Friday, June 09, 2006


Directed by John Lasseter
Written by Lasseter, Philip Loren, Kiel Murray, Dan Fogelman, Jorgen Klubien, et al.
Walt Disney Pictures

Pixar continues to rule, and even though Cars ends up being middle-of-the-pack as far as Pixar's complete lineup from Toy Story on goes, that only means it's very good. Detail and story are what make the company's CG cartoons rise above the competition.

In this, in what reminded me a lot of Doc Hollywood, a slick, pompous race car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) finds himself lost in the desert town of Radiator Springs on his way to California for the big Piston Cup. His reckless driving through the town causes road damage and he is sentenced to stay until the road is fixed. There, he meets his future best friend, the tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy, who is one of the big highlights of this picture), his love interest Sally (Bonnie Hunt), and a variety of others--including Ferrari-loving Luigi (Tony Shaloub) and Guido (Guido Quaroni)--also big highlights. Rounding out the team are cars voiced by George Carlin, Paul Dooley, Cheech Marin, and of course, Paul Newman as Doc Hudson, a former Piston Cup champ keeping quiet in a small town.

Of course, there comes a time when Lightning starts making friends, becomes more humble, and then at the appropriate time, has to leave. But where Cars is refreshing is when the moment arrives, it doesn't become this drastic 180 degree change for the hero, alienating his new friends, and creating third-act tension where he tries to not only win the race but win his friends back as well.

As always, there are clever sight gags all over--rewarding repeat viewings. There's even good stuff in the credits--especially when John Ratzenberger, who plays the rig that totes Lightning across the country, watches car versions of Pixar's Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., and A Bug's Life. Also, like every Pixar release, there's a short ("One Man Band") that is very funny. It's like Pixar tries to give you value for every cent you pay--that can't be said about 99% of movies out there.

Another winner--will it ever end? Looking forward now to next summer's Ratatouille.


Post a Comment

<< Home