Cars takes home the gold

Cars is indiscriminately hilarious, enjoyable for both the car enthusiasts and illiterates alike.
Amongst the vrooms of the adrenaline-rushed opening, we are introduced to hotrod rookie Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) at the prestigious racing competition, the Piston Cup.
McQueen, confident in his abilities and his shiny good looks, has tough competition: the consecutive runner-up Chick Hicks (Michael Keaton), and the experienced 1970 Plymouth Seabird Strip Weathers AKA “the King” (racing legend Richard Petty).
A gutsy yet foolish decision by McQueen results in a three-way tie. The tie-breaker is set for a week away in California.
McQueen speeds across the country determined to drive nonstop. But in a Murphy’s Law-like turn of events, McQueen finds himself impounded as a criminal in sleepy Radiator Springs, a small town located on Route 66 populated by a colorful cast of cars. He is instantly befriended by Tow Mater, the resident hick tow-truck (Larry the Cable Guy), who, simply put, does not have the brightest headlights.
The rest of the town does not warm to McQueen as quickly. He is sentenced to several days of community service by Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) with the help of town attorney and love interest Sally, a 2002 Porsche 911 (Bonnie Hunt).
At first, McQueen goes through the motions to earn his freedom, eager to return to the fast lane. But after a few days of misadventures (two words: tractor tipping) and a plot-twisting discovery, McQueen learns that appearances can be deceiving.
We now find our hero torn between a life of friendship, loyalty, and trust, versus fame, money, and groupies in the form of twin Miatas.
Some readers may ask why this “kid’s movie” was even featured in this issue’s Entertainment section. Was it the socially redeeming values of this movie or its all-star cast to back it up (Cheech Marin, George Carlin, with “cameos” of NPR’s Car Talk brothers, Mario Andretti, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Jay Leno)?
The witty attention to detail is astounding in this movie – nearly everything is auto-morphic, from the Volkswagen houseflies to the scenery (1950s tailfins as peaks in a canyon, or hoods as plateaus).
Visually, it is the best Pixar has ever produced, with each frame taking about 17 hours to complete.
As we prepare ourselves for another fast-paced fall semester, take this advice from McQueen: “It’s kind of nice to slow down every once and a while.”
Take the time to see this movie, because Cars is great for any occasion, even if you can’t tell a ball bearing from a B pipe.