Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 7, Page

Cars: A Good Ride for Kids of All Ages

Words by Mike Bumbeck

A general aversion to anything Disney might keep some away from the theatres when it comes to Cars, the latest effort from Emeryville, California-based PIXAR studios. While it was a big leap of faith to get over these initial fears and to dig into the old billfold to fork over some dough, the PIXAR team does not disappoint. A large part of any movie is whether or not the moviegoer can buy into the illusion that the movie itself presents. In the case of Cars the illusion was so well thought out and cleverly produced that within seconds of the theatre going dim and the film rolling the viewer is convinced that talking cars and trucks make perfect sense. One quickly snaps into the characters and storyline regardless if they like actual automobiles or not, while the automotive enthusiast has more than enough historical and automotive cultural references to keep the mind locked into the lush visual fantasy world populated by anthropomorphic racecars, tow trucks, semi-trailers, and road going dialogue.

The talking car that ends up star of the film is a scrappy and cocky punk racecar, erm…kid named Lightning McQueen, voiced by none other than Owen Wilson. The kid finds himself in some trouble at the hands of Judge Doc Hudson, and in the position to learn things he didn't know that he needed to. The impressive part is that despite the fact that there are nothing but cars in the movie it takes no time at all to forget that while cars can indeed

have some personality, they don't usually tell jokes and pass on fatherly wisdom. Director John Lassiter creates a world devoid of human beings but full of humanity, and the art and genius of the animators and artists behind the hundreds of thousands of frames that comprise the film shines though to complete the story in a way that defies its slightly less than two hours of running time.

The success of Cars lies in this world it creates. On one level the movie is a sweet story of a punk kid finding out what true friendship and honor really means though the vehicle of life's lessons, and on the other hand the film is rife with so many well thought out and accurate automotive historical references that only the most jaded and grumpy of motorsport and car nuts will leave the theatre disappointed. At numerous points through the movie tips of the hat are made to American stock car racing history along with the impact the automobile has had on the very fabric of America itself. The film succeeds in the world it creates through the use of varied and thoroughly enjoyable characters. The voice work of Tony Shalhoub, Paul Newman, Cheech Marin, and even Richard Petty are just some of the star power used in conjunction with the animation magic of PIXAR throughout the film, and more than enough to keep both adults and kids entertained.


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