Finn McMissile was actually conceived for an unused scene in the first "Cars" where Lightning McQueen and Sally were seeing a spy movie featuring McMissile while on a date. McMissile was saved for this sequel.
When it comes to animation studios, one thing is clear; Pixar is king. For years, the animators have been at the top of the film industry with their beautifully rendered visuals and engaging stories. Coming off the studio’s most successful film, Toy Story 3, Pixar hopes to hit another home run with only its second franchise to get a sequel, Cars 2. Can they do it, or is the famed studio running out of fuel?
The majority of the cast including Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy returns to voice the cars of Radiator Springs, now one of the biggest tourist destinations thanks to the fast driving of Lightning McQueen. Of course, where would he be without the help of his best friend, Mater? After being on the road for so long, Lightning is looking forward to relaxing a bit at home with Mater and his girlfriend Sally. Unfortunately, the stay is short lived when Lightning is egged on by fellow competitors to enter a series of races to see who the fastest car in the world is. Little does he know that there’s a far more sinister plot at hand.
Cars 2 ditches much of the high speed racing for a much more action driven plot. As you could probably tell from the trailers, it’s more along the lines of a James Bond film where everyone is replaced by cars. There’s even secret agent Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) who mistakenly identifies Mater as a fellow secret agent working on a case involving a mysterious TV camera that could be used as a potential weapon, although nobody knows how. If that sounds a bit confusing, that’s because it is.
At times, you’ll wonder where exactly all the racing is, after all, this is a film a bout cars. The majority of the film revolves around Mater and his newly found life as a secret spy. As a result, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, and Emily Mortimer receive the most screen time. The story itself isn’t horrible; it just doesn’t achieve what the first Cars did so well.
What Cars 2 manages to excel in, however, are the visuals. Once again Pixar has set the standard for animated films very high. This time around the film travels to Japan, Paris, and England, and each of the countries has their own culture and aesthetics to show off. From the vibrant colors to finer details in everything, the animations showcase some of the finest talent in the industry.
Overall, Cars 2 doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor but still manages to impress even if the story can be a bit confusing, and at times feels more like an advertisement for cleaner energy. The visuals are quite impressive though and that alone is worth the price of admission.