Welcome back to Pixar Countdown Reviews, which we take a look at and review all seventeen theatrical Pixar films every Friday leading up to the release of Pixar’s Cars 3 this summer. Take a look back at some of our previous entries and stay tuned every Friday as we cover all of Pixar’s incredible films.
If you were to ask someone what their least favorite Pixar film is, chances are they would say one of the Cars movies, no doubt about it. Sadly, Cars is one of Pixar’s most disliked films, second only to its sequel, Cars 2. I don’t hate the Cars films at all. I think there are many great things about the franchise. The original Cars, in particular, makes for an enjoyable racing film with a lot of depth.
What makes Cars so much more than your usual racing flick is how it is not just racing, we still get a very deep story and the characters develop a lot throughout the film, whether it’s from Lightning McQueen’s journey as a character to Doc Hudson’s sad backstory and the changes he makes as a character after meeting Lightning McQueen.
The film has an excellent cast of characters. Our main character is Lightning McQueen, a narcissistic character at first, who finds himself on Route 66 where he meets a bunch of lovable and unique supporting characters. The one who gets the most screen time is clearly Mater, who is always a riot. While so many people find him annoying, I think he’s hilarious. He and Lightning have amazing chemistry. I’d even argue that they have better chemistry than Lightning and Sally, another part of the supporting cast! I mean, I think they’re a great couple, but the friendship between Lightning and Mater is just too perfect, and definitely a shining aspect of the film.
We also have Doc Hudson, who gave up racing after he suffered from a major crash. He serves as Lightning’s mentor. He’s an amazing character and I love how he essentially passes on the torch to Lightning. They too have a very beautiful relationship. There’s also a bunch of other quirky and humorous side characters living on Route 66 that I couldn’t help but find absolutely lovable.
The animation is also gorgeous. Every Pixar film I have reviewed so far has had some sort of innovation in the animation. Cars had that texture of the cars which allows light and everything to reflect off of it. The result is beautiful to look at, especially during the scene with all the neon lights.
The directing is excellent as well. The film is directed by John Lasseter, who has a very personal attachment to the Cars franchise, as he fused together his love of cars and his love of animation. Throughout the entire film, you can feel the passion John Lasseter put into it. He created this whole world made entirely out of cars and built upon it and developed it really well. Not to mention in terms of cinematography, it’s equally amazing. Especially during the racing scenes which are expertly shot and animated.
The score is beautiful to listen to. Randy Newman was a perfect choice to compose it. Who else would have done that great a job establishing the particular tone and setting of the film through the music? He does such an amazing job here.
Cars, much like A Bug’s Life, is a very underrated Pixar film. I think it’s a fantastic film, though, if not for the personal connection the director has with it, then for how humorous, heartfelt and creative it is. If you didn’t like it at first, I recommend giving it another try.
Film Grade: A+