Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cars (2006) - A Fun Race and Fun People

"Cars" (2006).

The one thing that you can say for certain about "Cars" (2006) is that it is tons of fun! Kids love this, and the toy cars that are merchandises are collectors items. Many a child has spent time in the aisles of a hobby store trying to get that one, final toy car to complete his collection. Directed by old Pixar pros John Lasseter and Joe Ranft, "Cars" takes animation to the next level. It will enthrall kids, but also has a lot to offer adults who are willing to take the time to get to know it.

Cars 2006 yellow car

It won't take long before you, too are hooked on the cars that talk. The funky drawings of the cars make it seem almost silly, but you can tell that real thought went into this production. All you need is a little nudge to get started, and the "Cars" bug might bite you, too!

Cars 2006 tow

Animation is Pixar's bread and butter, not stories, and this film delivers both in spades. You really will be blown away by how smoothly the cars talk, and how natural it seems. Even fairly recent animated films such as "The Land Before Time," which isn't even twenty years older than "Cars," just seem like they are from a different era. If you still think that animation is like "The Flintstones" or 'The Jetsons" (both fine shows, don't get me wrong), well, you are in for a shock when you see "Cars."

Cars 2006 Lightning McQueen grinning

The plot is fairly simple, but it gets the job done. Appropriate homages are directed at NASCAR, which over its 60+ years of existence has accumulated all sorts of freaky stories that are tailor-made to be weaved into a racing car story like this. Lightning McQueen is an arrogant, careless young racer who in an earlier age would have been called still "wet behind the ears." He drives around in a big, fancy truck, he mouths off to people - you get the picture. While being his usual reckless self, he vandalizes the town of Radiator Springs (several towns in Colorado sound like that). The judge is not amused, and doesn't care that Lightning has obligations and deadlines and important things to do. the judge orders him to stay and repair the damage, which he must do quickly in order to make the big race. and is sentenced to repair it.

Cars 2006 small

Naturally, Lightning learns all about life from the simple people who inhabit the town. He comes to care deeply about them and their problems, which stem from the fact that the highway was built which enables travelers to bypass the town whereas formerly they would stop and spend money there. The voice acting by Owen Wilson, Paul Newman and Bonnie Hunt is very effective. Newman, who only did this animated film, is particularly memorable as an old Hudson Hornet which used to win a lot of races, but then had a bad accident and never won again. True racing fans, of course, know the story of the Hudson Hornet, but it is wonderful that the film fictionalizes actual history, making this film at times almost educational. That The King himself, Richard Petty, gets in a few words here and there (along with his wife) just adds to the majesty of this film. That is a reproduction of Petty's 1970 ride with the signature stabilizer, sporting Petty's number 43 and the usual Petty colors.

Cars 2006 The King

A romance develops, so there is something to keep the adults focused. Paul Newman throws in some curmudgeonly curves and teaches the young whippersnapper a thing or two. It's all in good fun, and presents a nice lesson to kids about what it takes to mature and improve yourself.

Cars 2006 blue car near cave

This film gets my highest respect. There are very few animated films that you are likely to enjoy more than this one. Cars 2 is a worthy sequel.


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