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Cars
DVD disk
Nov 7, 2006 By: Jason Adams
Cars order
Director:
John Lasseter

Actors:
Owen Wilson
Paul Newman
Larry the Cable Guy

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Lightning McQueen is a young hotshot racecar who only cares about winning and looking good while doing it. En route to the last race of the season, McQueen finds himself stuck in Radiator Springs, a small town long forgotten on the abandoned highway of Route 66. As he grows accustomed to the townís eccentric inhabitants, the rookie racecar learns a lesson about life outside of the fast lane.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I donít know how Pixar does it. And at this point I donít particularly care, so long as they keep doing it. Even as a die hard fan (see my visit to their studio), I honestly wasnít too blown away by the trailers leading up to CARS. I donít know why I worried though, as the end result pretty much confirms that the studio can do no wrong. Itís not their best movie (for my money that would be THE INCREDIBLES), but if Pixar can make a flick about talking automobiles this entertaining and heartfelt, then the other animation studios are all in trouble.

Like its predecessors, CARS works mainly because of its focus on trivial elements like ďcharactersĒ and ďstory.Ē Within the first half hour weíre introduced to nearly twenty memorable vehicles, each standing out in their own way. A lot of that credit goes to the perfectly utilized voice cast, especially Wilson, Newman and (as much as I hate to admit it) Larry the Cable Guy. Visually, CARS is no doubt the most impressive computer animated movie to date. When McQueen and Sally drive past a waterfall, or when Doc Hudson slides across the dusty race track, itís absolutely unbelievable. Just the design for how the cars move is inventive and fun to watch on its own. Between the voices and the clever animation, youíll actually start to identify with an automobile, which is quite an accomplishment.

CARS may be a little more geared toward kids than their previous films, but thereís still enough clever humor and universal themes for people of all ages (and both sexes). Just the feeling of nostalgic Americana and the sprawling vistas should enthrall adults as much as the humor that keeps their childrenísí attention. As far as the narrative goes, yes, the setup is similar to DOC HOLLYWOOD, but how things play out is a whole different story. While itís a little predictable from the start, the requisite lesson that McQueen learns comes about naturally and gradually throughout, and much like the filmís message about life, itís the journey along the way thatís truly special.
THE EXTRAS
Unlike most of the previous two-disc Pixar releases, CARS gets the single disc treatment. And while thereís not as much stuff, John Lasseterís defense was that with limited time to work on the DVD, they chose quality over quantity, and that definitely shows. Iíve said this before in other reviews: Iíd rather have a handful of good extras, than two discs worth of worthless EPK stuff. The only thing this disc is really missing is a commentary by Lasseter. This is obviously a very personal film for him and I know he has more than enough to say about it.

Mater and the Ghostlight (7:06): A brand new animated short made exclusively for the DVD, with the entire voice cast intact. The quality is on par with the movie, both production and story-wiseÖmeaning, youíll enjoy it thoroughly.

One Man Band (4:30): The short that played in front of CARS in theaters. Itís quite funny, especially the little girl, and it boasts a great score by Michael Giaccino

The Inspiration for CARS (16:00): An outstanding documentary focusing on John Lasseterís personal influences in the creation of the movie, including his love for cars, Route 66 and his family. You get some peeks at his personal home movies as well as footage from the research trip the Pixar crew took. (And the ďrealĒ Mater is revealed.)

Deleted Scenes (10:25): Four cut sequences presented as storyboard animatics. All are entertaining (especially the one explaining how Ramone and Flo met), but itís obvious why they were cut in the big scheme of things.

Epilogue (4:17): A full-size version of the coda featured during the end credits. The larger size and lack of scrolling text lets you appreciate the animation a lot more. And I have to say, the throwback to the previous Pixar films and the nod to John Ratzenberger put a smile on my face for hours..

Thereís also some Previews and an awesome Easter Egg I completely missed until somebody from Pixar pointed it out to me. (Hint: It involves waiting.)
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Saying CARS is not Pixarís best movie, is like saying Guernica is not Picassoís best painting. Itís still great, and itís still better than all the other ďartĒ thatís out there. While the disc isnít as packed full as their previous releases, for parents or fans of the studio this is still a no brainer, must-own DVD. Trust me, any movie that can get me to love a character played by Larry the Cable Guy is a freaking miracle.

Extra Tidbit: To give you an idea of just how long it takes to make one of these movies, when Larry the Cable Guy was cast as the voice of Mater, he was still an unknown comedian whose collar was not yet blue.
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