PIXAR MASTERPIECE REVIEW: “Cars” is voiced by Owen Wilson (Bottle Rocket, The Internship), Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke), Bonnie Hunt (The Green Mile, Jerry Maguire), Larry the Cable Guy (Delta Farce, Witless Protection), Michael Keaton (Birdman: Or [The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance], Spotlight), John Ratzenberger (Cheers [TV series], Grace of God), Tony Shalhoub (Monk [TV series], Men in Black), Michael Wallis, Jenifer Lewis (Strong Medicine [TV series], The Princess and the Frog), Cheech Marin (The Lion King, Nash Bridges [TV series]), Paul Dooley (Insomnia, Runaway Bride), George Carlin (Dogma, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), Katherine Helmond (Who’s the Boss? [TV series], Brazil), Guido Quaroni (Monsters Inc.), Joe Ranft (A Bug’s Life, Toy Story), and Richard Petty. It is directed by John Lasseter (Toy Story, A Bug’s Life) and Joe Ranft, as they both also wrote it with Jorgen Klubien (The Lion King, Mulan), Dan Fogelman (Crazy Stupid Love, Tangled), Kiel Murray (Green Thumb [Short], Kilo [Short]), and Phil Lorin (Henry [Short], The Guardian’s Gateway [Short]). Lightning McQueen (Wilson), a rookie sensation racecar, takes an unexpected turn in his life when he winds up in Radiator Springs, a sweet and rundown town located off of Route 66. Wanting to get back on the road so he can make it in time for his race to win the Piston Cup, McQueen is stuck helping the town fix their road he destroyed, while also finding himself.
When it comes to Pixar’s most controversial releases, “Cars” has to be on the top of the minuscule list. For some reason, fans either like it or don’t, with no clear love for it in sight. To me, this film is pretty good. I wouldn’t place it in Pixar’s top five, but I wouldn’t consider it a shameful property ether. It is rather an entertaining feature that doesn’t hold as much of an impact as Pixar’s finest, and that is due to the fact that this movie’s theme is predictable. Looking at its story, it is a basic tale of an arrogant, hot-shot guy sinking to a “lower” level to find himself. It’s been said and done more than a few times in cinema, so it was up to Pixar to change it up a little, like they did with “The Incredibles” and its all-too-familiar plot. But, the writers didn’t reinvent the wheel with this one and didn’t try too hard to make things pop. They simply took what they were given and attempted to showcase their lesson in a safe manner. Nothing bold or bright, just ordinary. And you know what? I was fine with it! I’m one of those individuals who has a soft spot for “Cars” and its characters. I find the atmosphere of Radiator Springs to be comforting and fun, even if it isn’t as compelling as Pixar’s other universes. I love the throwback to an older era of both cars and rest stops, and the glimpse at how the new generation is slowly taking over with highways. I found these to be the highlights of this film when we weren’t having to focus on Lighting McQueen’s journey to find himself. The animation that sculpted this world of talking cars is fantastic, and I can tell that Pixar has improved on their backgrounds. The look and feel of Radiator Springs were great, with the neon lights at night and the worn down shops in the day presenting a nifty yet rustic little town. The many types of cars that were shown were also nice to look at, even though I know little about automobiles. Although none of them offered much development to pick apart, the characters that took shape in these cars were more or less entertaining. I liked Lightning McQueen and, unlike many, Mater. Say what you will, but I think Mater is funny and laughed at quite a bit of what he had to say. The voice acting for these figures was really good, and I found Paul Newman to be one of the best in his role of Doc Hudson (one of the last roles he played). There’s quite a bit to take happiness from in this release, even if it doesn’t do much for the viewer. I can tell that when the writers focused on the town things got interesting, but they really wanted the lesson to be about Lightning, which is fine. I think that they balanced Lightning’s story with the town’s well, although I took more joy out of the latter. Any more issues I found with this besides it’s incapability to astound the audience would be found in nitpicks and the beginning. The first ten minutes or so of this film weren’t that great, mainly because of how silly and predictable it could be. It took Lightning to reach Radiator Springs for things to really start to roll. Overall, this is a feature that I’m sure the kids will love. As for adults and Pixar fans, I’m not sure. I think there are some aspects of this to admire as an older being, but this movie tends to teeter between good and bad for anyone, so it’s hard to tell. If it were me, I’d recommend it. FINAL SCORE: 80%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
Here is my review for the Pixar short, “One Man Band”:
MOVIE SHORT REVIEW: “One Man Band” is a 2005 Pixar short film written and directed by Mark Andrews (Brave, John Carter) and Andrew Jimenez (The Memory Jar, Artscape [Short]). Two street performers square off against one another in order to gain a single coin from a small girl.
I gotta give props to Pixar for making yet another fresh short film. Although my latest movie short review didn’t go so well, Pixar, for the most part, has crafted some entertaining and interesting little stories, and “One Man Band” is no exception. Set in a different location than what the company usually deals with (typically wooded, rustic, or toy atmospheres), this short film really captivated me with its use of Italian backdrops. The dark grays of the deserted town center the performers played at created a gloomy, desperate tone; something I really took joy from when comparing it to the bright one man bands’ outfits. This plot seemed to focus on what people will do for money, often competing to the point of outrageousness in order to score the smallest of change. I liked this direction, especially the unexpected twist that came at the end. The music that accompanied the short story was fun, and it was cool to pick apart the separate instruments that were used by the performers to persuade the little girl. If there was anything that I could say that was a problem with this, it would be in small observations, like in the twist I mentioned before. What happened at the end seemed a bit too unrealistic, and it kind of soured the mood I was in. Altogether, however, this is a great short and I recommend anyone to see it! FINAL SCORE: 89%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the short: