Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger
Starring (voices of): Paul Newman, Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt
Director: John Lasseter
CARS is an animated ‘car’ caricature of the US speedway racing scene led by rookie hotshot Lightning McQueen (voice by Owen Wilson). Not only the ‘fastest thing on four wheels’, he has an enormous ego to match. Wowing his fans with his daredevil antics and charismatic appeal, he’s out to win anyway he can and use anything to gain an advantage over his rivals… even his tongue! Don’t miss the photo finish in the opening speedway racing sequence, which really sets the pace blazing and heart pounding, in this thrilling feature.
But Lightning McQueen is a driven ‘man’ so hungry for victory in the forthcoming Piston Cup Championship in California that he coerces Mack (voiced by John Ratzenberger) his transport truck into driving through the night when clearly fatigued. Not surprisingly Mack falls asleep at the wheel and Lightning McQueen is jolted off the back awakening in the middle of the interstate highway. Frantically trying to retrace his steps he tears into the sleepy town of Radiator Springs on Route 66 in the middle of nowhere pursued by an aging police car and leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. Sentenced in court the following day to do community service by the presiding judge Doc Hudson (voiced by Paul Newman) for his dangerous driving misdemeanour, he has to repair the main road he wrecked. It is here he begins to learn of life outside the fast lane and unbeknown to the speedway racing world who are mystified by his disappearance from the radar screen.
A Disney Pixar Animation Studios presentation and directed by the world renowned John Lasseter that brought us the TOY STORY trilogy (yes, TOY STORY 3 is currently in production), A BUG’S LIFE and THE INCREDIBLES, CARS is an amazing movie to watch. From the high octane racing sequences that really do get your adrenaline up to the laid back pace of life in crumbling and forgotten Radiator Springs, the attention to detail is phenomenal.
Humorous and quirky interludes from the ensemble ‘car’ characters keep the movie driving forward and at around two hours duration allows the many personalities Lightning McQueen meets to firmly establish themselves as his adventure unfolds. Voiced by a talented star-studded cast both from the racing and acting worlds, CARS is the realisation of a dream for John Lasseter who has a personal love for cars and racing and is also a magnificent treat for the audience.