Following on from the box office smashes Finding Nemo and Toy Story, the whizzes at Pixar delivered Cars, an animated movie firmly aimed at little boys. And they love it.
While Cars is not considered by critics to be quite in the same league as the aforementioned classics, it is nonetheless an enjoyable adventure that has since spawned a series of cartoon shorts and numerous spin-off toys, as well as a sequel.
The story (featuring, unsurprisingly, a world populated with cars instead of humans – even the insects are VW bugs) is simple – Lightning McQueen (Wilson) is a young, cocky racing car whose arrogant attitude alienates everyone around him. In a vital race, he ties with reigning champ The King and arrogant wannabe Chick Hicks, so the three have to race again in California to find out who will win the coveted Piston Cup. Unfortunately, en route to the race, a snoozing McQueen falls out of his transporter truck Mack and crashes into the sleepy town of Radiator Springs, destroying the main street. Town judge Doc Hudson (Newman) orders McQueen to fix the road, but all the hot shot racing car wants to do is escape so he can get to California.
Surprisingly long for a kids animated movie (it’s just three minutes under two hours) and with less humour than the other Pixar films, this boasts some grown-up themes about the downside of progress (Radiator Springs is on Route 66 but no one visits the town anymore thanks to a super highway bypass), and how the older and wiser among us are often overlooked in favour of the latest hot young thing.
The idea that being a good sport is better than winning also crops up, but it’s likely younger viewers may miss those points and instead chuckle at Radiator Springs’ resident goofball, the tow truck Mater, or sit on the edge of their seats during the climactic Piston Cup race.
Is Cars suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Parents should note that an animated short on the DVD, Mater And The Ghostlight, may scare little ones, as may an extra cut scene on the extras menu in which Lightning has a nightmare.
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