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Cars Review

Published June 9, 2006 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Walt Disney Pictures
Cars Cars
Cars is definitely not the worst Pixar movie. That was A Bug’s Life. Doesn’t anybody remember how surface and banal that was? They couldn’t even come up with a good failure for the hero so they blamed him for an idea that was actually good. Nah, you just like the German worm.

Cars Movie Review

So Cars may not hold up to Toy Story, Monsters, Nemo or The Incredibles but it’s still a good movie. It’s exciting, funny and meaningful which is all you could want from any movie. It doesn’t have much depth as the story is pretty linear, and it’s definitely too long, but it’s always entertaining.

Perhaps it’s hard for me to look beyond the fact that the story is a remake of Doc Hollywood. Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is a spoiled celebrity racer who gets stuck in a small town, forced to repave the road he destroyed. Reluctant at first, he ultimately learns the value of true friends and quiet living. Doc Hollywood.

It’s as good a theme as any, but they certainly don’t explore the depth that modern day fame could allow. It’s just the A-hole turns good guy story. And boy, is Lightning an A-hole. He spends the first half of the movie really just complaining without any wit. It’s “Dinoco this, Dinoco that.” Dinoco is the name of the company whose endorsement he wants. It’s only when he starts coming around that the film finds its charming groove.

Luckily there’s enough action to get you to that point. The opening race scene is the most exciting ever put on film. Epic car crashes and cartoony stunts, not to mention the sharply detailed arena itself, make the opening far more gripping than a real NASCAR race. Freeway scenes and dirt races also excite.

Cars could easily be the best looking Pixar film to date. The epic vistas across the country are densely populated with detail. The cars are adorable, Lightning with his big red smile, even the villainous Chick Hicks with his goofy moustache. Their faces have expressive eyes and mouths which surely was the biggest hurdle in designing characters out of auto body frames. Scuffs and scratches alter their surface realistically but the shiny clean once reflect the whole world.

There are a few cute car puns like “Float like a Cadillac, sting like a Beamer” but other bits like “opposite world” just feel like immature two-year-old cracks. It’s surprising that they went for so much bathroom humor. There are lots of farts and Lightning’s current sponsor, a bumper ointment, is clearly just ass cream. Since when does Pixar have to resort to ass cream?

Some of the fast montages mimicking commercial and MTV style cutting are just distracting. Considering the length hurts the pacing, all of those could go. Also expendable are the whole backwards driving scene (it hardly pays off), all the dream sequences and especially the sad Disney song. Come on. Lightning’s already learning his lessons and they have to go for nostalgia and sympathy? Although, it still works. I felt sorry for the cars.

Look, it was a good run for Pixar to have five out of six perfect movies. Cars is still a quality movie, it just brings down the curve a little bit. The funniest part is still the end credits. This time, they’ve topped even their fake outtakes with the latest inside joke.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Walt Disney Pictures

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