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"It's kind of nice to slow down every once in a while."
8/10 "Cars didn't ride on it to make great time; they rode on it to have a great time."5 years ago
It's not hard to make a successful movie. It's simple, really. Exceed my expectations. Make me feel. Force me to care. Deliver a somewhat cliched message, but deliver it in such a way that the meaning resounds. Teach me the same lessons that your characters learn. And above all, entertain.
Pretty easy, right? Well, at least Pixar makes it look that way because with Cars they have once again succeeded.
I'll be honest; I had my doubts about the movie. How would they be able to take a story featuring nothing but vehicles, with nary a human in sight, and keep my interest for a full two hours? Animals are one thing, but could Pixar successfully master the personification of modes of transportation?
Yes, they could, and they did.
Thanks to Director Lasseter's strong attention to detail, going so far as to insist that the vehicles bend and gesture in ways that were true to their construction, every car and truck truly becomes a unique character and personality. And along with those characters and personalities comes a story which yes, contains a well-traveled theme, but it comes with so much charm that even Grouchy McKilljoy's hard little heart can't help but be warmed.
Don't worry if you're not a racing fan; I assure you it's not a requirement to enjoy the movie. I love watching muscle cars race the quarter mile (ask me about my '69 Camaro), but NASCAR doesn't do it for me. That's another aspect about the film that gave me pause. I once fell asleep at a NASCAR qualifying race, despite the 90-degree heat and ear-splitting decibel levels, so would Cars keep me awake and interested? Within five minutes my worries began to slowly subside as I happily settled in for the ride.
Animation should be about bringing imagination to life. Give us something that can't be done in live action. Cars does this so effectively that it almost seems a redundancy to comment on how Pixar continues to raise the CGI bar. The scenery on screen is awe-inducing to the point that it's getting harder to distinguish the real from the created. The filmmakers have gone so far as to perfect reflections in the cars and to pay careful attention to weeds growing out of cracks in the sidewalk. I don't see any way you could not be visually stunned.
But impressive visuals are little comfort if I'm not presented with a story that I care to follow. No problems there. If you're the kind of person who loves to go "awwwww" at movies then prepare to be satisfied. What I appreciate the most is that, at the risk of causing some youngsters to become restless, time and attention has been given to character and story development. Lasseter and his team stood their ground and resisted any pressure to trim this to a runtime more suitable to those with limited attention spans, and I thank them for it.
As I said earlier, Cars hit the starting line with a disadvantage. I didn't greet it with a warm smile. I crossed my arms, furrowed my brow, and dared it to prove my preconceived notions wrong.
It proceeded to exceed my expectations. It made me feel for its characters and forced me to care about McQueen's journey, both to California and to a different viewpoint on life. Sure, the "slow down and enjoy the scenery" message may seem a little routine, but it's a message I took to heart.
Immediately following the movie I was on the Internet looking up information regarding Route 66. I'm now ready for a road trip void of interstates and efforts to beat my best time. I feel like slowing down a bit and exploring the unknown. Give me the scenic route, and give me more finely-tuned, detailed movies like Cars. That's all I ask. Two hours of entertainment that make me care, even if briefly, about something other than myself and what goal has to be accomplished next.
See? It was simple, really. At least Pixar made it look that way.
Pixar has done it again.
10/10 I had my doubts. I knew that Pixar would fail this time around. No way were they going to pull this off for a seventh time.5 years ago
I was very, very wrong.
I went to see a special screening of "Cars" a few weeks ago, and this movie blew me away. The animation is gorgeous, the story brings a smile to your face, and you can't help falling in love with all of the colorful characters. It definitely has that genuine Pixar "heart" that you rarely see in any other CGI film. At first I thought the movie would be centered around a lot of NASCAR-like racing, but it really wasn't, much to my surprise (and pleasure). This movie is definite Pixar gold. I absolutely loved it.
Although I don't want to give any spoilers away, I will say that my favorite scene would have to be when Mater drags McQueen out to do a bit of "Tractor Tipping". The whole theater was filled with laughter. Heck, it even got some laughs out of me, which is rare when it comes to a kid's movie.
Be there on opening night. This is movie is worth all of your time and money.
9/10 I thought the story looked very lame from previews, and the concept didn't appeal to me. But when I saw an early screening I was surprised, it was well written and well executed. They didn't overload the movie with automotive jokes, which I think would have hurt the story and character development. Owen Wilson's voice is great for his role. Overall, it's on par with other Pixar films, even if it may not be their best so far. The animation is superb, definitely the best they've done. Giving something like cars distinct personality and characterization seems like it would be pretty tough, and they do a great job with it. See this movie the day it opens.5 years ago
This movie is great
10/10 But WHY is it great?5 years ago
1. Visually. From the very first moments of the film, my mouth was hanging open. I mean, what the hell? Nothing looks this good. I have no idea how they made the cars look so much like real cars, and STILL make them look so much like characters. And the settings? Having grown up and traveled all over the South West United States (including more than one pilgrimage down Route 66) They captured, not only the visuals, but the atmosphere and character America's Main Street Perfectly. Frankly, if you put real actors in many of the scenes, you wouldn't realize it was computer generated you know, if the landscape wasn't made up of old car parts.
2. Creativity. Talking animals. Every cartoon HAS to have talking animals. Only so many cartoons can be about talking animals trying to bamboozle around with humans. Thank goodness for Cars. They create an entirely believable world populated by machines, with tractor cows, and somehow they still have George Jones and Hendrix. The story IS quite predictable, but it's still quite creative. With this level of creative juice flowing in one of John's babies, I can't wait to see what he has in store for further feature animation and theme parks.
3. Characters. I have a beef with Hollywood. They have no idea what life in a small town is like. They either try and stuff their ideals and attitude into a western shirt, or else fill America's heartland with dolts, "we don't like outsiders" sheriffs, or crazed murderers. Thankfully, Pixar did their homework and featured small town folk as they really are: eclectic, eccentric, loyal, creative with their fun, friendly with visitors, and really worth while. The subtle touches, such as the lovable rivalry between the Hippie van and the Army truck, or the crazy old Model T talking to the memorial of her dead husband (very touching), gives a complex and wonderfully, realistically diverse view off small town life. The same is true with the racing world. Wilson and Newman are, of course, fantastic. It's funny how the gravel in Newman's voice fits perfectly with the rumble of his engine, likewise Wilson's distinct voice sounds just like the high-tuned growl of a race car. Every voice is so paired. Bottom line, you leave loving virtually every character in the movie.
4. Story. A little bit A Christmas Carol, a little bit The Sting. The story starts out fast and exciting, like the race it portrayed. The big second act meanders lazily from one fantastic story point to the next, just like Route 66 drives from one landmark to another. I can see why some may say it can get slow, but, as is one of the points of the story, the joy is in the ride. And again, the third act flows quickly and furiously like, well, another race.
I give it a score of 10 out of 10. I can't wait to see it again.
Truly Moving Picture
10/10 I saw this film on May 31st, 2006 in Indianapolis. I am one of the judges for the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award. A Truly Moving Picture " explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life." Heartland gave that award to this film.5 years ago
The most famous streak in sports is probably Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak. The most famous hit streak in film entertainment is probably Pixar's feature film animation streak. With "Cars", it's seven in row for outstanding storytelling that is well executed and is (or will be) rewarded with blockbuster box office grosses. "Toy Story", "Toy Story 2", "Monsters, Inc.", "Finding Nemo", "The Incredibles", and "A Bug's Life" are the other six gems.
The story is about Lightning McQueen a rookie NASCAR-type racer. Of course, he is a car and not a human; or, he is a human in the form of the car. Take your pick. Either way, he is not an attractive persona. He is selfish, unappreciative, greedy, two-faced and has no real friends. But, he is a great driver and is tied for The Piston (read Winston) Cup annual championship with two other drivers. On the way to the runoff race in California, he accidentally gets off in a sleepy and forgotten town on Route 66 named Radiator Springs.
In this hillbilly hell of a town, he is punished for speeding and tearing up the road by the sheriff. As he serves his sentence with community work, he discovers the town is inhabited by rejects and misfits, who all have hearts of gold. Can they change Lightning and make him over to have positive traits like honesty, integrity, respect, honor, sacrifice, humility, and compassion? That's the drama that unfolds. Lightning is a hard case, and the outcome is always in doubt.
The cars/people are incredible. Shortly into the movie you forget that the people are cars or the cars are people, you suspend disbelief, and you just begin to watch an engaging story about real people. The windshields are their eyes, and the grilles are their mouths, and they display emotions as well as any human actor. The story is serious and light-hearted at the same time. The puns are too numerous to catch. And this is a must-see-twice-to-get-it-all movie.
FYI There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past Truly Moving Picture Award winners that are now either at the theater or available on video.