Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Cars , 2006

You should know
I don’t follow NASCAR or any other form of car racing. I saw the movie with Dan, who is slightly more knowledgeable than I am.

I think it would have helped if I had been more familiar with the racing scene. There were some cameos by drivers whom even I recognized – Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mario Andretti both played themselves in car form. They weren’t the only car-related cameos, though; my personal favorite was by the Car Talk guys.

Because this was a Disney-Pixar film, big names and in-jokes rule the day. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that the tires the cars use are made by Lightyear. George Carlin, Tony Shalhoub, and Cheech Marin populate the small town. The love interest (and one of only three females in the town – don’t get me started) has a vehicular version of a tattoo on the small of her back -- and if you’ve seen Wedding Crashers, you can imagine the (literal?) gears turning in the mind of Owen Wilson’s Lightning McQueen. And if you pay attention, you might catch some familiar-looking birds sitting on a telephone wire.

On that note, while the film’s designers were very good in explaining the world they presented to us, there are certain situations in which you can’t imagine cars functioning. After all, most gadgets in the movie are controlled by pedals that are easy for the cars to operate – but who makes the pedals? Who builds the gadgets? But this is a kids’ movie, so logic and theology can take a break.

Check it out
Now, I’m not going to echo everyone else and say that Pixar can do no wrong. A Bug’s Life didn’t impress me, and Finding Nemo, while cute, is no Toy Story. But Cars is a fun movie, and is probably a lot more fun to people who are familiar with racing. Even so, I can vouch for the fact that a background in NASCAR isn’t necessary to enjoy a good story and an amazing set of animation.

The rest of the Internet
The IMDb entry for Cars.
A thorough review and good discussion at
GameSpy reviews the Cars video game.
Users liked the movie better than critics did at Rotten Tomatoes.
Jeff weighs in at Minutiae (and I agree with him about the DeLorean).
The Movie Blog talks about the expectations associated with Pixar.

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