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Cars (DVD Review)

5 Nov, 2006 By: John Latchem

Street 11/7/06
Box Office $244.1 million
$29.99 DVD

Rated ‘G.'
Voices of Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, George Carlin, Cheech Marin.

Cars is another winner for Disney and Pixar, filled with grand scenery and the lushness of the American landscape, rendered to perfection in CGI.

The film is a celebration of American car culture and an indictment of the impatient mentality of motorists too willing to zip from here to there without realizing the splendor they are passing by.

Kids, of course, will love the bright colors and lovable characters. It's also a great film to listen to, with a soundtrack of pop hits and Randy Newman's characteristic musical score. And the racing scenes are top-notch.

Lightning McQueen (Wilson) is a hotshot NASCAR rookie whose quest for a championship is sidetracked by an unscheduled detour to Radiator Springs, a quaint little town largely forgotten when large highways usurped cross-country roadways like Route 66.

In his short stay, he encounters Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), a racing legend from the 1950s; Sally the Porsche (Hunt), the town attorney; and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), a quirky tow truck, all of whom help Lightning realize the value of pastiche, friendship and loyalty over more materialistic endeavors.

Adults will appreciate that the car characters are more or less matched to the personalities of those who might drive them in the real world (an old VW van is a hippie, for example).

In a departure from the two-DVD releases of previous Pixar films, Cars is a simple one-disc set with no commentary, but the features it does have — deleted sequences, two short films and a featurette — still make the DVD worthwhile (in addition to the film, of course).

One Man Band, which accompanied the film in theaters, is a witty tale of two street magicians competing for the nickel of the lone little girl in an otherwise empty plaza.

The all-new Mater and the Ghostlight spotlights the citizens of Radiator Springs turning the tables on jokester Mater, convincing him a blue spirit haunts the town. Fans of the film will enjoy it.

The lone featurette is “Inspiration for Cars,” which is short (16 minutes) but effective, as director John Lasseter reflects on family road trips and how a variety of ideas coalesced into the final story.

Also, be on the lookout for an easter egg that puts Mater and Lightning into the Pixar short Boundin', continuing the film's end-credits joke in which stars of Pixar's earlier hits make cameos in Cars-themed parodies of the films.

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