Cameos, in-jokes, re-used animation and other trivia from Cars 2.
References to Cars
- Near the beginning of the movie, Mater asks Lightning McQueen if he can handle Mater's plans, and Lightning says that he can handle anything. He also said that he can handle anything after Mater asks him if he wants to go Tractor Tipping in the first movie.
- Several brands that sponsored Piston Cup teams in Cars appear in Cars 2 on advertisements in Tokyo. These includes Nitroade, RPM, Easy Idle, Vitoline, Mood Springs, Clutch Aid, Tank Coat, Gasprin, an allusion to Lil' Torquey Pistons and Dinoco. Also, Lightning McQueen had the same Rust-eze sponsor in the beginning of the movie.
- At the end of the movie, Finn McMissile tells Mater that if he needs anything, just ask, and Mater says that there is one thing. That was very similar to at the end of Cars when Tex Dinoco tells Lightning McQueen that if he needs anything, just ask, and Lightning McQueen says that there is one thing.
- Both movies end on a flying machine getting in the view of the camera, while Lightning McQueen races away on the roads of Radiator Springs in the background.
- Both films include numerous guest stars appearances.
- Some ideas that didn't made the cut of Cars made their way into Cars 2. In a scene that never went beyond storyboarding, Lightning and Sally went to see a movie featuring a British spy car called Finn McMissile. From there came the spy theme of Cars 2 and its main spy car. In early versions of Cars, Lightning McQueen organized a Radiator Springs Grand Prix to bring back interest on the town. This idea was found as a good way to end Cars 2.
- The Porto Corsa big crash is similar to the Piston Cup crash in the beginning of the first film.
- In Cars 2, Carla Veloso is the only woman racer in the World Grand Prix.
- Both movies end with the main character getting a girlfriend.
- When the Japanese toilet shoots water at Mater's undercarriage, he makes the same scream that he made in the first film when he was spinning like a tornado while he was driving backwards.
- In the closing credits, Mater uses his hook to make the Leaning Tower of Pisa upright, then it leans to the other side. This is a reference to in the first film when Mater uses his hook to try to make his sign upright, but then it leans to the other side.
- Also, when Mater gets covered in soap from the Japanese toilet, he makes the same babbling that he makes in the first film when he's driving backwards.
References to Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales
- Several characters from Tokyo Mater, including Kabuto, appear at the World Grand Prix welcome party at the Tokyo National Art Center.
- Tokyo as it appears in Cars 2 reuses many elements from how it appeared in Tokyo Mater. Notably, many advertisements appear without a change in both films.
- The priests and altar boys have the same design as the ones that appear in El Materdor. Additionally, bulldozers from El Materdor appear during the credits.
- Many of the British Army vehicles appear to be reused models from Unidentified Flying Mater.
- In the end of the film, Mater tells everyone his story, but Van doesn't believe him. But then, Holley comes in the town, proving that Mater's story is real. This is very similar to the ending of the episodes of Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales.
- Gusteau's from Ratatouille appears under the name of Gastow's.
- In Tokyo, a billboard of Harryhausen's from Monsters, Inc. makes a cameo.
- Also in Tokyo, an advertisement for a Lotso bear from Toy Story 3 is seen.
- In the beginning of the movie while McQueen and Mater are in Radiator Springs, the drive-in they pass by is playing a movie titled "The Incredimobiles", a reference to The Incredibles. The Incredimobile is also one name given to Mr. Incredible's car seen in that film's prologue.
- The Incredibles is again mentioned on a French poster in the entrance of the Marché Aux Pièces. It bears the French title of the film, Les Indestructibles.
- Also at the entrance is a poster for A Bug's Life, using the French title of the film, 1001 Pattes (1001 Legs). This marks the second time this movie is mentioned in the Cars franchise, with the first time being in the credits of Cars.
- The jungle from which Miles Axlerod emerges during the clip on the Mel Dorado show is the jungle from Up.
- The tapestry of Merida and her family that plays a central role in Brave appears "car-ified" in the Ye Left Turn Inn in London.
- A113 appears three times in Cars 2:
- As in Cars, A113 is present on Mater's license plate.
- A113 also appears on Siddeley's tail.
- When Finn, Holley and Mater are examining the photo of the mystery engine, the digits "A113" are pictured in a sort-of VIN number Digiting.
- Todd the Pizza Planet Truck returned again in this film, where he appears twice:
- He is seen on TV right before the Mel Dorado Show airs.
- He attends the Radiator Springs Grand Prix.
- Some references to the film's director John Lasseter appear in Cars 2:
- Jeff Gorvette's pit crew chief John Lassetire is a cameo of John Lasseter.
- An advertisement on the sidelines of the race in London is for "Lassetyre".
- A road in London is named "Lasseter Way".
- In the credits, it was shown that Mater's birthday was January 12, 1957, which is the same as John Lasseter's.
- In the credits, Vitaly Petrov, a character exclusive to the Russian version of the film, can be seen on a Russian postcard.
- Similarly, a "China" banner also in the credits incorporates the hood and trunk ornamentations of Long Ge, a character from the Chinese version.
- In the credits, while the camera pans through a cartoon San Francisco, the Pixar Animation Studios appears on the map with a giant Luxo Lamp above it.
- In the credits, some of the travel brochures passing by have pictures of Luxo, Jr. and the Luxo Ball, as well as a fictional airline company called "Pixair", a reference to Pixar.
- Cars 2 is the first sequel Pixar has produced that is not based on the Toy Story movies.
- Cars is the second Pixar film to become a franchise after Toy Story.
- The world globe that appears on some posters has geographical differences with the real Earth: some regions have been stretched and modified to get the silhouette of main characters of the movie; Ireland is shaped as Lightning McQueen, Labrador as Mater, the island of Hispaniola as Finn McMissile, the Lake Superior as Francesco Bernoulli, and Iceland as Professor Z. Also, on the posters (except on the Cars 2 Video Game button on PS3 console menus and the Cars 2 video game starting menu), Iceland is closer to Britain and Ireland than on the real Earth. Nevertheless, it has been shown that continents in the Cars world are actually as in the real world. Indeed, when the Earth is shown in Moon Mater, the countries that were changed on the Cars 2 posters are normal-shaped and Iceland is at its normal distance from Britain and Ireland.
- The character team built 145 new character models for the film and 781 variants. These variants, which are primarily background cars, include 13 model variants – unique character models that are based on other new models – and 768 shading variants – models that are re-used from classic and new Cars, Cars 2 and Cars Toons models, but with new, unique paint schemes. In total, there are 926 new characters in Cars 2.
- Mater says that his line of work is towing and salvage. Finn replies by saying, "Right. And Ms. Shiftwell's is designing iPhone apps." This is a reference to Apple's smartphone line.
- State Farm is mentioned briefly. When McMissile and Shiftwell tell Mater that he is a secret agent, he thinks they mean an insurance agent, and sings, "Like a good neighbor, Mater is there!", a reference to the State Farm jingle.
- Cars 2 has the lowest score Rotten Tomatoes has given to Pixar, with an average score of 39% based on 204 reviews by critics and stated as rotten. This is also the first Pixar film to earn a rotten ranking.
- At the Marché aux Pièces in Paris, one car has eyes in her headlights, which is an allusion to their standard location on anthropomorphic cars. It refers to how John Lasseter felt it was more appealing for the eyes to be on the windshield instead.
- A large number of background characters (including the World Grand Prix racers Miguel Camino and Max Schnell) have the tire codes "P215/65R15 89H" and "Traction A Temperature A". Raoul ÇaRoule is a rare exception, having a different tire code reading "P210/70R18 99S".
- In the short YouTube documentary A Day in the Life of John Lasseter, it is shown that during the end of production of Cars 2, Professor Z's lines in the interrogation scene with Rod "Torque" Redline were changed to remove any references to radiation ("electro-magnetic pulse" was originally "blast of radiation"). John Lasseter asked that the lines be changed out of respect for Japan, due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that happened there three months before the film's release in the United States, which was caused by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. However, in the Cars 2 Junior Novelization and the Cars 2 magazine, "blast of radiation" was used, probably because they were made before they changed the line.
- One of the film's posters can be seen in the 2011 Muppets movie.
- The first character seen in the movie, Leland Turbo, and the last character seen in the movie, Siddeley, are both voiced by Jason Isaacs.
- This was the second time in the Cars series when Mater was flying. The first was in Unidentified Flying Mater.
- During the Mel Dorado show, a picture of the scientists examining the Allinol has a table in the background saying "Automotive Table of Elements," a reference to the "Periodic Table of Elements." The table has the same chemical symbols as the actual Periodic Table.
- The bathroom fight in Tokyo between Rod "Torque" Redline, Acer and Grem is a reference to the pre-credits sequence of the James Bond film Casino Royale.
- Cars 2 is the last Pixar and only Cars film to use the 2006 Walt Disney Pictures logo. Cars 3 used the 2011 Disney logo.
- This is the last Pixar film released before Steve Jobs' death.
- This is the only Cars film not to have a post-credit scene.
- This is the only Cars film not to be composed by Randy Newman.
- This is the only Cars film not to feature Paul Newman as Doc Hudson, Doc is only mentioned in the film.
- In the first Cars film, all background cars are completely fictional car models (using generic designs like "sedan", "coupe", "hatchback", "station wagon", "SUV", and "pickup truck"), but in this movie, all background cars are now real car models.
- The Wilhelm scream is heard when the cars in the Ye Left Turn Inn beat Grem and Acer up.
- This is the only Cars film in Australia to be given a PG rating.
- Cars 2 marks Pixar's 25th anniversary.
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