Despite the fictional and light-hearted nature of “Cars 2,” its parallels to current-day issues, particularly regarding corporations’ contributions to climate change, can hardly be overstated. Literature analyzing political systems often caters to an audience of people already well versed in the convoluted language of academia, namely those who can afford elite universities or have college educated parents, subsequently excluding a large number of people. “Cars 2,” however, is geared towards anyone over the age of three, making this masterpiece of politically critical media more accessible — and more entertaining.
The film follows its protagonist, Tow Mater, as he stumbles into a world of international spies. He joins agents Finn McMissle and Holly Shiftwell in uncovering a plot to sabotage the World
Grand Prix, an international racing tournament. Mater discovers that Sir Axelrod, creator of the biofuel corporation sponsoring the competition, had been intentionally wrecking the race; using electromagnetic pulse guns to explode engines and crash race cars (all of which were running on his biofuel). The ensuing chaos caused widespread distrust in biofuels, thus facilitating large-scale fossil fuel dependency – creating major profits for Axelrod, who recently acquired a massive oil deposit. This is a classic example of wealthy capitalists choosing personal gain over both the environment and the greater good. Sarge, a veteran jeep, sums it up aptly in his closing line: “Once big oil, always big oil…man.”
Fun and childish on the surface, “Cars 2” provides a critical and digestible take on capitalism. It combines classic entertainment with political commentary on the realities of big business and environmentally destructive practices. Though allegedly not based on a true story, Sir Axelrod and his faulty biofuel represent all corporations, a reminder that they will always choose profit over people — or cars.