Monday, July 03, 2006

CARS -- The Movie

If you've got kids you've probably already seen it, and if you don't you may have decided not to, but there's a movie out this summer that will delight anyone interested in road trips and old highways. Made by the creative folks at Pixar, the movie in question is CARS, an animated feature that follows the adventures of a race car Lightning McQueen as he finds himself on his own in the middle of nowhere, somewhere out in the wild West along old Route 66.

The movie is a lot of fun, and while all the characters are cars --voiced by Paul Newman, the Car Talk boys, and a number of Nascar drivers including Richard Petty--the basic plot follows along the same lines as previous Pixar hits. (The moral of the story, ala Toy Story et. al., is that friends are more important than fame and fortune.) But behind the kid-friendly facade is a suprisingly poignant, melancholy tone, one which seems to me to criticize many aspects of contemporary, consumerist, throw-away American culture.

(Which may in part account for its less-than blockbuster reception at the box office.)

The Route 66 backdrops are stunning--most of the "action" takes place in the town of Radiator Springs, set amidst the redrock deserts of the Southwest somewhere between Tucumcari and California. Once a lively, bustling community, with wonderfully drawn diners and drive-ins and roadside attractions, along with a colorfully varied cast of residents, Radiator Springs has fallen into decline since it was bypassed by the Interstate, and seems fated to fade away.

I won't ruin the story by giving away the plot's twists and turns, but suffice to say that as with life out on the real Route 66, with hard work, a little luck, and a little help from our friends, we can all live happily ever after. Two thumbs up to that!

Here's a synopsis, borrowed from
Lightning McQueen, a hotshot rookie race car driven to succeed, discovers that life is about the journey, not the finish line, when he finds himself unexpectedly detoured in the sleepy Route 66 town of Radiator Springs. On route across the country to the big Piston Cup Championship in California to compete against two seasoned pros, McQueen gets to know the town's offbeat characters--including Sally, a snazzy 2002 Porsche, Doc Hudson, a 1951 Hudson Hornet with a mysterious past, and Mater, a rusty but trusty tow truck, who help him realize that there are more important things than trophies, fame and sponsorship.


Anonymous Pat Bremer said...

Couldn't agree with you more! My wife & I have seen Cars four times and ready for five. The movie definitely got across the point of interstates and its effect on small town America

8:49 PM  

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