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Directors: John Lasseter, John Ranft
Writers: John Lasseter, John Ranft, Jorgen Klubien, Dan Fogelman, Kiel Murray, Phil Lorin, Robert L. Baird, Brenda Chapman, Daniel Gerson, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Steve Purcell, Dan Scanlon
Voice Cast: Owen Wilson, Larry "The Cable Guy", Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Cheech Marin, Michael Keaton, Tony Shalhoub, Guido Quaroni, Jennifer Lewis, Paul Dooley, Michael Wallis, George Carlin, Katherine Helmond, Richard Petty, Jeremy Piven, Bob Costas, Lynda Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Michael Schumacher, Jay Leno, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Dave Foley, Frank Welker, Arnold Schwarzeneger, Sheryl Crow
Synopsis: While traveling to California for the dispute of the final race of the Piston Cup against The King and Chick Hicks, the famous Lightning McQueen accidentally damages the road of the small town Radiator Springs and is sentenced to repair it. Lightning McQueen has to work hard and finds friendship and love in the simple locals, changing its values during his stay in the small town and becoming a true winner.
MPAA Rating: G
Cars Music Video, "Real Gone", by Sheryl Crow
If there's one thing that I'll give Pixar credit for when it comes to animated movies, it's that you can't say they don't think outside the box to give audiences something unexpected. Although "Cars" isn't exactly one of Pixar's better films, I do find the concept highly innovative to say the least. "Cars" essentially takes place in a world where humans don't exist, and the vehicles that we drive live as if they were humans. To describe the concept of "Cars", it's basically the equivalent of a child who's playing with "Hot Wheel" cars. The child pretends the cars are real, and uses one of them as sort of a surrogate hero to live out their fantasy so to speak. Well if you can grasp that concept, then you should have a general idea of what kind of universe Pixar has created here.
The film essentially follows a young car named Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), who happens to be one of the hottest new race cars in the world, and looks to win his first Piston cup trophy. Unfortunately due to a series of events, he finds himself stranded in a small town called Radiator Springs, and he accidentally ruins the road there, so he ends up getting arrested. Forced to serve community service by fixing the road, as they won't let him leave until he does.
Like all "fish out of water" films, Lightning pretty much has trouble adapting to his new surroundings, as he's used to the glamour of the big city, and stardom. Yet in Radiator Springs, things are more quiet and peaceful. A quaint little town that relies on tourism, or at least it tries to, and Lightning is nothing more than just another visitor that passes through. From here, Lightning learns the value of friendship, and learns there's a lot more to life than winning races.
For what it is, "Cars" a fairly decent animated comedy that the entire family will enjoy. Although the script isn't that great, the voice acting more than makes up for it, as it was kind of interesting to see Owen Wilson's usual dry humor mixed in with Larry "The Cable Guy's" style of low brow comedy. Plus, I was sort of intrigued how well George Carlin and Cheech Marin tried to blend in their typical acting styles into a Disney brand film, as those two are typically the last people you'd ever expect to see voice a character in a Disney movie. In the end, I would probably have to argue that "Cars" features some of the best voice acting that I've ever heard in a cartoon movie, and that's saying a lot considering how many that I've seen.
As for the animation, I thought it was fairly impressive. Although the faces on the cars themselves are obviously fake, but during certain scenes of the movie, you can barely distinguish the cars' appearances from real ones. Needless to say, "Cars" certainly lives up to Pixar's typical standard in terms of visuals.
In the end, I would have to give this movie a two and a half out of four. Sure, it's not the best animated movie out there, but it's certainly entertaining. Plus, it's one of the few kiddie films out there that won't make adults want to shoot themselves for watching such mindless stupidity.