My family has been waiting anxiously for Cars 2 to come out. My oldest son was only 3 when the first Cars movie was released in theaters, yet he had all the names of the characters memorized before he saw the movie. This time around, I had not 1 but 3 excited little boys waiting for the movie to come out. In a family of all boys, Cars may just be their favorite movie of all time so the release of the sequel was an enormous event.
Cars 2 is kind of like Cars meets James Bond and I loved the twist it gave to the movie. That being said, there have been some mixed reviews. I tend to get caught up in the excitement of a movie when I watch it so while I left the theatre excited about the movie, I have to admit that a few things have rubbed me wrong after the fact. Stacey Nerdin, a friend and blogger who’s opinion I respect, brought up the point that kids have been conditioned to think of these cars as characters rather than automobiles and when several of the cars were blown to bits, it constitutes cartoon violence just as much as anything else.
I glazed past all of that while I was watching the movie, as I hate to admit I do to most violence that crosses my path in T.V. or movies, but I’ve been thinking about that and I realized that I don’t want my children to grow used to violence in the media they watch so while they will still watch the movie, I’ll also be talking to them to make sure they understand the difference between what’s okay on the screen and what’s okay in real life.
Cars 2 takes us out of Radiator Springs and into Tokyo, Italy, and London so Lighting McQueen can race in the Grand Prix, which allows for some breathtaking animating (and some pretty cool poster graphics if your kids now want to plaster their room with everything Cars 2). We’re introduced to several new characters, including Michael Caine as Finn McMissile and Emily Mortimer as Holley Shiftwell, both of which added a wonderful new dimension to the movie.
While most of our favorite characters traveled with Lighting McQueen to the Grand Prix, I was disappointed that they didn’t play a larger role in the movie. Lighting McQueen and Mater (with Mater playing the larger role this time) got most of the screen time but my kids tend to latch onto random minor characters in movies and they have spent years obsessed with Ramone, who other than a few quick paint jobs played almost no part in the movie.
It was also hinted that Doc Hudson had passed away, and while I understand that there wasn’t much time to devote to that issue in the movie, I wish the characters had at least mentioned how they were coping with that so kids who have experienced death in their lives could see some of their favorite characters coping well with a loss rather than ignoring the issue once it was brought up in the movie.
That being said – I really did love the movie. The animation was superb, the new characters were interesting and had a lot of depth, and I loved the theme of accepting your friends for who they are. There are some very funny clips in the movie. My favorite was when the entire gang is on the plane flying to their first destination and playing a Cars version of “Angry Birds” for their in-flight entertainment. That scene right there makes me wish I was going with my 7 year old when he goes to see the movie today because he’s going to fall out of his seat laughing. Mater experiencing a high-tech Japanese bathroom is pretty hilarious too.
As new owners of a 100% electric car, I appreciated the effort of introducing the concept of alternative fuel in the movie but the way the plot twists around that may be a bit complex for younger kids to follow.
I took my 3 1/2 year old with me to the premiere because even though he wasn’t around for the first movie (and rarely watches T.V. so I’m honestly not even sure if he’s SEEN the first movie) he’s obsessed with all things Cars and was by far the most anxious one in our house to see the movie. My 7 year old and 5 year old sons are seeing the movie today and I know they are both going to love the spy twist in the movie and all of Mater’s cool new toys (I see lots and LOTS of spy role-playing in our future).
Disclaimer: I received free tickets to this movie for me and my family. This event was sponsored by Any Hour Services, a company that provides Utah Plumber services. Find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AnyHourServicesUtah