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Cars 2

Year: 2011
Production Co: Pixar
Studio: Disney
Director: John Lasseter/Brad Lewis
Writer: John Lasseter/Brad Lewis/Ben Queen/Dan Fogelman
Cast: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Eddie Izzard, John Turturro, Bonnie Hunt, Cheech Marin, Tony Shalhoub, Vanessa Redgrave, Katherine Helmond, John Ratzenberger

It might be my general dislike of kids/family movies with their easily digestible themes of black and white morality, but I've never quite understood why so many critics fawn over Pixar movies. It's easy to see why audiences do with their flashy colour, realism and jokes.

But when the movie press regards the Cars films as something of a blight on the Pixar canon because of the brilliance of films like Finding Nemo and Toy Story it just confuses me. Narratively, Cars 2 was as streamlined and formulaic as any other big Hollywood family film. Technically the picture on the screen is brilliant (but with the clout behind the likes of Blue Sky and Sony Animation nipping at Disney's heels, it's a crown Pixar can't claim as easily any more).

The theme or moral here is to accept your friends no matter how they are, the crisis of self coming to Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) as he blows a race for Lightning (McQueen) and is rejected for being the idiot he is by his friends.

He falls in with Finn McMissile (Caine) and Felicity Shiftwell (Mortimer) two spies from British intelligence investigating an energy conspiracy that's centred around a racing series created by industrialist Miles Axelrod (Izzard). Lightning's in the series, squaring off against old foe Francesco (Turturro) while Mater and his new friends run around behind the scenes getting to the bottom of the intrigue.

It's got the same visual flair as all Pixar's movies (as well as those from the other big studios) and the attention to detail in every scene is a pleasure to watch – a clever riff on automated Japanese toilets is a classic example.

It looks fantastic, the picture is clear and bright and the colours bold. The visual and scripted jokes come thick and fast and it has a schmaltzy moral message, the same as any other movie in its demographic bracket. What's not to like, or – put another way – what's to fawn over in all the other Pixar movies that this one doesn't deserve?

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