Friday, December 1, 2023
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Cars 2 Review

Had I owned a vehicle or known how to drive, I’d have sellotaped the windows shut, cranked the engine on and waited for the fumes to take me instead of settling in to watch Cars 2. Should Lightning McQueen have been a real entity that I could see and hear and feel, I would slash his tyres and crack the windshield with a crowbar. Under strict prescription of finely temperate vodka and a new diet of minimal calories and maximum liquid intake made the blurry-eyed viewing of Cars 2 a real breeze. It brought out hatred I had not felt in some time, a loathing reserved for hack, merchandise-peddling nonsense. Anthropomorphic cars looking to riff on the James Bond franchise with an ensemble of bland, forgettable and meaningless cameos is such a ridiculous waste of audience time and patience.  

Innovative it may be for a franchise based solely on egotistical cars threatening one another with idle chit-chat to incorporate espionage, Cars 2 does feel a tad weird. Having Larry the Cable Guy take centre-stage in his infiltration of a mafioso cell is a strange one too. Cars 2 is full of strange decisions, feeling more like a spin-off for this turgid, rusting fool than anything that could even vaguely be considered a direct sequel to Cars. Gone are the relatively muddled and confused emotional draws, in its place a failed attempt at mocking the spy genre. Villainy is found in every street, with Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) accidentally hiring Mater (Cable Guy) as his man on the inside.  

What follows is an attempt at presenting a multitude of overarching storylines that just about fit together. The friendship between McQueen (Owen Wilson) and Mater is left in tatters, much like my finite patience and will to live. A worryingly strong collection of actors are on hand to deliver this dire, underwhelming script. What makes Cars 2 so boring and dreadful is how disconnected the script and audience feel. No matter how bland or engorged in mediocrity a Pixar piece is, they are often able to find some unique, fleeting charm that will coax even the slightest of audiences in. Here, that is absent. The magic is dead. Disney has locked away its love.  

Narcotics or alcohol of the highest volumes are the only remedy required to make your way through this monstrosity. How a film made for snot-nosed brats is so lacking in light entertainment value is beyond the realm of plausibility. Hoping to cash in on landmarks and potential sales revenue from stalwart genre tropes, Cars 2 is a twelve-car pile-up of harrowing proportions. Its cynical hatred for audience and actor alike is felt so feverishly and frequently that it becomes an oddly disturbing creation. It is nigh on impossible to disseminate genuine hatred for consumer, and an inability to pull anything genuine out of a series relying on chemistry between characters who ran out of mileage long ago.  

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Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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