July 4, 2006
Cars (2006, dir. Lasseter & Ranft) - Wow, I did not see this one coming? I had anticipated to like this latest movie from Pixar, but definitely not the degree that I did. Yes, it's not as good as several other Pixar films but that's faint praise really, considering the films it's up against.
Quite simply put, this film has the greatest animation I have ever seen. It. Looks. Amazing. I just... I... I'm speechless when thinking about how beautiful it all looks. Those night time scenes! My god! The nascar sequences look absolutely terrific. The cars are surprisingly not embarassing-looking and all those neon nighttime sequences and American countryside is just jaw-dropping awe-inspiring wonderful.
However, the film's charms don't stop there. I was reserved to merely like the film and applaud it's animation and music (Randy Newman's score is fantastic, and the song selection is wonderfully charming and occasionally even sad). But then there was the sequence where McQueen and Sally (Owen Wilson and Bonnie Hunt) go for a drive through the canyon and... wow. That scene just amazed me. It's striking beauty was brilliant. Everything about it was so perfectly done. At that point, something clicked - it moved from being more about wacky hyjinx to being a moving and slightly poetic paean to nostalgia and old-time values. There were several other sequences that were beautiful done. The detail in them was just fantastic.
Elsewhere, the film is great too. The voice work is finely done, Paul Newman was a great inclusion (and how odd that his animated form should look so much like him?), and Owen Wilson used his cocky drawl to great effect, and Bonnie Hunt is sweet as the porche. Comedic relief from Larry the Cable Guy and Tony Shalhoub was nicely done too. Randy Newman's score is wonderfully effective, and an original song written by Newman, performed by James Taylor, called "Our Town" is a nostalgic tearjerker of a song that I wouldn't be surprised to see nominated at the Oscars.
Overall, it isn't as good as the Toy Story movies or The Incredibles or Finding Nemo but I like as much as Monsters Inc. I just enjoyed watching this movie so much. The animation is just supurb and the music and songs and the voicework all add. But I also loved the nostalgia. I loved the combination of '50s and modern. Cars is definitely a worthy continuation of the Pixar name. A-
Posted by Glenn Dunks at 7:00 PM