Cars 2

 
Cars sequel revs up action and mixes in spy thrills.
  • Review Date: June 24, 2011
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 113 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Although the movie isn't educational at first glance, kids will pick up information about alternative fuel and why you should never underestimate your own knowledge and abilities. They also get an amusing look at Japanese, Italian, and English culture and landmarks.

Positive messages

Mater learns to stop doubting himself and his intelligence and have the confidence necessary to help defeat the criminals of the story. Lightning McQueen accepts that Mater doesn't need to change to fit in with Lightning's slick racing buddies.

Positive role models

Mater is a loving, selfless friend. He's willing to put himself at risk even though he's not really a trained spy. Lightning and Mater are wonderful examples of best friends who may not seem like they have a lot in common but love each other just the way they are and always have each other's backs -- or in this case, trunks.

Violence & scariness

There's definitely more violence here than in the original -- the evil Professor Z and his henchcars use guns, chase other cars until they crash, and even kill two cars (one with a compactor, leaving him a crumpled square of metal, the other by torturing him with their secret weapon). Several characters get "dents" and other injuries from their run-ins with the villainous vehicles. Voice-commanded technology allows Mater, Holley, and Finn to use sophisticated weapons in their high-speed chases.

Sexy stuff

Lightning refers to Sally as "his girl," and Mater flirts with Holley. Groupie female cars swirl around the racing cars.

Language

A few insults like "stupid fool," "shoot," and "idiot."

Consumerism

Although there are no real "product placements" in the movie (unless you count the car models themselves, like the notorious "lemons" -- the Gremlin and Acer), the Disney merchandise machine has an enormous number of Cars 2 toys and other tie-ins -- from LEGOs and stuffed animals to coloring books and figurines to sippy cups and sleeping bags. The Cars products are even more ubiquitous than the Toy Story ones.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

At a party, various cars drink "cocktails."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fast-paced sequel to Pixar's hit movie Cars is more like a kid-friendly James Bond action thriller than the original movie's fish-out-of-water adventure. There are more high-speed chases here than in the original and a surprising amount of gun violence; a couple of car characters are even killed, which makes the G rating a bit of a surprise. Expect a bit of mild language, including insults like "idiot" and "fool," as well as tame flirting between smitten cars. The movie's overall message of being true to yourself and loyal to your friends is coupled with an overt call for alternative fuel and environmentalism. Note: The 3-D version of the movie may make certain parts feel even more immediate and intense for some kids.

What's the story?

In Pixar's much-anticipated sequel to Cars, the focus shifts slightly off Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) onto his best friend, Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). Challenged by an Italian Formula One car, Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro), Lightning agrees to join a World Grand Prix taking place in Japan, Italy, and England that's meant to show the world that alternative bio-fuel works just as well as regular gasoline. As the races begin, it's clear that someone is sabotaging the cars to blame the eco-friendly fuel. In a case of mistaken identity, Mater is unintentionally drawn into a British and American intelligence mission led by Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) to uncover who's behind the attacks. Mater needs to help stop the masterminds before Lightning becomes their next target.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Pixar is the standard bearer for animated movies that appeal equally to children and adults. There has yet to be a Pixar film that doesn't make more than $100 million or score a devoted following from both critics and audiences. Cars 2 is no exception -- the animation is gorgeous, the action sequences crisp, the voice acting impeccable, and the inside jokes funny. It's not a masterpiece when stacked up against the Toy Story sequels, but it's a fun summer spectacle that will make kids think about what it means to really be yourself, even when there's pressure to change.

Mater is now the protagonist, and the world is the setting; while that expands the action and the automobile humor (geisha cars, the Queen as a vintage Rolls, and Prince Wheeliam as a Bentley), it does limit the amount of time that we spend with our old friends from Radiator Springs. Caine and Emily Mortimer are perfectly cast as the British intelligence agents who mistake Mater for an American spy, but in the end, this is Larry the Cable Guy's shining moment.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's message about being yourself, dents and all. How does this apply to Mater? Why are underdogs so much more satisfying to root for than characters who always win?

  • The first movie was a "fish out of water" story about a city slicker race car in a sleepy little town; how does the sequel use the same theme but focus on Mater?

  • What made kids want to see this movie -- the story or all the product tie-ins? Do kids want a product because Cars characters are pictured on it?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 24, 2011
DVD release date:November 1, 2011
Cast:Emily Mortimer, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Owen Wilson
Director:John Lasseter
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Cars and trucks, Adventures
Run time:113 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Cars 2 was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous March 12, 2015
age 7+
 

So-so Pixar flick has a weaker script then usual

My rating:PG for mild action and thematic elements
Parent Written bykitterlee June 25, 2011
age 9+
 

Way too violent

This movie is extremely violent. I can NOT believe it got a G rating. There are so many guns, machine guns, bombs, etc. Many cars die, one is tortured and killed, and they try to kill Lightning McQueen. With the original Cars having such a huge little kids following, I really don't know what Pixar was thinking, taking it in this direction. They have shown such talent with other films, like they could pull off anything. They could have done the Bond theme without the violence, it could've been a lot of fun. Why did they have to stoop? I'm really disappointed in Pixar. This is a really bad kids movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written byDizzycat June 24, 2011
age 6+
 

Should not be G rated!

For a PIXAR movie this is very disappointing. This movie should not be rated G!! Think James Bond with all the violence, guns, and deaths. You will see several cars killed and even see car "body parts" floating in the water. Also a car is tortured for information and then blown up. I really do not know how this movie got a G rating, but beware. Both my 4 year old and 6 year old ended up in the laps of adults due to being scared and I am not really how much they even understood of the actual story line. Personally, I feel like PIXAR just sold out....it is a sad day. This movie lacks the originality and heart felt story of all the other PIXAR movies.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written byKatakama June 24, 2011
age 6+
 

Extremely Disappointing

Today is a sad day that nobody thought would come, Pixar has successfully made a bad movie. There's no emotions except for anger, shame, and arrogance, the story makes no sense, all the entertainment value is expected to come from violence and stupidity, and worst of all you feel no attachment towards any of the characters. Also, torture and death have no place in a G rated Disney/Pixar movie. Only young kids will really enjoy it, because anyone who attempts to figure out the story will be confused. But what really caught me off guard, as a multilingual person, was the use of a japanese comment that almost always translates as " What the F" or "What the He**". That does not belong in a childrens movie no matter what language it's in. I recommend not seeing this movie, but I doubt you'll be able to if you have young children. As I said before, only young children will enjoy it, and parents will enjoy when it's finally over. I would also like to point out to the kids rating this with 5 stars, that they should not be doing so without actually seeing the movie.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism

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