“Cars 2”
“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 Cable Guy).
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 friendship.
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, Greenville , Texas