Average Member Rating:
- Christopher O
What Is It?
Pixar's latest attempt to give inanimate objects a voice starts in the world of NASCAR, and moves on to Route 66. With a set up not unlike Michael J. Fox's "Doc Hollywood," race car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) has just been in a 3 way tie at the end of the Piston Cup. A second race has been scheduled in California, but on the way, Lightning has an accident. After destroying a road, he is sentenced to stay in a backward town, off Route 66, until he can repair his damage. As the week goes by, while he could be schmoozing big wigs in Cali and getting a better sponsor, instead he is trapped in "hillbilly hell" (his words) wondering if he will even make it in time for the race.
How Was It?
CG Giant Pixar, started the full length computer animated fad in 1996 with inventive Toy Story. After that they have put out 2 good films and 2 great films. With that kind of track record, I was very excited to see film number seven. This is the first move Pixar has done since being bought by former partner Disney, and I'm here to say the new parent company has not ruined them yet!
(But we have yet to see Toy Story 3).
This movie makes all the other cheesy CG garbage that we have been getting lately look even cheesier. The performances are fun with a lot of cameos. (I'm not a car guy, so it wasn't until I checked out IMDB.com that I realized all the car guys in it. Just know if the car has a name that a sound like a celebrity, the voice is that celebrity, including the red number 8 car named Jr.)
I think kids are going to love it, and like "The Incredibles", it wow's you with a story instead of needing to blow stuff up or edit a billion times a minute to keep kids attention. There is still action, but it punctuates instead of becoming the visual white noise. The plot is not too obvious and things come out the you may not have been expecting. Still my favorite parts were things like the tires and the blimp over the stadium (Light Year) and the major sponsor being Dinoco (the gas station chain that shows up in the Toy Story films.) There is also a fantastic "in the credits" bit with John Ratzenberger , who has been in all seven Pixar films.
I liked it, though found it odd that one of the main themes was how we are supposed to enjoy the beauty and grandeur of nature, while all the visuals we have of such things are made on a computer.
Is It Good For Kids?
I think kids will be able to follow the story well and enjoy what they see. I think the construction of the film is great for kids. There are also some good morals to learn here. There are a couple of mildly bad words, but then there was also the Lord's name as a cuss word (maybe twice). The other odd thing was the amount of "body" jokes. One car checks out another's "rear end" and it is implied repeatedly that when they see the underside of a car they are seeing something equivalent to a person without there pants. It is even shot so that the audience knows where they are looking but can't see it themselves. There is nothing here to insight lust (because it's still just cars) but possibly a bad attitude toward those issues.
You can check out screenit.com for a break down of what is on the screen, but they don't seem to pick up as much of the "naughty parts on a car" that were in the film.
What about Spiritual Issues?
On one hand, there was a lot of good here. The idea that we should respect our elders (Proverbs 16:31) is something kids (and a lot of adults) need to hear today and are often told the opposite. The idea of learning from the past, and that simple things can be wonderful if you stop and look, are great things to have in your head. There is also a short message about slowing down and noticing the splendor of the natural world and wanting to be in a place where society has not just bulldozed it. Finally, it's great to not just have the standard "racism" message, but the idea that you shouldn't be elitist about your friends, but be willing to associate with people who you may consider lower than you. ( Romans 12:16 )
On the other hand, Despite what some may infer (like Dr. J.D.) I do not think salvation will be achieved by society returning to the 1950's.
So, to the extent this is just extolling the virtues of friends and relationships, it's a good thing. To the extent it's telling us that the answer to life is friends and the 50's, it's an existential lie. Unfortunately, with it's "I have everything, but life is still meaningless" story line, I think it errs on the side of the later.
What Is Your Recommendation?
It was a good movie, but it does have a couple of words you wouldn't want your kids using and a message of "Redemption from the meaninglessness of life" without Jesus. I'm not sure it's worth it. I will just be sticking with the Toy Story Series, The Incredibles, and the occasional Monsters Inc.