05 July 2006

Ink Blots XX - Cars

Welcome to a new month of reviews, with an all new theme: Machines

Also new is the title of this weekly feature. No more is the title Disappearing Ink, rather I have coined the more sense making and clever (in my opinion) Ink Blots. Does that make this feature any better? Doubtful, after all, how could it? :) But change is good. On to the review.

Race car rookie Lightning McQueen is a real hot shot. After a 3-way tie, Lighting heads cross-country to compete in the Piston cup finals. But on the way, he gets separated from his transport truck. Trying to find the highway, he has a little run in with the law, does some serious damage to the road, and is forced to slow down in a town called Radiator Springs. Eventually Lightning makes it to the big race, and I wont tell you who wins the Piston cup (you may be able to guess), but I really liked the way the whole thing unfolded.

One of the film's main characters is the truck "Tow"- Mater voiced by Larry the Cable Guy. From everything I saw in previews, this character's hayseed personality looked likely to ruin the movie. But fortunately, I found Mater to be surprisingly likeable and endearing. Other charming townsfolk included the classic Doc Hudson voiced by Paul Newman of salad dressing fame, a pair of Italian tire peddlers, and Ramone the body-painter voiced by Cheech Marin. Like Nemo's "mine" chanting gulls, Cars boasts an amusing herd of cowlike tractors ripe for tipping.

Cars follows the Pixar formula, plenty of heart, fantastically rendered animation, some music by Randy Newman, and some jokes. Cars is probably a bit lighter on humor than other Pixar entries, not to say it is unfunny, but it is more of a drama in a way than a comedy (at least until the credits roll). I won't say the formula is stale, but it does seem that Cars is riding in familiar territory. The film also integrates classic songs like Life is a Highway and Route 66, though AC/DC's Highway to Hell was noticeably absent.

Pixar has been on a roll ever since releasing the original Toy Story in 1995. Cars is the studio's 7th feature film, and their 7th hit. While A Bug's Life and Cars may not be the megahits that the other 5 films were, their reception and acclaim surely justify these 2 films inclusion in the hit list. So, where exactly does Cars fall in comparison to the other Pixar films? I prefer it to Pixar's "Fish" and "Bugs" films, but The Incredibles remains the studio's crowning achievement. Nonetheless Cars rolls in with an impressive A-.

Check out my past reviews:

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
The Black Cauldron
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Fire & Ice
Grave of the Fireflies
The Iron Giant
Kaena: The Prophecy
The Last Unicorn
Magnetic Rose
Princess Mononoke
Starchaser: The Legend of Orin
Star Wars: Clone Wars - Volume 1
The Sword in the Stone
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Wallace and Gromit in A Grand Day Out

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