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Published on June 21st, 2008 | by simeon

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Cars

The technical wizards at Pixar are back with a new feature film which continues their domination of the animated film genre.

With the huge success of their films The Incredibles as well as Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc. and the Toy Story films, it would be easy to think that the studio might be at a creative crossroads. When recent news around the industry involved the end of their deal with Disney and subsequent new deal with the company after a period of free agency as well as delays on their new project, some began to wonder what audiences would see if their next outing.

Thankfully Cars continues the amazing run of success for the studio and sets the bar even higher for animated films to follow.

The film follows the exploits of rookie racing car Lightning MC Queen (Owen Wilson), who is the hotshot rookie attempting to be the first rookie in history to win the Piston Cup title.

As Lightening dreams of winning the prize and in doing so, a hefty sponsorship with the big oil company, he decides to ignore the advice of his crew which causes him to end up in a three way tie for the title.

In order to resolve the tie a special race is to be held a week later in California between the three winners. En route, Lightning ignores the advice of his driver Mack (John Ratzenberger), and in a series of mishaps ends up alone in the desolate
town of Radiator Springs. As if this was not enough trouble for Lightning, he is forced by the local judge Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), to perform community service to complete the damage he caused to the road upon his arrival.

Faced with the prospect of losing time needed to get to and prepare for the race, the selfish Lightning does his best to alienate the local townsfolk including the local tow truck Tom Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), who like all the locals do their best to befriend him.

Along the way, Lightning learns the values of friendship, teamwork and community as he attempts to find the true meaning of the term “Winner”.

Graphically the film is amazing as the amount of CGI rendering that went into the film is said to be so extensive, it literally taxed the computers at Pixar to their limits. That is clear as the detail level and complexity of the film is staggering. You fully believe that this world populated entirely by machines exists.

There is a lot of humor in the film as well and more than enough nods that will appeal to older viewers yet may be over the heads of younger viewers.

If I had to find fault in the film, it would be that with a running time of slightly over two hours, it does tend to drag in a few places. My nephew and his friend became restless about 50 minutes into the film which made me think that the running time may be to long for some younger children to sit through and that the film might have been better served by trimming about 30 minutes as there were segments that while visually appealing, did not really need to be there.

That being said, Cars is a true delight and proof that once again, Pixar is the undisputed champion of animated films.

3 stars out of 5


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