12. Cars 2 (2011)
Cars 2 takes its characters out of charming Radiator Springs for an international adventure.
The resulting film winds up becoming a bright, loud mess trying too hard. Though Pixar chief John Lasseter denied that Disney forced him to make the movie, Cars 2 seems to have more in common with Michael Eisner’s “cheapquels” (the sequels rushed out to make quick money and sell merchandise) — though this film didn’t come cheap.
There’s so much wrong with Cars 2. Shifting the bulk of the action from Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) to Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy) doesn’t work. Let’s face it: a little Mater goes a long way. The environmental message winds up being more annoying than insidious. And for all the candy-colored ADD action, the movie generates little genuine excitement.
Cars 2 became Pixar’s lowest-grossing film in North America since 1998, and critics had largely less-than-kind words. The fact that it was the first Pixar feature to fail to generate Oscar nods says a lot too.