More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 11.11%
Average: 27.35%
Pretty Bad: 24.79%
Total Crap: 2.56%

9 reviews, 63 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Everybody Knows by Jay Seaver

Alita: Battle Angel by Peter Sobczynski

Integrity by Jay Seaver

Happy Death Day 2U by Peter Sobczynski

Arctic by Jay Seaver

Punk Samurai Slash Down by Jay Seaver

Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, The by Rob Gonsalves

High Flying Bird by Peter Sobczynski

Tito and the Birds by Peter Sobczynski

Lego Movie 2, The by Peter Sobczynski

subscribe to this feed

[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Pixar Falls 50 Shy Of DiMaggio’s Record"
2 stars

As many of us watched the early teasers and subsequently lengthier previews for Pixar’s latest endeavor, you could hear the collective sigh of indifference two theaters over. And we all felt bad about it. How dare we shrug our shoulders at the animation company who has always come off the bench to smack no less than a triple and usually a game-winning grand slam? They are the Qantas of movie studios, churning out success in six straight efforts since Toy Story debuted in 1995. Surely what we were seeing was just a taste of the beautiful, landmark animation taken to the next level and that the story and humor were being saved for the actual experience. Sadly, Cars is more than just a disappointment as would any film falling from such a remarkable height would be. Calling it a borderline lazy effort in the script department would be assuming that the eight credited writers actually put forth an effort beyond just watching Doc Hollywood one night.

You remember Doc Hollywood (or at least you should because it’s a helluva charmer.) It starred Michael J. Fox as a cocky surgeon heading to LA to work in the plastic milieu of his profession. Along the way he takes a back road into a small town and ends up crashing his car into the fence of the local judge who sentences him to community service before he can get to his sunny destination.

In Cars, Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) is the cocky rookie on the race circuit. On the road to a race-off, the result of a three-way tie he’s responsible for after ignoring his team’s tire advise, McQueen is accidentally dumped from his travel semi. In his effort to get back to the highway he motors his way through a small town, ripping up their main street and is later sentenced by the local judge to stay in town and repair it before leaving.

The town of Radiator Springs has its share of small town characters who have not moved on since it ceased being a stop on a drive through the desert. Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) is the judge who would like nothing more than to see the selfish McQueen speed out of town, but prosecutor Sally (Bonnie Hunt) convinces him otherwise. Tow truck Mater (as in a bacon, lettuce and tomater sandwich – hick humor delivered by none other than Larry the Cable Guy) becomes McQueen’s shadow citing him as his “best friend” in a town of friendly, neighborly cars that probably hate Larry the Cable Guy just as much.

There are a multitude of others in town, including a hippie preaching about alternative fuels (George Carlin) and an Italian mechanic obsessed with Ferraris (Tony Shalhoub). The problem is that none of them are all that memorable and this is just a few days after seeing the movie. John Ratzenberger’s 18-wheeler is, but only because we expect Ratzenberger to make his regular Pixar appearance; a fact that provides part of the film’s best joke which doesn’t occur until the end credits. When a Pixar production, so adept at creating entertainment that’s equally hysterical for adults (if not moreso) than children can have you counting the number of chuckles on a hand – and the first comes from a background voice yelling Freebird – you start wondering if Doogal was really that bad.

I am not a gearhead by any stretch of the imagination. Whenever the conversation shifts to engines, mileage and 0-to-60 - I usually zone out faster than Britney Spears at a contraception convention. So color me surprised that a film obviously fashioned out of some appreciation for the racing culture would fail so miserably at doling out some love for the various contraptions which make the sport possible at all. While I probably couldn’t recognize makes and models if they were labeled right in front of me, I still would have expected those who know more than I do to have some fun with or pay tribute to the admirers, collectors and speedsters out there. It’s as all inside information was discarded so as not to leave out all of us who occasionally like to turn right and so we further suffer through a slogged effort where passion for the material received an immediate recall and was never replaced.

Pixar still doesn’t fail to garner an A+ in the animation department though. There are stunningly crisp images in Cars; so beautiful that it’s easy to fool your brain that everything else within the frames doesn’t match up. Praising their work in this department will never go out of style, but we’re beyond giving them a pass for outdoing traditional 2-D and the various posers who have come along to ride their thunder. In my personal order of greatness - Toy Story, Toy Story 2, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo and A Bug’s Life – Pixar’s resume has been full of great stories, one-of-a-kind characters and set pieces that have outdone some of Hollywood’s biggest bangs. There’s not much Cars can do to excite even racing fans with circle driving and the closest thing resembling an action sequence comes upon McQueen’s arrival to Radiator Springs. Even Pixar’s usual knack for looking below the surface to find either the buried emotions or the subtle subtext (in this case, the colonization of a country obsessed with expediency) is consumed in an overlong stretch of film that never picks up speed.

The battle between Disney and Pixar was well-publicized in the media last year and it’s unfair to speculate how much of that dictated the end result of Cars. Maybe Pixar saw they were on the way out and delivered their last contractually-obligated work without their usual stamp of excellence. Maybe Disney saw Cars and said there’s no way we’re doing business with a company churning out swill like that. They can do that all themselves. Maybe it’s just that all streaks must eventually come to an end and there’s no such thing as perfection. We just didn’t expect it to come from director John Lasseter who created the blueprint with Toy Story and A Bug’s Life. You had a good run and I’ll still be first in line for Toy Story 3 even if you decide to liberate the plot from The Secret of My Success. But don’t get lazy again.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 06/09/06 15:29:51
[printer] printer-friendly format  
Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell good not great 4 stars
3/23/15 Jerry Spray zzzzzzzzzzzzz....huh? OH! Did I just sleep through "Cars"? Go figure. 2 stars
10/19/11 Magic The second worst Pixar movie is still a Pixar movie. Nostalgic and gives warm fuzzies. 4 stars
6/15/11 My apples are rotting A tad underrated. Not aclassic but entertaining 4 stars
10/23/09 Rachel This is a favorite in our household. Cute and has a good message. 5 stars
1/14/09 Anonymous. it's cute and funny, like most other animated movies. :] 4 stars
9/14/08 Samantha Pruitt not as good as the other Pixar movies, still kind of funny 4 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner I love this movie, great for the whole family 5 stars
7/06/08 John Millheim the kids loved it, I did too,the animation was great 5 stars
1/23/08 Chase My dad and I watched it and we both thought it was hilarious, but had a good plot. 5 stars
1/08/08 Steve Aside from official remakes I've never seen a movie that mirrors another so closely. 3 stars
8/11/07 dragongirl Really cool movie! Good charas, especially Doc was rocks! Well the hero ain't bad either! 5 stars
7/07/07 AnnieG Characters are bad role models for kids - best parts were for the F1 fans 3 stars
5/25/07 sultryHobbit Like my girlfriend: cute, beautiful, but slow and predictable. 3 stars
2/13/07 druggas great movie with a good moral to the story. I watch it every night. 5 stars
2/07/07 Randall J. Paltza There's nothing "cynical" about CARS. If it imitates Doc H, I'm glad I saw CARS instead! 5 stars
2/02/07 bkjohnston Teaching all of us that some things are more important than winning is NOT preachy. 5 stars
1/27/07 David Cohen Still a heck of a lot better than anything Disney is producing these days 3 stars
1/21/07 David A. Cute for kids, but it gets pretty preachy. 2 stars
1/07/07 Stu If the critics want deep, watch usual suspects. This is a kids film my 4 year old loved! 5 stars
1/07/07 Disappointing for a Pixar,last 20min saves the movie. Seen Doc H, I agree with the comment! 3 stars
12/24/06 Tessa it's ok 3 stars
12/15/06 Lloyd Loved it! Will watch it over and over and over again! 5 stars
12/07/06 Lou Perez Loved it! This movie has a much deeper Story than you think, if you can see it! 5 stars
11/25/06 Dave T. Very clever...after the first viewing. 5 stars
11/22/06 Chris realized 3 days later when thinking about nothing that it reminded me of Doc H-wood 2 stars
11/21/06 Mohammad I think you missed the goal of "Cars." It's a tribute to car-nuts like me - we love it! 5 stars
11/10/06 Charles Tatum Beautiful to look at, but drags...get it, drags?! 4 stars
11/04/06 becky one of the best disney movies yet 5 stars
9/27/06 Cruzia Wonderfull graphic, awesome story, you'll dissappointed by not watching it !!! 5 stars
9/25/06 Lisa Craven Loved the animation and story line. Enjoyable dialogue and characters. 5 stars
9/03/06 Christopher Stucky Eventually, Pixar has to make a bad one. This isn't it yet. 5 stars
8/24/06 Chad Thomas Best animated movie of the year! Classic Pixar. 5 stars
8/18/06 Heather Marie Any requests?!! 5 stars
8/17/06 Pn. A feast for my PC & Pixel soaked brainstem. Will not be as good on second viewing... 5 stars
8/17/06 Mary Beth great animation, enjoyable, surprised at low ratings 4 stars
8/14/06 Sharon yea I took my little 5 year old brother and he hated it! 1 stars
8/06/06 Robyn Awesome Film!!! 5 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant The first 'bad' Pixar film. Even that is better than most of the shit offered this summer. 3 stars
8/05/06 Gaogaigar I was disappointed with this Pixar picture- dozed off somewhere in Radiator Springs! 3 stars
7/26/06 Quigley A good but not great Pixar movie. stunning visuals; and ya gotta love Mater 4 stars
7/10/06 Sarah Love it. Brilliant animation. In opposition to a few blunt ratings, it was incredibly witty 4 stars
7/01/06 Christopher Didn't like the previews but this is a really great movie. Bonnie Hunt's vocals were great. 5 stars
7/01/06 Gerry Irons Boring and Disappointing. Slow story with overly simple charactors and story 3 stars
6/28/06 PAG Solid, but not great, film. Larry The Cable Guy was pretty funny. 3 stars
6/25/06 Mase Sorely lacking something all pixar films had has to this point, a sense of adventure. 3 stars
6/23/06 orpament torture, even with my son 1 stars
6/20/06 Agent Sands Fantastic and substantial. Greatly stimulant of emotions. 5 stars
6/20/06 JLo It was great, better than Gigli, that's for sure! 5 stars
6/19/06 John Aster Habig What the hell is this crap? Since when does scrap metal relate to us as human beings? 1 stars
6/16/06 ES Better than bug's life and moster's inc. 4 stars
6/14/06 tjpeterson AWESOME, don't know these other people watched, son loved it,will be the 1st to buy on DVD! 5 stars
6/13/06 KingNeutron Critics too harsh on this one; I laughed, I cried; looks Awesome. (But I havnt seen Doc H.) 4 stars
6/12/06 bullit16 I would watch any Pixar movie any time. Except this one. 4 stars
6/12/06 ajay loved all the other pixar movies for the great story/characters. this falls *way* short. 2 stars
6/12/06 Pokejedservo Take it as the great old-fashioned storyline as it is. This isn't new age at all... 5 stars
6/12/06 Joe This movie was GREAT! funny, good story, who saw Doc Hollywood anyway? 5 stars
6/11/06 katsat Good but not great. Needed MORE anthropomorphism for audience to relate to. Great visuals. 4 stars
6/11/06 San Lamar it was ok 3 stars
6/11/06 Koitus GREAT intro-short; MUST STAY for the credits. The rest = Eh? Agree with Doc H-Wood cmnts. 3 stars
6/11/06 MickOZ ANAMATION IS FOR KIDS UNDER 10! that said my 5 year old liked it. 5 stars
6/10/06 Adrian I definetely got my hopes way too up. Aside from the visuals, it's totally boring. 2 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  09-Jun-2006 (G)
  DVD: 07-Nov-2006

  28-Jul-2006 (PG)

  08-Jun-2006 (G)

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast