Star race car Lightning McQueen and his pal Mater head overseas to compete in the World Grand Prix race. But the road to the championship becomes rocky as Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage.
Larry the Cable Guy,
Spoiled by their upbringing and unaware of what wildlife really is, four animals from the New York Central Zoo escape, unwittingly assisted by four absconding penguins, and find themselves in Madagascar.
The Dragon Warrior has to clash against the savage Tai Lung as China's fate hangs in the balance: However, the Dragon Warrior mantle is supposedly mistaken to be bestowed upon an obese panda who is a tyro in martial arts.
While traveling to California for the dispute of the final race of the Piston Cup against The King and Chick Hicks, the famous Lightning McQueen accidentally damages the road of the small town Radiator Springs and is sentenced to repair it. Lightning McQueen has to work hard and finds friendship and love in the simple locals, changing its values during his stay in the small town and becoming a true winner. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In the opening race, both the "Re-Volting" and the white "Apple" car are #84. See more »
Okay, here we go. Focus. Speed. I am speed. One winner, forty-two losers. I eat losers for breakfast. Breakfast? Maybe I should have had breakfast? Brekkie could be good for me. No, no, no, focus. Speed. Faster than fast, quicker than quick. I am Lightning.
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Text reading "Celebrating 20 Years" is attached to the opening Pixar logo. See more »
Behind the Clouds
Written by Brad Paisley and Frank Rogers
Performed by Brad Paisley
Produced by Frank Rogers
Recorded by Richard Barrow and Brian David Willis
Mixed by Justin Niebank
Brad Paisley appears courtesy of Arista Nashville See more »
In "Cars," their latest film, they show why they are still the cream of the crop when it comes to the field they revolutionized more than a decade ago. Well, yeah, it doesn't have the sophistication and cleverness of "The Incredibles," nor the universal appeal of both "Toy Stories" and "Finding Nemo." And I have to admit that the idea of animated cars was the least riveting as far as Pixar film premises are concerned. But as with its predecessors, beneath those excellently rendered 3D images is the soul that sets Pixar apart from what has become of most animated films nowadays.
Up-and-coming rookie race car Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson), is about to win the prestigious Piston Cup. The championship ends with Lightning finishing in a tie with legendary "The King" (Richard Petty), who is in his final race, and Chick Hicks (Michael Keaton); thus, a tie-breaking race is set in California.
But a road mishap leads Lightning to the forgotten town of Radiator Springs, a part of what was once Route 66, a place that once basked in glory, but has since been thrust into oblivion. There he meets an array of other cars - including Doc Hudson (Paul Newman!), Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), and Sally (Bonnie Hunt) - who teach him that "life isn't about the destination but about the journey."
First of all, Pixar's animation is first-rate. It's that sort of greatness among their artists I can only geek about and dream of grasping while in my 3D animation classes. The cars have a definite realistic look, especially with the rendering (man, the reflections!). The film is also vibrantly colored, making use of a whole variety of shades of dark colors during the race, and warm ones whenever the scenes shift to Radiator Springs. Even the old, vintage car models have that chic look that brings some of the essential charm of this film. There are lots to be admired on this film just for the brilliance in animation. But among those that stand out are the race itself, and when Doc Hudson gets to bring back his good old days. Somehow, it's like watching NASCAR on IMAX again, albeit minus the über-big screen and the 3-D effect.
But what's really nice about this film is how director John Lasseter and the writers effectively tell the story and how they pump up the visual feast with humor and sincere emotions. It still all boils down to the story and how it is told - the very essence of cinema. Granted, when it comes to the standards set by previous Pixar films, it isn't quite up there with it's predecessors; but considering how lofty the bar has reached and the mediocrity that has become of the genre in general, "Cars" more than gets the job done.
As for the voice cast, Wilson brings that sort of cockiness to the protagonist of the story and it fits with his smug humor. Larry the Cable Guy gives Mater an amusingly disoriented state without being irritatingly so. You can't help but care about him and arguably, he's the nicest member of the cast. Newman lends an authoritative quality to Doc Hudson. (During the end credits, there's an in-joke about John Ratzenberger, who has his voice featured in all Pixar films thus far.) However, ultimately, the cast is somewhat unmemorable and lacking in diversity. The rest of the voice talents are also underused. Keaton's Chick Hicks is a formulaic one-dimensional villain, which could have utilized his voice more with a little more motivation for the car's part. But then again, that may be beside the movie's point.
All in all, "Cars" is a visual feast outside and an effective storytelling inside. When it comes to the basis of their appeal, it doesn't keep up with the rest of Pixar films which have sped up far ahead and this may yet be their first underachiever. But for what it is and what it achieves, it's a nice ride.
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