious group, led by Professor Zundapp (Thomas Kretschmann), wants to create a series of accidents to discredit Allinol and keep the world dependent on oil. Mater is mistaken as the American contact for British spies Finn McMissile (Michael Cain) and Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer), who are trying to both stop the plot and expose the mastermind behind it all. It all leads to some adventures that are both exciting and humorous as Mater bungles his way through it all, while at the same trying to fix his fractured friendship with Lightning.
From the plot, the movie seems to be a spoof on spy thrillers, most notably the James Bond films. The character of Finn McMissile himself is designed to resemble a car 007 might drive, right down to the fancy gadgets and weapons built into him. And it makes it more appropriate that he’s voiced by Michael Cain, who’s no stranger to the spy-film game due to his Harry Palmer character. Throw in traps, a shadowy organization out to ruin a way to help the world for their own selfish reasons, and plenty of twists and turns to go along with the action, and you got all the elements from a good spy movie. Obviously, a lot of things are toned down or taken out (such as the romantic elements) to make things a bit more kid friendly, but it’s still enjoyable.
Much of the movie seems to focus on Mater this time around rather than Lightning, which makes sense since Lightning being mistaken for a spy would be too obvious and not as funny. Also, watching Mater bungle around in a foreign country like Japan, while cliche, is still funny. He does the classic bit of having a first experience with the infamous super-spicy condiment known as wasabi (he mistakes it for ice cream and wants lots of it), which is funny to watch no matter how many times you see it. Of course, this causes some strain on his friendship with Lightning, who of course is embarrassed by it all, which itself makes the attempts to make up during the film’s climax that more funnier.
Cars 2 gets a day and date release on blu-ray with the regular edition in addition to the blu-ray 3d combo pack. In regards to the video quality on the blu-ray itself it’s definitely top notch like many other Disney releases before it. The 3d portion is pretty spectacular in itself with plenty of moments for the 3rd dimension to shine. You just gotta love the spy thriller scenes, and the fun that they bring a long with it. The video quality is total eye candy blu-ray so you should be pleased to know.
Cars 2 on blu-ray 3d comes with an action packed DTS HD Master audio 7.1 surround track that will blow your socks off. Obviously during high points of dialogue the center channel and fronts will bear most of the load, but when it’s times for the Cars to start roaring and screeching you get an incredible sound engulfing experience. The sub punches hard when needed and the rears get great ambiance noise down pat. Nothing to complain about in the audio department. Stellar!
The Cars 2 Blu-ray 3d combo pack comes with a nice set of extras including many bonus Easter eggs to which you will find listed below. Enjoy!
Audio Commentary with Directors John Lasseter and Brad Lewis.
Hawaiian Vacation feature Toy Story 3 animated short
Air Mater: Another animated short.
Radiator Springs: Showcases an alternate opening and slideshow on disc 2.
The Pacific: Show cases a behind the scenes look at the opening scene plus a slideshow. Additionally, if you press down while highlighting “The Pacific” tab you can gain access to four Easter eggs.
London: Catching up on the London part of the movie, you get to learn much of it plus see a UK trailer and another hidden gem. Press up when on the “London” tab to access another Easter egg.
Paris: A deleted scene race rounds out this one with some other small features.
Munich: 3 funny extra scenes, trailer, and slide show.
Prague: One alternate opening scene plus slideshow.
Porta Costa: More scenes, slideshows, and Easter eggs. Access the egg when on the “Porta Costa” tab.
Tokyo: Quite a few extra scenes here, a Japanese trailer, plus slideshow. Again, press down while on the “Tokyo” tab to access yet another Easter egg.
Emeryville: Back in USA, you can watch the US trailer, view a slideshow and partake in the annual show.
Sneak Peek: The Nuts & Bolts of Cars Land
Sneak Peeks and Trailers
The new movie continues a lot of the elements from the first movie, like car-themed versions of famous landmarks (easy to guess what “Big Bentley” is based on), but having the movie change locations around the world helps as we get to see what they can do with the various international cars. Between that, the comedy provided by Mater and the spy-thriller part of the story, it makes for an interesting movie. Definitely worth checking out, especially if you enjoyed the first movie. PQ and AQ are top notch and the edition boasts quite a few extras as well. This is definitely one that is fun for the whole family and has a lot of value in regards to the extra content. Highly recommended.