CORPORATE LINE: After taking moviegoers magically into the realm of toys, bugs, monsters, fish, and superheroes, the masterful storytellers and technical wizards at Pixar Animation Studios (“The Incredibles,” “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc.”), and Academy Award-winning director John Lasseter (“Toy Story,” “Toy Story 2,” “A Bug’s Life”), hit the road with a fast-paced comedy adventure set inside the world of cars. Lightning McQueen (voice of OWEN WILSON), a hotshot rookie race car driven to succeed, discovers that life is about the journey, not the finish line, when he finds himself unexpectedly detoured in the sleepy Route 66 town of Radiator Springs. On route across the country to the big Piston Cup Championship in California to compete against two seasoned pros, McQueen gets to know the town’s offbeat characters — including Sally (a snazzy 2002 Porsche voiced by BONNIE HUNT), Doc Hudson (a 1951 Hudson Hornet with a mysterious past, voiced by PAUL NEWMAN), and Mater (a rusty but trusty tow truck voiced by LARRY THE CABLE GUY) — who help him realize that there are more important things than trophies, fame and sponsorship. The all-star vocal cast also includes free-wheeling performances by racing legend Richard Petty and Cheech Marin. Fueled with plenty of humor, action, heartfelt drama, and amazing new technical feats, CARS is a high octane delight for moviegoers of all ages.
THE REVIEW: If someone told you that Larry the Cable Guy saved a movie you’d laugh that person out of the building. With Cars that is the absolute truth. Cars is the rare Pixar movie that lacks a great story or a lot of life. All Pixar movies are entertaining—particularly for kids—but they are so often so great that it’s a real miss when they are merely good. Wouldn’t every studio like to have that problem?
The largest difference to adult viewers is the lack of jokes or gags that usually appeal to the moms and dads in the audience. Don’t get me wrong, kids will enjoy every minute of Cars. The problem is for every one or two kids there is one adult who might doze off.
On the plus side, the animations are simply amazing and breathtaking in the detail. I sat there in awe of the sheen off the cars and how it reflects the lights around corners and still keeping correct perspective. Pixar has the brilliant ability of bring personality to everything they create. So many movies attempt to bring personality—a perfect example is Polar Express—no other studio brings characters to life as brilliantly as Pixar. It’s easy to give personality to a fish, or a toy that looks like a human, but a car? Pixar makes it look easier than it should be.
THE EXTRAS: Included in the extras package is an all-new animated short “Mater and the Ghostlight” which is seven minutes long and absolutely adorable. Kids will love this little short film just as they will enjoy the Academy Award-nominated animated short “One Man Band.” John Lasseter’s discusses his inspiration for the movie Cars. Finally, there are deleted scenes that run roughly ten minutes.
FRANKLY: Cars suffers from too many characters and too few things to do with them. When you have Paul Newman in a film and Larry the Cable Guy steals the show right out from under him it’s a shame. With this great cast and characters the movie should never feel as slow as it does. It’s not the best Pixar movie to date— or the worst. It’s bound to be a movie your family cherishes and your kids watch dozens of times—that actually says quite a bit.
+ Charlie Craine