article, "Is Cars 2 a clunker?" for a general response.
Now, thanks to a link from Slashfilm, I've read an early "review" of Cars 2, posted at CC2K. WARNING: There are spoilers in this early look at Cars 2, so read at your own risk. As best I can tell, this appears to be a legitimate review of a very early screening of an incomplete version of Cars 2, with the reviewer noting that "about 70% of the movie was incomplete." However, the comment appears more directed at the unfinished animation rather than the actual story of Cars 2.
Still, the reviewer makes several interesting comments about the Cars 2 story, with the main complaint being Mater, who is apparently the central focus of Cars 2. Personally, I find Mater's antics in Cars and the Cars Toons amusing, as do my children.
As for the early review of Cars 2, keep in mind that the movie isn't due out for another six months, meaning that there is still time for reworking, polishing, refining, etc. Also, given Pixar's history, if Cars 2 is really in trouble they might bump it to 2012. I don't expect that to happen, especially since Pixar's Brave and Monsters, Inc. 2 are scheduled for that year.
No matter what happens, though, Cars 2 is in for a bumpy ride. There are several reasons for this fact. First, critics will continue to compare it to Cars, which is often unfairly branded as Pixar's weakest film or a "mediocre" entry, making them wonder why Cars 2 even needed to be made. Second, expect the money factor to come up a lot. Cars has made an estimated $6 billion in merchandising revenue for Disney-Pixar, so I expect a lot of critics to state that Cars 2 is merely a franchise movie - something to get parents to buy kids more Cars-related stuff. Third, get ready for ongoing comparisons of Cars 2 in relation to other Pixar films, notably Toy Story 3. Why Toy Story 3? Because it's the Pixar film that precedes Cars 2.
There's no doubt in my mind that Toy Story 3 is, in a word, a masterpiece - technically brilliant, wonderful storytelling, emotionally moving. But does every Pixar movie have to take that approach? Certainly we want those key elements in every Pixar movie, but if Cars 2 turns out to be a lighter, laugh-filled romp, is that really so bad? I don't think so. But in comparison to stellar Pixar movies like Toy Story 3, I expect many critics to prejudge Cars 2 as less artistic, a grab for money, filler for the kids, and derivative of any number of spy movies.
I'm doing my best to reserve judgment on Cars 2 until I actually get a chance to see the finished film. But be warned, whatever happens, this much is certain: Cars 2 is in for a bumpy ride.