Monday, June 28, 2010
#7 - Cars - 2006
Cars was the 7th and final movie I watched for my animated week. It was the longest movie I watched all week and the longest Disney Pixar film ever made. There was a reason this movie was so long and its because it had some many wonderful scenes and characters to fill a run time of almost 2 hours. Below is my detailed review of this final film in my animated week.
This film had an all star cast of characters that rivals Finding Nemo and had some great actors and actresses billed for this film. The late Paul Newman was the most famous of them all and voiced Doc Hudson and this was actually his last full length feature film he was in prior to his death from lung cancer in 2008. Along with Newman was Owen Wilson (Lightning McQueen), Bonnie Hunt (Sally), Larry the Cable Guy (Mater), Cheech Marin (Ramone), the late George Carlin (Fillmore), Tony Shalhoub (Luigi), Michael Keaton (Chick Hicks), Jeremy Piven (Harv), Richard Petty (the King), and of course John Ratzenbereger (Mack and other characters as well). There were also some very cool cameo appearances by Arnold Schwarzenneger, Jay Leno, Bob Costas, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Darrell Waltrip, Sheryl Crow, and Mario Andretti. All in all as you can see the cast was amazing so now how about the story?
Cars starts right out of the gate with an impressive intro as we hear Lightning McQueen talking to himself and see blurs of race cars speeding by. As we get our first glimpse of the main star an awesome musical track plays and panoramic views of the raceway stadium are present. I have the luxury of seeing it in bluray and in fact the preview in the Best Buy store of this film in particular is the reason why I wanted to get a bluray player as it is. It does not disappoint. As we see McQueen racing for the Piston Cup the race comes to a dramatic finish as The King, Chick, and Mcqueen tie for the win. I especially loved McQueen's mid air tongue out Michael Jordan reference and it is even funnier that McQueens tongue is what ties him with his fellow racers in the end. It is apparent from the beginning the McQueen is a hot shot rookie who thinks he can do it all by himself as his crew leaves him at the end of the race due to his arrogance. Mack his trailer truck gets on the road right away as McQueen wants to beat everyone out to California where a race off for the Piston Cup will take place. The first one out to Cali will get a chance to be there with Dinoco all to themselves and Dinoco is the biggest race car endorsement company around.
As McQueen is all tucked in the trailer bed and Mack heads out on the road here is where the best track in the entire film is played, Life is a Highway by Rascall Flatts. Their version is the best I've heard and I loved this scene as Mack drives across the country with this soundtrack playing in the background. The unbelievably realistic visuals of nature in this film are amazing, probably better than in any other animated film I've ever seen. Those are my favorite parts of the film. Along the drive to California McQueen gets bumped off the trailer and left in the desert. After attempting to find Mack he gets caught speeding by a cop and mistakes the cops engine backfiring as shots fired so he relentlessly and recklessly tries to lose the cop and in doing so finds himself tearing up the small town of Radiator Springs. This is where most of the movie is spent.
He is being tried in the Radiator Springs courtroom and after seeing McQueen is a sports car the judge, Doc, dismisses the case. We see here something is not as it seems. Mater along with the other residents of RS (Radiator Springs) are all in the courtroom and this is where we first get a good glimpse of how funny Mater will be in this film. He becomes appointed McQueens attorney. Enter a snazzy looking Porsche named Sally. She pleads her case to the townsfolk and the judge decides that McQueen must fix the road he damaged and then he will be allowed to leave. McQueen must fix this road with Bessie, a god awful ancient looking machine that produces and spreads asphalt. McQueen has to be hooked up to Bessie and fix the road. After a failed attempt at ditching the town and fleeing the scene McQueen does his best to finish his work quickly, even does so in 1 hours time. His work however is horrendous and the road is even worse than when he started it. Having to start over is the last thing McQueen wants to do but he does it anyways, not like he has a choice in the matter.
During his stay there he becomes to know the locals a little more each day. Mater becomes his best friend and they have a hilarious plow tipping scene together late one night. Mater has so many funny lines in this film its hard to count. I love the scene where Mater shows McQueen how to drive backwards and at the end lets him know "rearview mirrors" is the key. Once Mater finally finishes the first section of the street everyone is excited at how nice it is and go for a late night stroll. I loved the characters Luigi and Guido as the tire salesmen who love Ferrari's and whitewall tires. I wasn't as into the hippie 60's Fillmore (Carlin) but Ramone was the cool as they come body paint car voiced by Cheech Marin. Another favorite though is Sally who becomes smitten with McQueen and even offers him a stay in her Cone hotel. I loved this theme for a car hotel, very unique and outside of the box. The "lower car" ink referring to what many call a "tramp stamp" tattoo on Sally is hilarious too. This movie has a lot of quirky but hip references and that was very nice to see.
My overall favorite scene of the movie was when Sally and McQueen took a drive out past the waterfall to the old deserted town. The driving scenes and the nature were stunning and my eyes sometime cant tell its an animate picture because the nature around and the water puddles on the road and trees lining the streets look so darn realistic. I can only hope that when Disney creates RS at the CA Adventure in Anaheim it looks this forestry and scenic and a waterfall addition would be awesome!! While in RS McQueen finds out that Doc is actually retired race car driver and three time Piston Cup winner Hudson Hornet. After an accident in a race he was basically forgotten about in the race car world and wanted nothing to do with it, hence his decision earlier in the film to just dismiss the case against McQueen and let him go and leave their town. Its easy to see where this is going after Doc helps McQueen with some racing tips.
In a twist it was Doc who alerted the press where McQueen was because after all everyone was wondering why he hadn't show up to CA yet for the press before the big race. Right after a heartwarming car strolling scene where all the locals reminisced of old times and took a stroll down main street with the lights of the town lit up brightly out of the distance and in the dark came cars galore and a helicopter above indicates they've located McQueen. Sally overhears a reporter thanking Doc for the call and is visibly upset. She was falling for McQueen. Within a quick moment McQueen was gone and so were the cars and media. He was headed to CA for the big race. While at the race car stadium he couldn't get RS and Sally out of his mind. As he struggled through the race from the onset he later heard a voice from the crew pit station come across his headset, it was Doc and the entire locals were there cheering him on from the side as his crew. This included Luigi and Guido. In easily my 2nd favorite scene of the film Guido makes short work, and I mean short short work of changing McQueens tires after being made fun of by Chick's crew. Chicks crew eventually all lose their steel moustaches after witnessing what they just saw and it was hilarious. As the film can to an end Chick crashed into The King and although McQueen was well ahead and on his way to the title he immediately remembered what happened to Doc and instead of finishing the line he went back and helped The King finish the race and although Chick won the Piston Cup, McQueen won everyone's heart. In the end we see Mater flying in a helicopter (his one wish to McQueen) and McQueen and Sally heading out for a drive to the waterfall.
This film had it all including an amazing storyline, one of the better ones I've seen in animated films and like I've said for some in the past this is one Id love to see a sequel for. Other notable characters I enjoyed was Harv (Piven) as McQueens agent. Even though you didn't see him he is Mr. agent man and his voice for this character was a perfect fit. I also loved Bob Cutlas (Costas) as the main announcer and I cant help myself from hearing him call Jordan's game winning shot over Utah in 98 every time I hear his voice. That along with the other celebrity cameo's (Ahnold, Leno, Earnhardt Jr, etc.) were cool to see. The overall realistic feel of this movie for being an animated movie really made it stand out for me. I think Mater is easily one of the funniest characters ever created by Disney! Considering this movie had pretty much everything I would easily give this film an A+! It was a perfect movie to end my animated movie week!!