Disney and Pixar are known for high quality family films. "Wall-E," "Finding Nemo" and "The Incredibles" all generated more than $500 million in ticket sales. But the legendary "Toy Story" franchise may be the gold standard of this genre. These films have sweeping impact that cuts across generational lines and always get Oscar attention.
"Cars 2" comes from the same studio partnership, but it's a pale shadow of their greatest efforts. The animation and visuals are first rate. But the plot is tedious and repetitive with very few laughs to be found. The relentless racing action makes it a kiddie version of the "The Fast and the Furious."
There are international scenes and a James Bond plot with Michael Caine voicing the chief spy car. All the complex references might entertain some adults. But most of the jokes will be lost on youngsters. There's enough colorful noise to keep some children amused. But the real purpose of this film is clear: setting up our kids for the mass merchandising campaign coming to a Christmas near you.