Pixar is a movie studio that is full of history. Back in 1995, they created the first fully computer-animated motion picture, Toy Story. I first saw that film around the time of its released and I’ve enjoyed almost every film they’ve made ever since.
In 2006 Pixar released a film that took the simple idea of auto racing and gave the cars themselves personalities and faces. This film was Cars and it builds a beautiful story around the idea of autonomous cars. Everything from the windshields for eyes or the grills as mustaches to the landscape’s design, it all seamlessly incorporates the design of classic cars.
On the verge of being the only rookie to ever win the Piston Cup Championship, Lightning McQueen is the star of this film. As voiced by Owen Wilson, we quickly learn he only cares about himself. Eventually, he finds himself in jail in a backwater town called Radiator Springs. While there, he learns a bit of history on what happened to little towns likes these when the interstate was built. Eventually, he realizes life is bigger than himself and befriends the people of the town.
Doc Hudson, voiced by Paul Newman, is the leader of the town and one who wants nothing to do with Lightning McQueen. Bonnie Hunt voices Sally Carrera, the car that is most outspoken on Lighting’s transgressions. Larry the Cable Guy brings plenty of humor and laughter to the story through voicing Mater, a tow truck who seems to be the strangest car in town.
Tony Shalhoub voices Luigi, an Italian tire salesman who is a massive fan of European racing, especially Ferraris. His best friend Guido is voiced by Guido Quaroni, and is the forklift who installs all tires sold by Luigi.
Ramone, voiced by Cheech Marin, runs the local body shop and always shows up in a different paint scheme. And Ramone’s wife, Flo, is voiced by Jenifer Lewis. She’s the owner of the local watering hole, Flo’s V-8 Café. Michael Wallis as Sheriff brings to life the car that keeps an eye on Lighting after the incident that gets him arrested in the first place.
George Carlin voices Fillmore, the local hippie who is always trying to get cars to drink his all organic fuel; and Paul Dooley as Sarge, Fillmore’s best friend and the owner of the local military surplus store. Katherine Helmond voices Lizzie, the towns elderly woman who was married to the founder of the town.
Rounding out the cast is Richard Petty and Michael Keaton, voicing The King and Chick Hicks, respectfully. These two are Lightning’s main competitors and are the other racers trying to win the championship.
Cars take a lot of its comedic cues from pop culture. For instance, there’s the homage to Michael Jordon’s classic tongue out style and Sally’s tribal design tattoo. The world itself brings in humor fitting for both children and adults alike. The flies, for instance, looking like Volkswagon Beetles with wings are humorous, and everything throughout the film revolves around automobiles in some form or another.
There is also some comedy aimed to capture the attention of adult viewers. But don’t worry, as it is still appropriate for the little ones to hear. The twins “flashing” their brights at Lightning and the Sheriff’s comment to Lightning when he comes into his appointment at Doc’s are perfect examples of some of the kid-friendly adult humor, as this comedy usually goes over the heads of the younger audience.
Overall I enjoyed this movie. The main story has a heart, showing good things happen when you don’t care just about yourself. With humor for all ages and little things that will make you want to watch it again.
A movie I recommend for the whole family. Cars has a strong cast and the humor that elevates it to one of Pixar’s classic films. It’ll keep you coming back to it again and again.