Cars (2006)
Directed by: John Lasseter and Joe Ranft

Premise: An animated film. In a fantasy world where cars are people, racing superstar Lightening McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) gets stuck in an off the map little town on his way to a major cup race.

What Works: The quality of the animation in Cars really brings the medium to a new level. Many shots on the racetrack look as though they were filmed with live cars, and everything from the textures to the density of the objects is done perfectly. Despite featuring a world populated by talking cars, the film does not get obnoxious or nauseating like Shark Tale, and keeps its focus on the characters. Amazingly, the film is able to make Mater, voiced by Larry the Cable Guy, an interesting and sympathetic character. 

What Doesn’t: Although the principle characters are well rounded, the minor character are not so lucky and in some cases fall into racial stereotypes. As with many of the recent computer animated films, the plot is not very innovative. Many of the films in this genre have attempted to integrate subtle adult humor into the film but Cars actually takes a step away from this and plays more like a straight children’s movie.

Bottom Line: Pixar, whose other work includes Toy Story and Finding Nemo, are masters of creating genuine characters and assembling films whose appeal go beyond eye candy and are dramatically engaging. This film will entertain, although it will be more enjoyable for children than for adults. 

 

Episode: #104 (July 23, 2006)