Thursday, June 15, 2006


Written by Hombre Divertido

These Cars Drag.

In the new Pixar/Disney Film Cars, we are introduced to Lightning McQueen, the hotshot rookie on the tour. Lightning is on his way to a big race in California, when an unusual turn of events lands him in the small town of Radiator Springs. There he learns some important lessons. We the audience learn the important lesson that Radiator Springs is where movies go to die.

There are certainly aspects of this film you can’t ignore:

Visually it is fantastic. Pixar outdid themselves here.

The attention to detail is amazing. The subtle automobile references throughout the film are incredible fun.

The similarities in the story to the 1991 Michael J. Fox vehicle Doc Hollywood are unavoidable.

The vocal casting was wonderful with few exceptions.

The major exception to the wonderful casting is Owen Wilson as Lightning, who played the role with far too little energy.

The most critical aspect that you cannot ignore is that somewhere along the line, Pixar forgot how to make movies funny. Toy Story 2 was brilliant. Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. had their humorous moments. The Incredibles continued the no-laughs slide, and Cars, though it starts with promise, just bogs itself down, as Lightning gets bogged down in Radiator Springs. Larry the Cable Guy as the voice of the local tow truck Mater (Tow Mater), and the always-brilliant Tony Shalhoub as Luigi the tire salesman manage a few chuckles, but not enough to save the majority of this film.

Interestingly, once our hero gets out of Radiator Springs, and back on the track, so does the film. Unfortunately, the film is virtually over at this point.

The target audience is unclear here. I attended the movie with three women (I try to keep it under five during the week). The 10-year-old said it was not funny. The 17-year-old said it was too long. Their mom (Whose age I am smart enough not to mention) said it was too slow. It is obvious that very young children will enjoy this, but Pixar used to make movies that would make both adults and children laugh. They obviously still can, because the Pixar short film “One Man Band” preceded Cars, and it met all the previously mentioned requirements, as did the credits of Cars. So we know they can still do it, but for whatever reason, they don’t.

Recommendation: So we know you can go see Cars, but for the many reasons mentioned above, you shouldn’t. Unless you’re taking your children, in which case, get there in time for the short film, and make sure you stay for the credits. I recommend you bring a portable DVD player, and when Lightning gets to Radiator Springs, pop in Toy Story or it’s superior sequel, and enjoy the films.