Starring: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer

Summary: A few years after Lightning McQueen (Wilson) settles down in Radiator Springs he is recruited for the World Grand Prix, a race competition that takes him to Tokyo, London, and the fictional town of Porta Cosa, Italy. McQueen reluctantly agrees to take Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) along even though he worries that Mater won’t fit in. Through a mix-up in Tokyo, Mater is targeted by British super-spy Finn McMissile (Caine) and his sidekick Holley Shiftwell (Mortimer). They believe that Mater is their American contact, and before he knows it, he gets tangled up in an international spy mission to save the racers in the World Grand Prix, including Lighting McQueen.

There are a couple of reasons why this movie didn’t work as well as expected for Pixar. Firstly, it focused on the sidekick Mater instead of Lightning McQueen. If you’re basing a sequel on a secondary character, it should be a character that is more endearing and less annoying Secondly, it tries to be a buddy movie and a spy movie at the same time. The multiple plot lines make it difficult to focus on anything. One of the great things about Pixar is that they have simple, clear, strong storylines that the entire audience can relate to. The filmmakers should’ve either made a movie that focuses on the friendship between Mater and McQueen or a spy movie where McQueen is recruited to help save the world. However, this movie also had a couple of things going for it. For one, the quality of the animation is spectacular. Pixar certainly has the best animation technology of all studios out there (DreamWorks is a close second). And even though the story was a bit muddled, in the end there was a good message behind it. The movie teaches us that we should accept our friends as they are. They may not be the most intelligent or sophisticated, but true friends will stand by you no matter what.

Trivia: Finn McMissile is a stylized Aston Martin DBS, James Bond’s trademark vehicle.

Rated: G – Appropriate for all ages.

Grade: B