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Cars 2 is a 2011 American 3D computer-animated action-adventure comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures. It is the sequel to 2006's Cars and the second installment in the franchise. It features the voices of Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, John Turturro, and Eddie Izzard. In the film, race car Lightning McQueen and tow truck Mater head to Japan and Europe to compete in the World Grand Prix, but Mater becomes sidetracked with international espionage.[3][4][5] The film was directed by John Lasseter, written by Ben Queen, and produced by Denise Ream.[4][5][6] With Lasseter's exit from Pixar in 2018, it marks the final film directed by him.[7]

Cars 2 was released in the United States on June 24, 2011. The film was presented in Disney Digital 3D and IMAX 3D, as well as traditional two-dimensional and IMAX formats.[8] The film was first announced in 2008, alongside Up, and Brave, and it is the 12th animated film from the studio.[9][10] It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $562 million worldwide.[11] A sequel, Cars 3, was released on June 16, 2017. A second sequel, Cars 4, was released in 2019.

Plot

Finn McMissile, a British spy, infiltrates the world's largest untapped oil reserves owned by a group of lemon cars. After being discovered, he flees and fakes his death.

Lightning McQueen, now a four-time Piston Cup champion, returns to Radiator Springs. However, Italian formula race car, Francesco Bernoulli, challenges McQueen to the newly created World Grand Prix, led by its creator, Sir Miles Axlerod. McQueen and his best friend Mater — along with Luigi, Guido, Fillmore, and Sarge — depart for Tokyo for the first race of the Grand Prix.

Meanwhile, the lemons, who are led by weapons designer Professor Zündappand an unknown mastermind, are secretly plotting to secure their oil profits by using an electromagnetic pulse emitter disguised as a camera. They plan to use the emitter to trigger and destabilize the use of Allinol, an environmentally friendly fuel that was created by Axlerod and is required for racers to use in the Grand Prix. McMissile and his partner Holley Shiftwell attempt to meet with American spy car Rod "Torque" Redline at a World Grand Prix promotional event in Tokyo, to receive information about the mastermind. Redline is captured and killed by Zündapp's henchmen, but not before passing his information to Mater, who is then mistaken to be the American contact of Holley and Finn.

At the first race, three cars are ignited by the camera. McQueen places second in the race after Bernoulli, due to Mater accidentally giving him bad racing advice shortly after evading Zündapp's henchmen with help from Holley and Finn. Mater is soon abducted by Finn and boards his plane, where he helps to identify some of the information he was given. After traveling to Paris to collect more information from Finn's old friend Tomber, they travel to Porto Corsa, Italy, where the next race is being held. During the race, Mater infiltrates the criminals' meeting, just as the camera is used on a few more cars, causing a multi-car pileup that allows McQueen to finish first. Due to increased fears over Allinol's safety, Axlerod lifts the requirement to use it for the final race. However, when McQueen decides to continue using it, the criminals plot to kill McQueen in the next race in London. This spooks Mater, causing him to blow his cover and allow him, Finn, and Holley to be captured.

Mater is taken to and tied up inside the clock tower of the Big Ben. Mater learns that the camera did not function on McQueen, but the criminals tell him they planted a bomb in his pits as a backup plan, spurring him to break free and escape. Finn and Holley escape soon after, but realize that the bomb is on Mater's air filter. Mater has already arrived at the pits when they tell him this, so he flees down the race course while McQueen chases after him. Finn apprehends Professor Zündapp at the finish line. The other lemons arrive and outnumber Finn, Holley, Mater, and McQueen, but they are soon rescued by the arrival of the other Radiator Springs residents. Mater then uses evidence he has seen to reveal that Axlerod is the mastermind of the plot who placed the bomb on Mater. Mater forces Axlerod to deactivate the bomb, and he and the other lemons are arrested.

Mater receives an honorary knighthood from the Queen, while Sarge reveals that he changed McQueen's fuel from Allinol (which, it turns out, is only gasoline) to Fillmore's organic biofuel, explaining why the camera did not work on him. Finn and Holley ask if Mater can join them on another mission, but he declines, and then participates with the World Grand Prix competitors in a race at Radiator Springs.

Voice cast

Much of the cast from the original Cars remained intact for the sequel, but three voice actors of the original film have died since its release. Joe Ranft (who voiced Red) died in an automobile accident on August 16, 2005, ten months before Cars was released. The first film was dedicated in memoriam to him. Red appears in this film, but he does not speak or vocalize. George Carlin (who voiced Fillmore) died of heart failure on June 22, 2008; Fillmore also shows up in Cars 2, and he was voiced by Lloyd Sherr (who also voices Tony Trihull). Paul Newman (who voiced Doc Hudson) died of cancer on September 26, 2008. After Newman's death, Lasseter said they would "see how the story goes with Doc Hudson."[13] Doc was eventually written out,[14] with a few references to the character, where he is thought to have died before the events of the movie, as Mater says that he would have been proud for McQueen's Piston Cups, which have been renamed after Doc; also, in the Tokyo race, one of the announcers says that Doc was one of the best dirt racers ever.

  • Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen, a Piston Cup racecar.
  • Larry the Cable Guy as Mater, a Southern-accented tow truck from Radiator Springs.
  • Michael Caine as Finn McMissile, a British spy car.
  • Emily Mortimer as Holley Shiftwell, a beautiful young British desk agent, new to field work.
  • John Turturro as Francesco Bernoulli, McQueen's main racing rival from Italy.
  • Eddie Izzard as Sir Miles Axlerod, a British electric car who created Allinol.
  • Thomas Kretschmann as Professor Zündapp, the doctor from Germany, Axlerod's assistant.
  • Joe Mantegna and Peter Jacobson as Grem and Acer: Professor Zündapp's henchmen.
  • Bruce Campbell as Rod "Torque" Redline, an American spy car.
  • Bonnie Hunt as Sally Carrera, a Porsche 996 and Lightning McQueen's girlfriend.
  • Tony Shalhoub as Luigi
  • Cheech Marin as Ramone
  • Jenifer Lewis as Flo
  • Michael Wallis as Sheriff
  • Katherine Helmond as Lizzie
  • John Ratzenberger as Mack
  • Darrell Waltrip as Darrell Cartrip
  • Guido Quaroni as Guido
  • Lloyd Sherr as Fillmore/Tony Trihull
  • Paul Dooley as Sarge
  • Richard Kind as Van
  • Edie McClurg as Minny
  • Lindsey Collins as Mia
  • Elissa Knight as Tia
  • Brent Musburger as Brent Mustangburger
  • Colin Cowherd as Colin Cowling
  • Jason Isaacs as Siddeley/Leland Turbo
  • David Hobbs as David Hobbscap. Jacques Villeneuve voices the character in French releases.
  • Stanley Townsend as Vladimir Trunkov/Ivan/Victor Hugo
  • Michel Michelis as Tomber
  • Sig Hansen as Crabby the Boat
  • Franco Nero as Uncle Topolino
  • Vanessa Redgrave as Mama Topolino/The Queen. Sophia Loren provides the Italian dub of Topolino.[15]
  • Jeff Garlin as Otis
  • Patrick Walker as Mel Dorado
  • Lewis Hamilton as Lewis Hamilton
  • Velibor Topic as Alexander Hugo
  • Greg Ellis as Nigel Gearsley
  • John Mainier as J. Curby Gremlin
  • Brad Lewis as Tubbs Pacer
  • Teresa Gallagher as Mater's Computer
  • Jeff Gordon as Jeff Gorvette
  • John Lasseter as John Lassetire

In international versions of the film, the character Jeff Gorvette is replaced with race car drivers better known in the specific countries in his dialogue scenes (however, he still appears as a competitor).[16]

  • Mark Winterbottom as Frosty (Australian release)[17][18]
  • Fernando Alonso as Fernando Alonso (Spanish release)
  • Vitaly Petrov as Vitaly Petrov (Russian release)
  • Jan Nilsson as Flash (Swedish release)[19]
  • Memo Rojas (Latin American release)
  • Sebastian Vettel as Sebastian Schnell (German release)

In Brazil, Gorvette is replaced by Carla Veloso in his dialogue scenes (Carla appears in all other versions of the film, but with no lines); Carla is voiced by Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte. Sportspeople still appear, with Lewis Hamilton becoming Formula One champion Emerson Fittipaldi, while Brent Mustangburger and David Hobbscap were done by sports announcers José Trajano and Luciano do Valle.[20]

Production

Development

Cars is the second Pixar film, after Toy Story, to have a sequel as well as becoming a franchise.[21] John Lasseter, the director of the film, said that he was convinced of the sequel's story while traveling around the world promoting the first film. He said:

I kept looking out thinking, 'What would Mater do in this situation, you know?' I could imagine him driving around on the wrong side of the road in the UK, going around in big, giant traveling circles in Paris, on the autobahn in Germany, dealing with the motor scooters in Italy, trying to figure out road signs in Japan.[22]

Cars 2 was originally scheduled for a summer 2012 release, but Pixar moved the release up by a year.[13]

In 2009, Disney registered several domain names, hinting to audiences that the title and theme of the film would be in relation to a World Grand Prix.[23]

In March 2011, Jake Mandeville-Anthony, a U.K. screenwriter, sued Disney and Pixar alleging copyright infringement and breach of implied contract. In his complaint he alleged that Cars and Cars 2 are based in part on work that he had submitted early in the 1990s and he sought an injunction to stop the release of Cars 2 and requested actual or statutory damages. On May 13, 2011, Disney responded to the lawsuit, denying "each and every one of Plaintiff's legal claims concerning the purported copyright infringement and substantial similarity of the parties' respective works."[24] On July 27, 2011, the lawsuit was dismissed by a district court judge who, in her ruling, wrote that the "Defendants have sufficiently shown that the Parties' respective works are not substantially similar in their protectable elements as a matter of law".[25]

Casting

In November 2010, Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Jason Isaacs, Joe Mantegna, Peter Jacobson, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, and Thomas Kretschmann were confirmed as the voice talent featured in the film.[26] From November 2010 until May 2011, Disney released information about the other voice talent, including Jenifer Lewis, Katherine Helmond, Michael Wallis, Darrell Waltrip, Franco Nero, Vanessa Redgrave, Bruce Campbell, Sig Hansen, Michel Michelis, Jeff Gordon, Lewis Hamilton, Brent Musburger, David Hobbs, John Turturro, and Eddie Izzard.[27]

Soundtrack

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic
Filmtracks

The Cars 2 soundtrack was released on both CD album and digital download June 14. It is the fourth Pixar film to be scored by Michael Giacchino after The IncrediblesRatatouille and Up.[28] It also marks the first time that Giacchino has worked with John Lasseter as a director, as Lasseter had been executive producer on Giacchino's previous three Pixar films, as well as the first time that Lasseter has not worked with Randy Newman.

All music composed by Michael Giacchino, except as noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Artist Length
1. "You Might Think" (Cover ofThe Cars) Ric Ocasek Weezer 3:07
2. "Collision of Worlds" Paisley, Williams Brad Paisley and Robbie Williams 3:36
3. "Mon Cœur Fait Vroum (My Heart Goes Vroom)" Michael Giacchino Bénabar 2:49
4. "Nobody's Fool" Paisley Brad Paisley 4:17
5. "Polyrhythm" Yasutaka Nakata Perfume 4:09
6. "Turbo Transmission"       0:52
7. "It's Finn McMissile!"       5:54
8. "Mater the Waiter"       0:43
9. "Radiator Reunion"       1:40
10. "Cranking Up the Heat"       1:59
11. "Towkyo Takeout"       5:40
12. "Tarmac the Magnificent"       3:27
13. "Whose Engine Is This?"       1:22
14. "History's Biggest Loser Cars"       2:26
15. "Mater of Disguise"       0:48
16. "Porto Corsa"       2:55
17. "The Lemon Pledge"       2:13
18. "Mater's Getaway"       0:59
19. "Mater Warns McQueen"       1:31
20. "Going to the Backup Plan"       2:24
21. "Mater's the Bomb"       3:17
22. "Blunder and Lightning"       2:17
23. "The Other Shoot"       1:03
24. "Axlerod Exposed"       2:22
25. "The Radiator Springs Grand Prix"       1:30
26. "The Turbomater"       0:50

Release

During the Summer of 2008, John Lasseter announced that Cars 2 would be pushed forward and released in the summer of 2011, one year earlier than its original 2012 release date.[29] The US release date was later confirmed to be June 24, 2011, with a UK release date set for July 22, 2011.[30] The world premiere of the film took place at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on June 18, 2011.[31] Cars 2 was released in 4,115 theaters in the USA and Canada[32]setting a record-high for a G-rated film[33] and for Pixar. The latter was surpassed by Brave (4,164 theaters).[34]

Short film

Main article: Hawaiian Vacation

The film was preceded by a short film titled Hawaiian Vacation, directed by Gary Rydstrom and starring the characters of the Toy Story franchise.

Home media

The film was released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and digital download on November 1, 2011. This release was produced in four different physical packages: a 1-disc DVD, a 2-disc combo pack (DVD and Blu-ray), a 5-disc combo pack (DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and Digital Copy), and an 11-disc three movie collector's set, which features CarsCars 2, and Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales). The film was also released as a Movie Download edition in both standard and high definition.[35]

The Movie Download release includes four bonus features: Cars Toons "Air Mater", the Toy Story Toon "Hawaiian Vacation", "World Tour Interactive Feature", and "Bringing Cars 2 to the World". The 1-disc DVD and 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack releases include the shorts "Air Mater" and "Hawaiian Vacation", plus the Director John Lasseter Commentary. The 5-disc combo pack includes all of the same bonus features as the 1-disc DVD and 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack versions, in addition to "World Tour Interactive Feature" and "Sneak Peek: The Nuts and Bolts of Cars Land." The 11-disc three movie collection comes packaged with Cars (DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Copy), Cars 2 (DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D,nand Digital Copy), and Mater's Tall Tales (DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Copy).[35]

Cars 2 sold a total of 1,983,374 DVD units during its opening week,[36]generating $31.24 million and claiming first place.[37] It also finished on the top spot on the Blu-ray chart during its first week, selling 1.76 million units and generating $44.57 million. Its Blu-ray share of home media was 47%, indicating an unexpectedly major shift of sales from DVD to Blu-ray.[38] Blu-ray 3D contributed to this, accounting for 17% of total disc sales.[39]

Reception

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, Cars 2 has an approval rating of 40%, based on 212 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10,[40] making it the only Pixar film to earn a "rotten" certification.[41][42] The website's critical consensus reads, "Cars 2 is as visually appealing as any other Pixar production, but all that dazzle can't disguise the rusty storytelling under the hood."[40] Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score to reviews from mainstream critics, gave the film an average score of 57 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[43] Audiences polled by CinemaScoregave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale, down from the previous Pixar Films' "A" and "A+".[44]

"The original Cars was not greeted with exceptional warmth," said The New York Times, "but the sequel generated Pixar's first truly negative response."[45] Critics generally criticized the G-rating, the focus on Mater and felt the film lacked warmth and charm, while also feeling the film was made as an exercise in target marketing.[46][47][48][49] Reviewing the film for The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern wrote, “This frenzied sequel seldom gets beyond mediocrity."[50]Entertainment Weekly critic Owen Gleiberman said, "Cars 2 is a movie so stuffed with "fun" that it went right off the rails. What on earth was the gifted director-mogul John Lasseter thinking – that he wanted kids to come out of this movie was [sic] more ADD?"[51] Although Leonard Maltin on IndieWire claimed that he had "such high regard for Pixar and its creative team led by John Lasseter" he said he found the plot "confusing" and felt that Tow Mater's voice annoying saying that he'd "rather listen to chalk on a blackboard than spend nearly two hours with Tow Mater."[52] Considering the low reviews given to the Pixar production, critic Kyle Smith of the New York Post said, "They said it couldn't be done. But Pixar proved the yaysayers wrong when it made its first bad movie, Cars. Now it has worsted itself with the even more awful Cars 2."[53]

Conversely, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the movie 3½ stars out of four, and said that "the sequel is a tire-burning burst of action and fun with a beating heart under its hood." He also praised its "fluid script" and called it a "winner".[54]Roger Ebert was the most effusive of the more positive reviews, writing, “At a time when some ‘grown-up’ action films are relentlessly shallow and stupid, here is a movie with such complexity that even the cars sometimes have to pause and explain it to themselves.”[55] Justin Chang of Variety commented, “The rare sequel that not only improves on but retroactively justifies its predecessor.”[56]Ticket buyers also gave the film an A– in exit polls, on par with other Pixar titles.[45]

A central current of the negative reviews was the theory that Cars 2 was forced out of Pixar by its corporate parent, the Walt Disney Company, out of greed to drive merchandising sales.[50][57] Lasseter vehemently denied these claims, which he attributed to "people who don’t know the facts, rushing to judge."[45]Some theorized that the vitriol was less about the film but more about Pixar's broadened focus to sequels. The New York Times reported that although one negatively reviewed film would not be enough to scratch the studio, "the commentary did dent morale at the studio, which until then had enjoyed an unbroken and perhaps unprecedented run of critical acclaim."[45]

Box office

Cars 2 grossed $191.5 million in the USA and Canada, and $370.7 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $562.1 million.[2] Worldwide on its opening weekend it grossed $109.0 million, marking the largest opening weekend for a 2011 animated title.[58] Overall, Cars 2 became seventh biggest Pixar film in worldwide box office among the fourteen released.

Cars 2 made $25.7 million on its debut Friday (June 24, 2011), marking the second-largest opening day for a Pixar film, at the time, after Toy Story 3's $41.1 million. During this time, though, it was the third least-attended opening day for a Pixar film, only ahead of Up and Ratatouille.[59] It also scored the sixth largest opening day for an animated feature.[60] On its opening weekend as a whole, Cars 2 debuted at No.1 with $66.1 million,[32] marking the largest opening weekend for a 2011 animated feature, the seventh largest opening for Pixar,[61]the eighth largest among films released in June,[62] and the fourth largest for a G-rated film.[63] In its second weekend, however, the film dropped 60.3%, the largest second weekend drop ever for a Pixar film, and grossed $26.2 million.[64]At the end of its theatrical run, Cars 2 became the lowest-grossing Pixar film in North America since A Bug's Life.[65][66] As of 2018, it is Pixar's fourth lowest-grossing film in this region.[67] It was also the least attended Pixar film ever until 2015's The Good Dinosaur.[68][69]

Outside North America, it grossed $42.9 million during its first weekend from 3,129 theaters in 18 countries, topping the box office.[70] It performed especially well in Russia where it grossed $9.42 million,[71] marking the best opening weekend for a Disney or Pixar animated feature and surpassing the entire runs of Cars and Toy Story 3.[72] In Mexico, it made $8.24 million during its first weekend,[73] while in Brazil, it topped the box office with $5.19 million ($7.08 million with previews).[74] It also premeiered at No.1 with $5.16 million in Australia,[75] where it debuted simultaneously with Kung Fu Panda 2 and out-grossed it.[70] It is the highest-grossing film of 2011 in Lithuania ($477,117),[76]Argentina ($12 million).[77] It is the highest-grossing animated film of 2011 in Estonia ($442,707),[78] Finland ($3.2 million),[79] Norway ($5.8 million).[80]

Accolades

Cars 2 marks the first Pixar film not to be nominated for an Oscar.[81] It is also the first Pixar film not nominated for Best Animated Feature since its introduction in 2001.[82]

Awards
Award Category Winner/Nominee Result
British Academy Children's Awards(BAFTA)[83] Favorite Film Nominated
People's Choice Awards[84] Favorite Movie Animated Voice Owen Wilson
Golden Globe Awards[85] Best Animated Film
Annie Awards[86] Best Animated Feature
Best Animated Effects in an Animated Production Jon Reisch
Best Animated Effects in an Animated Production Eric Froemling
Character Design in an Animated Feature Jay Shuster
Production Design in a Feature Production Harley Jessup
Storyboarding in a Feature Production Scott Morse
Editing in a Feature Production Stephen Schaffer
Kids Choice Awards[87] Favorite Animated Movie
Saturn Awards[88] Best Animated Film
ASCAP Award[89] Top Box Office Films Michael Giacchino Won
Visual Effects Society Awards[90] Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Mahyar Abousaeedi, Jeremy Lasky, Jonathan Pytko Nominated
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