Cars

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Cars
Cars 2006.jpg
Ka Chow!
Genre: Sports
Directed by: John Lasseter
Produced by: Darla K. Anderson
Starring: Paul Newman
Owen Wilson
Cinematography: Jeremy Lasky
Jean Claude Kalache
Release date: June 9, 2006
Runtime: 117 minutes
Country: America
Language: English
Budget: $120 million
Box office: $462 million
Franchise: Cars
Sequel: Cars 2


Cars is a 2006 American computer-animated sports comedy-adventure and racing film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed and co-written by John Lasseter, it is Pixar's final independently produced motion picture before its purchase by Disney in May 2006 as Pixar's 7th feature film. Set in a world populated entirely by anthropomorphic cars and other vehicles, the film stars the voices of Owen Wilson, Paul Newman (in his final acting role), Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Michael Wallis, George Carlin, Joe Ranft (who co-directed this film), Paul Dooley, Jenifer Lewis, Guido Quaroni, Richard Petty, Michael Keaton, Katherine Helmond, and John Ratzenberger. The film premiered on May 26, 2006, at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina and was theatrically released in the United States on June 9, 2006. It was followed by two sequels: Cars 2 and Cars 3 in 2011 and 2017, respectively. The now-defunct DisneyToon Studios even produced the spin-off films: Planes and Planes: Fire and Rescue in 2013 and 2014, with John Lasseter as the executive producer for both films.

Plot

While traveling to California to race against The King (Richard Petty) and Chick Hicks (Michael Keaton) for the Piston Cup Championship, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) becomes lost after falling out of his trailer in a rundown town called Radiator Springs. While there, he slowly befriends the town's odd residents, including Sally (Bonnie Hunt), Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). When it comes time for him to leave for the championship, it is no longer his top priority.

Why It's Speed

  1. The premise is quite interesting since the film is about a race car who becomes lost in a forgotten rundown town after falling out of his trailer.
  2. Very solid and appealing animation, as well as nice visuals.
  3. Incredible world-building that is built around cars, even though everything else doesn't make any more sense.
  4. The opening race scene is very exciting and fun to watch.
  5. Likable and funny characters like Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sally, and especially Doc Hudson.
  6. Top-notch vocal performances, especially Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, and Larry the Cable Guy. For example, George Carlin did a good job voicing Fillmore, despite the fact he had fewer lines than in his other films.
  7. Well-delivered life messages. In the final race, where Chick wrecks The King, and Lightning doesn't win the Piston Cup, he goes back to help The King finish his last race and says, "It's just an empty cup."
  8. Proper character development: At first glance, Lightning McQueen is a selfish jerk who only cares about winning until he learns that there's more to life than winning by reaching the finish line and that the biggest victories are the people and friends we meet during the ride.
  9. Great soundtrack provided by Randy Newman, with notable songs such as "Real Gone", "Life is a Highway", "Sh-Boom", and "Find Yourself".
  10. The backstory of how Radiator Springs become forgotten, and the downfall is a really heartbreaking scene, especially with the song, Our Town that were well fitting choice.
  11. The scene where Mater tells McQueen that he considers him his best friend is pretty heartwarming.
  12. The scene when McQueen races Sally driving around Radiator Springs is perfect for their love chemistry.
  13. The scene where McQueen has a nightmare about Frank winning the Piston Cup after beating him, Chick, and The King is actually funny.
  14. The credits sequence makes several humorous references to previous Pixar movies, all presented as them watching movies based on previous works by Pixar, like Mack realizes that the same actor (John Ratzenberger) has been voicing characters in every film, it also pays tribute to Joe Ranft, who died in August 2005 for a car crash. The post credits scene also presents a decent gag with the two minivans showing up.
  15. The scene when McQueen, Sally, and the whole townsfolk drive along the newly paved road listening to music and seeing sights of glimmering, and shiny neon lights is amazing and dazzling.
  16. At least there's not any filler seen in the film.

Bad Qualities

  1. It was noted that the film has as a similar plot to Doc Hollywood.
  2. Unfortunately, we need to get the cat (or car) out of the bag: The premise that the characters are cars makes no sense or has an impact on the story. Think about Toy Story, the characters are toys and the premise of each movie is based on the fact that they are toys or Zootopia, the plot is based on the characters being animals; In here, the characters act like humans, talk like humans, live in a human-like world, and practice human sports (in this case, the races in every Cars-related content and/or demolition derbies as in the third movie) so there's no reason for the protagonists to be cars other than to make car puns and sell toys for the movie. It shares the same problem as Shark Tale, Sing, and even the later 2014 Nickelodeon other anthropomorphic vehicle-related TV series; Blaze and the Monster Machines (which is populated entirely by monster trucks), and which is that there's no reason for the characters to be what they are since it has no impact on the plot to the point where the movie has weird logic has become a popular meme raising more questions than answers like:
    • The cars only have wheels as hands. So, who actually built anything?
    • Why do the cars even have door handles? Wouldn't that have led to their insides?
      • However, there are some very notable exceptions who don't have door handles. Especially with Lightning McQueen.
    • If all the cars are basically people, why are there animals like the tractor cows?
    • Where do the little cars come from?
  3. Some product placements for car companies like Mack, Apple, Porsche and Mercury (though these are subtle and make sense, since there are no human characters).
  4. There are even animation errors. For example, in one scene, Snot Rod was missing next to Mack, but suddenly appears in the next scene. Also, during the first race, Darren Leadfoot's rims are yellow, but when they show his entire appearance, he gets his actual black rims instead.
    • And the biggest out of all: The cars' tires' speed are limited, most notably on all the Piston Cup racers, especially by Lightning McQueen, Chick Hicks, and The King. But however, speaking of this last said error, this was finally corrected in the sequel, Cars 2.
  5. There are two plot holes:
    • Why didn't the race officials disqualify Chick Hicks if he cheated in the race while he caused The King to have a hard crash?
      • Though it is likely that his crowd did notice and somewhat gave him a punishment by going against him after what he did to the King for the final Piston Cup race.
    • When The King/Strip Weathers crashed in the final race, how come no tow trucks or emergency vehicles came by if in Cars 2, a group of several ambulances came when McQueen won the Porto Corsa race in Italy? And McQueen's crash in Cars 3, even tow trucks, his friends this time, and emergency vehicles again did come by.
    • Instead of having the movie being produced in widescreen, Pixar produced it in its original 4:3 ratio and then cropped the film into the 2.39:1 widescreen format to make a "widescreen" version of the movie. This even occurs in later DVDs from post-2006, Disney+, and also right after the movie was released in theaters. Not to mention, it misses out on half of the picture from top to bottom, which makes it look fake, and it quite so ruins the experience for anyone that watched this movie in the original 4:3 cut in 2006.
  6. There are two death scenes shown on-screen, including a green SUV in McQueen's first Dinoco dream, and while funny, Chick dies from the combine harvester Frank in McQueen's second dream.
  7. Chick Hicks, while a funny main antagonist, can actually be pretty unlikable, especially in the scene where he makes The King/Strip Weathers crash.
    • Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson themselves are also a bit unlikable in some scenes (since McQueen has a huge ego in the first few minutes of the film, while Doc's treatment towards McQueen prior to him leaving Radiator Springs, while understandable, is rather harsh).

Reception

Critical Response

Cars received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 74% based on 203 reviews and an average rating of 6.90/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Cars offers visual treats that more than compensate for its somewhat thinly written story, adding up to a satisfying diversion for younger viewers.". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 73 out of 100 based on 39 critics reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale. However, it was considered the weakest film from Pixar until Cars 2 was released five years later in 2011, which received much worse reviews than the first movie, and is the only Pixar film to have a "rotten" rating, despite the box office success.

Box Office

Cars grossed $462 million at the box office against its $120 million budget, making it a box office hit.

Awards & Nominations

Cars was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature but lost to Happy Feet. Despite that, it won various awards like the inaugural Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature, as well as the Annie Award and the Critics Choice Award for Best Animated Film.

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