Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen (voice)
Larry the Cable Guy as Mater (voice)
Bonnie Hunt as Sally (voice)
Paul Newman as Doc Hudson (voice)
George Carlin as Filmore (voice)
Bob Costas as Bob Cutlass (voice)
Paul Dooley as Sarge (voice)
Katherine Helmond as Lizzie (voice)
Michael Keaton as Chick Hicks (voice)
Jenifer Lewis as Flo (voice)
Ray Magliozzi as Clunk (voice)
Tom Magliozzi as Clink (voice)
Cheech Marin as Ramone (voice)
Richard Petty as ‘The King’ Strip Weathers (voice)
Guido Quaroni as Guido (voice)
John Ratzenberger as Mack (voice)
Tony Shalhoub as Luigi (voice)
Michael Wallis as Sheriff (voice)
Darrell Waltrip as Darrell Cartrip (voice)
After accidentally destroying the road through the sleepy little town, McQueen is arrested and sentenced to repairing the road. He’s minded by a rusty hick tow truck named Mater. Desperate to get out of the town and make it to his race, McQueen gets busy repairing the road. But along the way he finds something more with the town inhabitants and within himself as he slows down and finds himself pulled out of the rat race.
“Cars” is rated G.
There are no apparent great strides in animation technology here. Where Pixar really excels is with the artistry. The background canyons resemble the Cadillac Ranch. Trails in the sky from jets look like tire tracks. There are little touches all through the film, like ‘Lightyear’ tires, that make it a rich visual experience. Some of the scenes look incredibly lifelike, then you see the big eyes on the cars and remember it’s a cartoon.
The voice casting is excellent. Owen Wilson does a fine job sounding cocky or kind as Lightning McQueen, but it’s Larry the Cable Guy that really steals the show as Mater. He’s funny and his country bumpkin routine fits in perfectly with the storyline. He even manages to sneak in a “Git er Done” line in at one point. Paul Newman is well cast as Doc Hudson, the gruff and tough judge with a secret past. Michael Keaton is also a lot of fun as Chick Hicks. He seems to be channeling Beetlejuice, but it’s very much welcome in the movie. Also listen for cameos by Bob Costas, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mario Andretti, and Darrell Waltrip among others. NASCAR fans and car lovers are going to be in absolute heaven while watching this movie.
Be sure to watch through the credits for some hilarious additional scenes featuring John Ratzenberger. I won’t spoil the surprise, but it’s worth the price of admission to see. On a final note, stay to the very end of the credits for one final surprise.
What Didn’t Work:
I was a tad shocked by a couple of the ‘adult’ jokes. They’re the kind of thing that passes right over the heads of kids, but adults will have no problem understanding them. In one scene McQueen walks in on Doc giving the sheriff a car colonoscopy. In another scene two female cars flash their headlights at McQueen. In another scene a car says, “Oh, Chrysler!” They weren’t exactly what I was expecting from a Pixar film.
The Bottom Line: