Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Cars - the movie

A couple weeks ago, I took Sonny Boy and Princess to the latest animated "family" movie - Cars. I had read some favorable reviews, so I was hoping and praying this would not be another Spongebob Squarepants movie (definitely one of the worst I have ever seen). I was fortunate that Cars was far superior.

Now part of me felt like I should see this movie just because I am from North Carolina. I have never actually seen a NASCAR race, but I know I can name more race car drivers (and even recognize their faces) than I can pro football players. It's just osmosis in this part of the world. I was delighted that several of the actual NASCAR drivers (including the King himself, Richard Petty) voiced characters. Cars is about actual cars - the primary character being a snazzy red racecar, Lightning McQueen. He's all about the glory, the babes, the money, and the sponsorships. On this way to the destination of fame and fortune, Lightning gets waylayed in a sleepy Route 66 town. (There's even a nice little side story about commercialization and major highways missing the local beauty.) The story itself is by no means original - I sometimes had flashbacks to Doc Hollywood. Yet, the way the story is told is quite creative and original and engaging.

These were cars - but I felt like I knew each one. When Lightning left the sleepy town, I was so sad. I didn't want to leave this town and the people in it. I wanted to go back and stay there. (I probably watched way too much Northern Exposure years ago.) I'm sure you can predict the ending - but as with the story itself - it's not the destination that counts; it's the journey.

The journey is just a lot of fun. The characters are interesting. The dialogue is snappy and heartfelt without being cheesy. The voices were well chosen. Even the soundtrack is impressive (Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, James Taylor, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts). This really is a feel good movie that all ages can enjoy - and I will happily see a sequel when it comes (as I'm sure it will). My grade - A-

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