“Cars 2” is one of those sequels
that works OK, but somehow fails to live up to the charm of the original.
It’s sweet, and harmless, but falls somewhat short of magical.
Owen Wilson reprises his role as the
voice of “Lightning McQueen,” the race car from tiny Radiator Springs,
where his best friend is a tow truck named Mater (the voice of Larry the
Lightning is challenged to a World
Grand Prix race by his big European rival, and only reluctantly brings his
buddy Mater, who he feels is holding him back.
Sure enough, Mater gets distracted during the first race and says
things into the microphone that confuse Lightning, and he winds up making
the wrong move strategically (leaving the inside lane open while in the
lead), and losing the race.
To Lightning’s credit, he doesn’t
publicly blame Mater. But he does
tell his old buddy to make himself scarce during his next race, which hurts
Mater’s feelings tremendously.
Meanwhile, Mater somehow gets
embroiled in an international espionage ring, as a certain device gets
planted on his chassis, and British spies don’t quite know how to deal
with him. At first, they consider his
hick accent and corn-pone declarations to be a very clever disguise.
Then they slowly realize that it’s not a disguise at all, that’s
the way he really is. Now they’re
ready to write him off, assuming he’s completely unintelligent and
unperceptive. But Mater eventually
demonstrates that he’s a lot smarter than people assume, despite
appearances. And eventually,
Lightning repents of rejecting his friend, and tries to restore the
Of course Lightning wins the racing
challenge. But more importantly, the
value of long-standing friendship is affirmed, and we get to make the world
safer for democracy while we’re at it. All
that, and cute, besides.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Co-Pastor,
United Presbyterian Church,