Knowing that I’m a big Pixar fan, I decided that I would try to be as impartial as possible in watching the new movie, Cars. I did a good job too—I thought. At first I was jaded as I heard Randy Newman’s Disney/Pixar logo fanfare at the beginning and I thought, “Oh yes, this is a John Lasseter film and he ALWAYS uses Randy Newman.” Then I was cynical as the movie started and I thought, “Is this going to be an hour and a half long Chevron talking car commercial?” And then the race began… I was hooked.
The story is about Lightning McQueen, voiced by Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers, Shanghai Noon), a rookie on the racing circuit with a huge fan base and even larger ego. When his arrogance leads to botching his easy victory which ends up being a three-way tie, a showdown race is scheduled between the three winners in California for the following week.
On the way to California, his impatience causes him to be stranded in Radiator Springs, an old forgotten Route 66 desert town with an unusual automobile population. It’s here that he learns that his one-man-team/win-at-all-costs mentality is not the way to find true happiness and make real friends.
Pixar definitely is the top CGI animation studio for technological innovation and it showed in the smoke left by the squealing tires and the visual depth of the crowds in the opening racing scenes. The reflections on the cars actually made me think that they must have used real cars in places. The realism was amazing!
As with all Pixar films, their technological prowess never upstages the depth and charm of their characters. Owen Wilson is perfectly cast as the self absorbed speedster, and the Radiator Springs gallery of misfits all have their special charm and appeal. Tony Shalhoub (Monk, Galaxy Quest) does a perfectly unrecognizable accent as the obsessive Luigi, the European auto mechanic; Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting) has a powerful presence as the road weary Doc Hudson; but perhaps the most memorable of the bunch will be Larry the Cable Guy (Larry the Cable Guy), who voices the innocent and brash Mater, the tow truck.
I have to say that Pixar has done it right again. While I wouldn’t classify this as my most favorite of their movies, it in no way tarnishes their reputation for putting out the finest in CGI Animation, if not the finest in family entertainment.
I dare you not to enjoy this movie.