Retro Review: Pixar’s Cars

It has been a long time since Pixar began its quest to revolutionize the animation industry. It started over 10 years ago with the animated classic Toy Story in 1995 and what a ride it has been.

Now there seems to be some fear that Pixar will lose its crown with the release of their latest project “Cars”. So is the film any good? Or is Pixar just riding on exhaust fumes?

The story of their latest project finds a spoiled brat racecar named Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) who believes that he can win every race by himself and seems to be on the verge of becoming immortal on the racetrack. His arrogance gets him in trouble and he almost blows his chances.

Lightning’s whole world comes crashing down around his ankles when he is accidentally lost in the desert and ends up in a small town called Radiator Springs.


There he meets Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), Doc (Paul Newman), Sally (Bonnie Hunt), Luigi (Tony Shalhoub) and a whole crop of interesting characters.

What life lesson will Lightning learn while stuck in the desert? What is Doc’s secret?

“Cars” begins rather slowly and for the first 30 minutes I almost forgot that I was watching a Pixar movie. Then it happened. A beautiful musical montage that finally meant something and revealed exactly what Pixar was trying to say with a film full of talking cars. That made me smile.

You see, for me it was hard watching a film about talking cars. I have no problems with talking animals and insects but I kind of get lost when it comes to cars and trucks. Go figure.

Is it strange that Thomas the Tank Engine creeps me out? Well imagine Thomas on steroids and you kind of have my reaction to Cars.

As is with all Pixar films, the animation and scope of the film is amazing. The landscapes and scenery bleed off the screen with raw energy. As I got comfortable I began to see the cars and trucks as characters and how unique Pixar had made their world. I think that really didn’t sink in until I saw the “flies” buzzing around.

Luigi voiced by Tony Shaloub
Luigi voiced by Tony Shalhoub

My favorite character in the film is the tire salesman Luigi and his helper. I loved that little character and all his hopes and dreams. The character that stole the show was Mater the Tow-Truck who made the whole movie more enjoyable with every simple word he uttered.

I have to say that “Cars” isn’t as strong of a film then say “Finding Nemo” or “The Incredibles” but it definitely ranks above Pixar’s weakest film, “A Bug’s Life”. On the upside, Pixar is still king of animation because any Pixar film is better than 90% of what the other guys make.

You know all my life there are three things I just don’t understand:

1. NASCAR or professional wrestling fans
2. RV owners
3. Movies or TV shows about talking automobiles

Now thanks to Pixar, I at least understand one of these things.

3.5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer.

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