Stephen Speicher

Cars (2006)

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I cannot speak about the movie Cars without first acknowledging the most spectacular computer animation accomplished to date. The scenery is exquisite, more real than real, and the detail is astounding. The action is smooth and exciting, and the varying perspectives from which the action is seen is very cleverly done. A couple of years ago a senior scientist from Pixar came to visit us at Caltech, and during his presentation he showed some details from the then soon to be released The Incredibles, and also some peeks of a future work, Cars. Seeing that film now makes me appreciate even more why these scientists at Pixar were so interested in applied mathematicians for developing new and special mathematical techniques.

The story in Cars is not up to the level of, say, The Incredibles, and the first part of the movie even made me think that Pixar was losing its touch (the Pixar scientist had made clear that despite the focus on the technical, at Pixar the storyline comes first). But, without giving anything away, from the time that Lightning (the race car) comes to the town, the story continues to improve and builds to a delightful climax.

In short, Cars is a technical accomplishment par excellence, with a slow but building enjoyable story, though not up to the level of story-crafting in much of Pixar's previous work.

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I am in agreement with you, Stephen. The visuals were absolutely stunning, but the story was lacking in comparison to Toy Story, The Incredibles or Monsters, Inc.. The film was enjoyable, very cute, but not up to Pixar's standards. The children I saw the film with adored it and entertained us by racing each other around the playground, complete with engine noises, afterwards.

I have to admit I am a fan of Larry the Cable Guy (I'm from the South, sue me) and loved his lovable redneck tow truck character. I was also quite tickled by the (small) cameos from Tom and Ray Magliozzi from NPR's Car Talk as the owners of Lightning's sponsor company.

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Based on the previews, I wasn't sure I wanted to see this one -- it just didn't look all that interesting. Then again, the previews of Finding Nemo didn't grab me, and I thoroughly enjoyed that movie.

I was just going to see it based on the fact that I have yet to see Pixar make a movie that wasn't at least quite good. (I think A Bug's Life is probably their weakest outing, but that was still a lot of fun.) I take it that this is still worth seeing?

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Finally saw it today. What a fun movie!

I wouldn't put it on the same scale as other Pixar movies, like The Incredibles, but it's worth a look.

The story is utterly conventional, predictable, and full of cracker-barrel banal sentimental poppycock. Aside from that, it's really good. I was really caught up by the cheery, benevolent universe sense of life.

I gave it an 8.

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