Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Cars is Walt Disney and Pixar's latest animated tale. It's set in a world where there are no people but where the machines like cars and planes are all alive. It's all about a cocky stock car called Lightning McQueen and his coming to realize what's really important in life. Here's a brief summary of the plot…

Up and coming rookie of the year Lightning McQueen has his sights set on winning the Piston Cup and a lucrative sponsorship deal with Dinoco. However, the final ends in a three way tie with his two main rivals, Chick "Hicks" Murphy and Strip "The King" Weathers and so a tie-breaker race is scheduled.

However, on the way to the race track, a series of mishaps befalls him. First his crew walk out on him after his usual arrogant behaviour and then, when asleep in his transporter, it's nudged off the road and he ends up stranded on a back road in the desert. While trying to find his way back to the Interstate, he goes out of control and crashes through the small town of Radiator Springs, doing a great deal of damage on the way. Of course the local judge doesn't take too kindly to this and he ends up being sentenced to community service and has to repair all the damage he's done before they'll let him continue on his way to the big race.

Though he really wants to avoid the work and escape from the hick town and it's motley inhabitants, he eventually learns that there are more important things in both life and racing than winning trophies.

Based on the American NASCAR racing theme, Pixar have again come up with an amazingly well animated feature. The graphics and art work are top notch and the sound is amazing - think Days Of Thunder and you're right in there, amidst the deafening roar of dozens of high powered muscle cars whizzing around the track.

The voice talent is as good as ever with Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen and Paul Newman as Doc Hudson being the two main characters but with excellent support from Larry The Cable guy as Mater, Bonnie Hunt as Sallie, Michael Keaton as Chick Hicks and the Disney/Pixar stalwart John Ratzenberger voicing four different characters. There are even cameos from real NASCAR stars Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip and Bob Costas as well as some other notables like Jay Leno, Michael Schumacher and Mario Andretti. Oh, and Jeremy Clarkson gets his oar in on the British version as McQueen's agent, Harv.

The storyline is very similar to Doc Hollywood in that an up and coming wannabe gets stuck in a small town and learns to appreciate the slower things in life, to value friendship and even finds love. It works very well in that the characters are all pretty well developed and the attention to detail is as good as ever. I really liked this movie and would love to see it again but I'm not sure some of the messages in there would be picked up by children but there's enough humour in there to keep them amused. Stay right to the end of the credits as they're pretty funny in themselves.

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family, Sport
My Rating 8/10

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