Published Jun 01, 2006It might not have been the best concept with which to follow The Incredibles but it looks as though Pixar is so head-and-shoulders above every other animation studio that they can basically phone in a film and maintain the title of creators of the most jaw-dropping cartoons on the big screen. This is not to say that Cars is a lazy film, as it has the same heart and excitement as past productions, but it does suffer from a lack of the cleverness and originality weve come to expect from Pixar.
Lightning McQueen (perfectly voiced by Owen Wilson) is the hottest rookie car on the circuit and is destined to break a three-way tie in a rematch for the Piston Cup in one weeks time. On the way to California, McQueen is accidentally abandoned in a run down town called Radiator Springs, a once thriving business district forgotten after a new interstate breezed through.
The locals hold McQueen after he destroys their main road attempting to escape a squad car and this begins a rather stale plot of a rich and famous hot shot having to deal with small town life and, of course, growing to love his new surroundings and friends. Thankfully, the animation is stunning and the script is sweet and unique enough to make you forget that this isn't Pixar's finest moment.
Cars starts off quite in your face, with an intense, high energy intro that involves a couple of pop culture references and a horrid rendition of Tom Cochranes "Life is a Highway," which is quite disturbing, as Pixar treads Shrek territory. But thankfully, the film starts to fall into place once McQueen meets his new friends.
Bonnie Hunts voice is comforting as Sally the Porsche (shouldn't she be German?) and redneck Larry the Cable Guy does an admirable job giving life to Mater, but the rest of the characters are forgettable. Theres certainly nothing close to the memorable support of Toy Story or Finding Nemo, but the main thing is that Cars looks and feels like a Pixar film and that's enough. Sure, the idea of a world where cars replace people seems a little ridiculous (how do you build a house with tires for hands?) but you get used to it once you see that the insects are actually tiny Volkswagen bugs.
Cars is the weakest Pixar film to date but thats the equivalent of saying its the weakest Beatles album. And because weve grown to expect so much from these movies, Cars will be scrutinised more highly than your average cartoon. But when you take these high demands away you'll agree that this is the year's greatest animated adventure. (Pixar/Disney)