Cars is a 2006 computer-animated sports road comedy-adventure film directed by John Lasseter. It follows the famous racecar Lightning McQueen who races against the arrogant runner-up Chick Hicks and the legendary Strip Weathers. On his way to California, though, he ends up in Radiator Springs, meeting Mater, Sally Carrera, Doc Hudson, and other people from town. During his trip, Lightning learns that friendship is more important than just fame.
Lightning McQueen is living life in the fast lane until he winds up in a deserted town, Radiator Springs, where he meets Mater, Sally, and Doc Hudson. His friends help him learn that there is more to life than just racing and winning.
Lightning McQueen: (first lines; inhales, and exhales) OK, here we go. Focus. Speed. I... am speed!
- “Real Gone”
- “Life Is a Highway”
- “Rollin' in the Rearview”
- “Find Yourself”
- “Behind the Clouds”
- “Star-Spangled Banner”
- “Our Town”
- “Route 66”
- Owen Wilson: Lightning McQueen, a hotshot rookie racecar, and the main protagonist.
- Larry the Cable Guy: Mater, a 1951 Haulital Harvester L-170 “boom” tow truck, and Lightning’s best friend.
- Bonnie Hunt: Sally Carrera, a 2002 996-series Porsche 911 Carrera who serves as Lightning’s love interest.
- Paul Newman: Doc Hudson, a 1951 Hudson Hornet who later turns out to be the Fabulous Hudson Hornet.
- Cheech Marin: Ramone, a 1959 Chevrolet Impala Lowrider.
- Tony Shalhoub: Luigi, a 1959 Fiat 500.
- Guido Quaroni: Guido, a custom forklift, resembling an Isetta at the front.
- Jenifer Lewis: Flo, a Motorama show car, and Ramone’s wife
- Paul Dooley: Sarge, a 1941 Willys model jeep, in the style used by the US Military.
- Katherine Helmond: Lizzie, an Old Model T., who is Stanley’s living wife.
- George Carlin: Fillmore, a 1960 Volkswagen Bus.
- Joe Ranft: Red, a 1960s-style fire truck (mostly resembling a mid-1960s)
- John Ratzenberger: Mack, Lightning McQueen’s driver
- Michael Keaton: Chick Hicks, a “generic 1980s” racecar, and the main antagonist.
- Richard Petty: The King “Strip Weathers”, a 1943 Plymouth Superbird.
- Jeremy Piven: Harv, McQueen’s agent who never appears onscreen, but rather heard on the phone.
- Bob Costas: Bob Cutlass, a 1999 Oldsmobile Aurora, a friend of Darrell Cartrip, and an announcer for the Piston Cup.
- Darrell Waltrip: Darrell Cartrip, a 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, a Piston Cup announcer, and a friend of Bob Cutlass.
- Richard Kind: Van, Minny’s husband.
- Edie McClurg: Minny, Van’s wife.
- Humpy Wheeler: Tex, the owner of Dinoco.
- Ray and Tom Magliozzi: Rusty & Dusty Rust-eze, two brothers who own Rust-eze.
- Lynda Petty: Mrs. The King, The King’s wife.
- Andrew Stanton: Fred, who gets very enthusiastic whenever he hears other cars (or people) say his name.
- Dale Earnhard, Jr.: Junior, a friend of The King's, who is based on his own voice actor.
- Michael Schumacher: Michael Schumacher Ferrari, a 2006 Ferrari F430.
- Jay Leno: Jay Limo, a reporter of Racing Sports Network.
- Mario Andretti: Mario Andretti (car), a 1967 Ford Fairlane , and a veteran racecar
- Sarah Clark: Kori Turbowitz, a Piston Cup reporter.
- Mike Nelson: Not Chuck, an angry and short-tempered member of Lightning McQueen's pit crew. He is credited as "My Name is Not Chuck".
- Joe Ranft: Jerry Recycled Batteries, a mean and grumpy Peterbilt who Lightning once mistook for Mack. This was his actual final speaking role (because Red does not count, since his dialogue was only restricted to crying) before his death of traffic collison in 2005, a year before the movie was made.
- Jonas Rivera: Boost, the leader of the Delinquent Road Hazards.
- Adrian Ochoa: Wingo, a member of the Delinquent Road Hazards, who has a rather large tailfin/spoiler.
- Lou Romano: Snot Rod, a chronically sniffly member of the Delinquent Road Hazards.
- E.J. Holowicki: DJ, a member of the Delinquent Road Hazards, who usually supplies music for the group.
- Lindsey Collins & Elissa Knight: Mia & Tia, two Mazda Miatas who are fans of Lightning.
- Larry Benton, Douglas “Mater” Keever: Larry & R.M./Albert Hinkey
- Tom Hanks: Woody Wagon
- Tim Allen: Buzz Light Car
- John Ratzenberger: Hamm Centercut/P.T. Flea Car/Abominable Snowplow
- Billy Crystal: Mike Car
- John Goodman: Sulley Truck
- Jack Angel: Claude Scruggs
- Michael Bell:
- Bob Bergen: Tim Rimmer
- Susan Blu:
- Rodger Bumpass: Wide Chick Pitty
- Richard Cawood:
- Scott Clark:
- Kathy Coates: Kathy Copter
- John Cygan: Richard Clayton Kensington
- Jennifer Darling:
- Paul Eiding: Various reporters and Piston Cup racers
- Bill Farmer:
- Brian Fee: Al Oft, the Lightyear Blimp.
- Teresa Ganzel:
- Craig Good:
- Jess Harnell: Various Piston Cup racecars
- Artie Kempner: Artie
- Hooman Khalili: Hooman
- Sonoko Konishi: Chuki
- Erik Langley:
- Sherry Lynn:
- Danny Mann:
- Mickie T. McGowan:
- Laraine Newman:
- Teddy Newton: Chuck Manifold
- Colleen O'Shaughnessey:
- Bob Peterson:
- Steve Purcell: Tractors
- Jan Rabson: T.J. Hummer, Marco Axelbender, various racers
- A.J. Riebli III:
- Dan Scanlon:
- Stephen Schaffer:
- Ken Schretzmann:
- Bob Scott:
- Matt Staudt:
- Jay Ward: Chief Chick
- Jim Ward:
- Colette Whitaker: Andrea
The movie got positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. It got a 74% “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 73% rating on Metacritic, meaning “generally favorable reviews”. I gave the movie positive reviews as well, praising the animation, characters, voice acting, and story, with 10 out of 10.
Why I Love It
- The CGI-animation is amazing and very solid.
- Talented voice acting.
- Awesome soundtrack. The score by Randy Newman was excellent, and the songs were really fun to listen to.
- Awesome and hilarious characters, such as Lightning McQueen and Mater.
- The humor is funny.
- The characters are excellently-developed; Lightning starts out as cocky and somewhat self-centered, but then realizes there is more to friendship than life in the fast lane.
- The character designs are truly appealing.
- The idea of an anthropomorphic vehicle movie is interesting.
- The backstory of the downfall of Radiator Springs was a really heartbreaking and sad scene, and "Our Town" helps describe it.
- Well-learned life lessons. In the final race where Chick wrecks The King and Lightning doesn't win the Piston Cup, he goes back to help The King finish his last race and says "It's just an empty cup".
- Excellent worldbuilding.
- While not as great as this film according to most audiences and reviewers, Cars 2 is still fun to watch for me.
- It spawned a fun-filled series of TV shorts, which are also good.
- The racing scenes are very fun to watch.
- Chick Hicks is a surprisingly horrible character, even for villain standards, especially to the point where I have despised him ever since.
A sequel to the film, Cars 2, was released on June 24, 2011. It was once again directed by John Lasseter, who was inspired for the film while traveling around the world promoting the original movie. In the sequel, Lightning and Mater go to Japan and Europe to compete in the World Grand Prix, but Mater gets sidetracked with international espionage. The movie wasn't as well-received as the first movie, but it was still a box office success. I gave that film a positive review, with 8 out of 10, saying: "The animation, racing scenes, action, and voice acting are amazing."
Another sequel, Cars 3, was released on June 16, 2017. John did not return to direct the film, but Brian Fee, a storyboard artist on the first two films, did, yet John is still involved as executive producer. Much like the first movie, the third got positive reviews from critics, with many praising it as an improvement over its predecessor, although I like both sequels.
- During "Life is a Highway," the birds from For the Birds can be briefly shown sitting on a telephone wire.
- Dinoco is also the gas station where Woody and Buzz got stranded at in Toy Story.
- Knick the snowman from Knick Knack appears in the snowglobe at Lizzie's Curios Shop.
- A camper van named Syd VanDerkamper, who is watching the final race, is surrounded by flamingos, palm trees, and a pool, which is an allusion to Knick Knack.
- The Pizza Planet Truck, which appears frequently in every Pixar film (except for The Incredibles), appears before the last race, next to the Elvis camper on the left behind Bob Cutlass.
- He can also be seen during the Life is A Highway scene, at a Dinoco station, thus referencing how the truck appeared in Toy Story, at a Dinoco gas station.
- Woody, Buzz, Hamm, Mike, Sulley, Yeti, Flik, and PT. Flea, make cameo appearances at the end of the movie. Also, they were also all voiced by their original actors, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Ratzenberger, Billy Crystal, John Goodman, and Dave Foley.
- During the credits, car versions of Toy Story, A Bug's Life, and Monsters, Inc. are seen showing at the Radiator Springs Drive-In Theatre.
- Mack even points out the fact that John Ratzenberger, his, Hamm, the Abominable Snowman, and P.T. Flea's actor has voiced a character in every single Pixar movie.
- Woody's line, "Oh, yeah? Well, good riddance, you loony!" is stock audio from Toy Story.
- During the end credits, a small, sad montage of a dedication to the memory of the great actor Joe Ranft, who voiced Wheezy (singing his karaoke song in Toy Story 2), Heimlich saying, "Just go tell them the truth.", in A Bug's Life and Lenny the Binoculars saying, "Right here, Woody." in Toy Story, (who died only a year before the movie was finished production) appears.
- It even included a song to go with it in respect for the late voice actor.
- A113 shows up on Mater's number plate.
- This was Pixar’s last independently-produced movie before Pixar was officially bought by Disney.
- The tires of Lightning McQueen and other race cars are Lightyear tires, which is a reference to both tire manufacturer Goodyear and Buzz Lightyear.
- Chick Hicks’s number, 86, is an allusion to the year Pixar was founded. Lightning’s number, 95, is also an allusion to the year Toy Story was released.
- Lightning‘s number was going to be 57, a reference to former Pixar boss John Lasseter’s birth year, but is eventually changed to 95, as an allusion to the year Toy Story was released in theatres.
- Throughout the opening race, there is a white race car with the Apple logo. Coincidentally, Apple also created all of my iPads.
- Cars is the second Pixar movie to have a post-credits cutscene; the first one is Finding Nemo.
- During the tiebreaker race in the Los Angeles International Speedway, with three fighter jets flying over the stadium, Pixar Animation Studios can be seen as one of the shown buildings, despite the studio being located at Emeryville, near San Francisco, in real life, not at Los Angeles.
- Ornament Valley, located near Radiator Springs, is car-ified, in the form of car hoods. The mountain range surrounding the town is called Cadillac Range. The mountains strikingly resemble quarter panels of 50s Cadillacs, referencing Cadillac Ranch.
- The neon lights on top of the roof at Flo's V8 Cafe appear in the same pattern as a 1932 Ford V8 Flathead.
- On par, the movie took seventeen hours to render. Also, it was Pixar’s first movie to illustrate ray-tracing in order to make the creation of the car reflections perfect.
- Cars was initially going to be titled Route 66, which would make much sense due to the location that the movie is set in. The confirmed title was chosen to help make viewers less confused with the 1960s TV series of the same name as the working title.
- Though this and Ratatouille were the first two Pixar movies to use the H-word, it was thankfully just used to refer to the location. The real first Pixar movie to use such an unnatural word was Incredibles 2.
- Lightning’s original annoyance towards being in Radiator Springs, and then eventually getting used to the town as he learns more about it later on, is very similar to Dr. Joel Fleishman and his experiences in Cicely, Alaska, from the 1990s TV series Northern Exposure.
- A car in the 1st race is sponsored by Leak Less. A “Leak Less” bottle fuel was also noticeable in WALL•E.
- Cars is Pixar’s seventh film, and the last film by Pixar independently, before it was officially owned by Disney. Beginning with Ratatouille, the animation looked a bit newer.
- This is Pixar’s second movie without any onscreen humans, after A Bug’s Life (1998).
- Lots of iconic people, from the racing world, make a cameo appearance in the movie, which include Richard Petty, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Mario Andretti, Michael Schumacher, Bob Costas, Darrell Waltrip, and Jay Leno; allusions to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Elvis Presley also appear, although it is unknown if the former is voiced by himself. The latter is certainly not as he passed away in 1977, nine years before Pixar was founded.
- This unintentionally spawned The Little Cars in the Great Race, a Video Brinquedo rip-off of this film.
- During the scene where the race announcers discuss the race’s popularity, it says that the whole town of Emeryville is shut down for the race. Emeryville is the location of the Pixar Studios.
- In Lightning’s dream about joining Dinoco, a car gets zapped and uses the Wilhelm scream, a sound effect used in lots of movies, including the original Star Wars.
- In the teaser trailer, there is a car sponsored by "Jumbo Pretzels". This is probably the same company that was seen in A Bug's Life under the name "Jackson's Jumbo Pretzels."
- Every vehicle in the franchise appears to have their windows completely unable to see through and blanked out, and no convertibles nor any vehicles without roofs actually appear (the vehicles that do resemble convertibles always have their roofs up), and strongly implied that they all may not be hollow.
- This is the last Pixar movie to have a full screen size for its US home video release.
- This was the last Disney and Pixar movie to be released on VHS, but it was a Disney Movie Club exclusive.
- Before the tiebreaker race begins, a blimp with “Lightyear” on it can be seen in the air over the stadium. The blimp's name is a reference to the character Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story movies.
- Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling makes a reference in the documentary J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life that the movie Cars is one of her daughter's favorite movies.
- This used to be the longest Pixar film ever with a runtime of 116 minutes (1 hour and 56 minutes) until 2018 with the release of Incredibles 2 which has a total runtime of 118 minutes (1 hour and 58 minutes).
- This is the second Pixar film to use a cartoon sound effect after Finding Nemo; a metal hit sound effect (taken from various animated TV shows that contain Hanna-Barbera sound effects) is easily heard in the opening of the movie.
- The opening race at the Motor Speedway of the South contains 60,000 cars seated in the crowd while an additional 700 are in the infields and aisles. In comparison, the final race at Los Angeles International Speedway has 100,000 cars seated and 1,500 in the infields, with an additional 13,000 entering the stadium to look for seats.
- Lightning McQueen has fourteen different paint jobs in the movie, counting his alternate paint jobs and different amounts of dirt.
- During the scene when Mack is leaving Motor Speedway of the South on the way to California, a total of 21,566 lights are used in four different shots.