Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is once again racing to prove something in CARS 2, in this case to prove his virility and quiet the taunts of another racer, Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro). In a bold move on Pixar’s part though, McQueen’s brilliantly animated race around the world is downgraded to a secondary plot for the sequel. This allows us to tag along with Mater as he joins forces with Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) to take down a bunch of lemon cars determined to dissuade the world from using new forms of fuel. The lemons are in possession of an untapped oil reserve so alternative energy is their nemesis. All the while, Mater and McQueen’s friendship is tested when McQueen is embarrassed by Mater’s naïve antics. This in turn forces Mater to pop his own hood and look inside so that he can learn to love his own make and model. Good thing too because nobody likes an insecure car.
In many ways, director, John Lasseter (who directed the first CARS and the first two TOY STORY films) has dumbed down the CARS 2 to make it even more accessible. It is completely ludicrous when you piece the plot together but its simplicity allows for a more enjoyable time that I’m certain will get little boys everywhere clamouring for more car toys, especially now that the cars come with guns and missiles attached to them. That said, this is a movie populated with talking machinery so I’m not sure whether ridiculousness should even be a consideration here. As gimmicky and forced as the spy adventure spin is, it adds some serious traction to this budding franchise that should surely carry it safely over the finish line in first place.