'Cars 2' Uses 3D Better Than Most Live Action Films

It's the 25th anniversary of Pixar Animation and the studio is marking the occasion with a new Cars film. The original came out five years ago and was very successful. Cars 2 is so close to the heart of John Lasseter that he carved out time from being the creative czar of both Pixar and Disney animation to direct it himself.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

It's Pixar Animation's 25th anniversary, and the studio has marked the occasion with a sequel to one of its most successful films. That movie would be "Cars 2."

Kenneth Turan has this review.

KENNETH TURAN: "Cars 2" is a movie that loves autos and doesn't care who knows it. The new film is a "Bourne Identity" type thriller, complete with secret weapons, sinister villains, and a dashing secret agent voiced by Michael Caine.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CARS 2)

LARRY THE CABLE GUY: (as Mater) Hey, I know you. You're that fellow from the Karate demonstration.

MICHAEL CAINE: (as Fin McMissle) I never properly introduced myself. Fin McMissle, British intelligence.

THE CABLE GUY: (as Mater) To-Mater, average intelligence.

TURAN: Yes, that's our old friend, Mater, the unsophisticated tow truck with a heart of gold. He's overseas now, helping his best pal Lightning McQueen, voiced by Owen Wilson, compete in the World Grand Prix. Lightning's toughest competition is the arrogant Italian Formula One car, Francesco Bernoulli, hilariously voiced by John Turturro.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CARS 2")

JOHN TURTURRO: (as Francesco Bernoulli) Oh, Lightning McQueen, buenos sera.

OWEN WILSON: (as Lightning McQueen) Nice to meet you, Francesco.

TURTUTTO: (as Francesco Bernoulli) Nice to meet you, too. You are very good looking. Not as good as I thought, but you're good.

THE CABLE GUY: (as Mater) Excuse me, can I get a picture with you?

TURTURRO: (as Francesco Bernoulli) Ah, anything for a McQueen friend.

THE CABLE GUY: (as Mater) Ms. Sally is going to flip when she sees this.

WILSON: (as Lightning McQueen) Ugh.

THE CABLE GUY: (as Mater) She's Lightning McQueen's girlfriend.

TURTURRO: (as Francesco Bernoulli) Ooh.

THE CABLE GUY: (as Mater) She's a big fan of yours.

TURTURRO: (as Francesco Bernoulli) Hey, she has a good taste.

THE CABLE GUY: (as Mater) She goes on and on about your open wheels here.

TURTURRO: (as Francesco Bernoulli) Francesco is familiar with this reaction to Francesco. Women respect a car that has nothing to hide.

TURAN: Things get even more complicated, when in a bad case of mistaken identity, both Finn McMissile and all the bad guys end up believing that Mater is an ace secret agent who is only pretending to be an idiot tow truck - as if...

"Cars 2" is in 3D and it makes more entertaining and inventive use of that technology than most live-action films, with its numerous action sequences and thrilling auto races.

"Cars 2" is so close to the heart of John Lasseter that he carved out time, from being the creative czar of both Pixar and Disney animation, to direct it himself. It's got engaging characters, an energetic plot, and a smooth and easy sensibility. These cars have become like family to Lasseter, as well as each other, and they never fail to make us smile.

MONTAGNE: The movie is "Cars 2." Our reviewer is Kenneth Turan who reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times.

I'm Renee Montagne.

(SOUNDBITE OF WARNER BROTHERS' MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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