Sixteen years, 12 films, and 40 Oscar nominations later, Pixar has finally delivered their first true fluff piece. Not that that’s a bad thing. It’s still miles ahead of what’s considered “family” entertainment these days and lives up to the studios typical standards. John Lasseter may be back in the driver’s seat since he brought us the original lackadaisical Cars back in 2006, but thankfully he found a reason to bring his billion dollars worth of merchandising back to the big screen with Cars 2.
With a story credit of three (Lasseter himself, co-director Brad Lewis, and Dan Fogelman) and surprisingly only one screenwriter in Ben Queen (who knows a thing or two about car racing after working on TV’s Drive) the quartet has managed to breathe a whole new life into the franchise that seemed destined to direct-to-video offerings. Quite a feat considering the series has already spawned a slew of Cars Toons and Planes on the horizon. By plopping Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) and his BFF Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy) into the middle of the spy genre, it looks like the series is just getting warmed up.
Cars 2 opens up as any episode of Alias or the latest Bond entry would with Finn McMissile (voiced by Michael Caine) looking for his lost agent who was last seen amongst the fiery oil rigs somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Finn discovers that his agent has been compounded and soon enough his own situation has been compromised and a grand chase unfolds. But not before McMissile leads Professor Z (voiced by Thomas Kretschman) and his cronies believe him to be killed. Now we find Mater up his old shenanigans, missing McQueen who quickly arrives back in Radiator Springs after winning his fourth Hudson Hornet Piston Cup. Here it’s business as usual where it seems like we’re going to be getting a whole lot of more of the same.