Through the six previous movie productions Pixar Animation Studios had quite clearly set themselves in contention to be renowned as the greatest animation studio working independently in the industry. Being the last production to be released before the multi-million pound company buy out by Walt Disney Studios, the whole film feel inevitable in its content. This inevitability covers two factors; like many other people's opinions, 'Cars' seems a film built on creating merchandise solely aimed at younger audiences - keeping away from the deep and original environments that the studio had become known for, instead opting on a very commercial style world that could rake in toy car sales - as well as John Lasseter having complete control on the narrative he wished to feature. Citing in many interviews that this production was a labour of love, one that he has held in mind for many years, 'Cars' is also a film that is directed by the now head of Disney Animation, and his love for the idea can be found throughout. Whatever your take on the reason behind this film being green-lit, 'Cars' is still a highly polished and beautiful animation for viewers to behold. Featuring the same Pixar class throughout, 'Cars' competes on many fronts but lacks also in some. Holding some interesting characters, beautiful landscape designs and animation as well as morale in its message, 'Cars' is a film that should be watched be people of all ages.
Like Pixar's previous film 'A Bugs Life', 'Cars' is another film that does not hold any human characters whatsoever, instead presenting a world populated with anthropomorphic transport vehicles. Beginning with the last race in a championship named the Piston Cup, three cars are in contention for the title - also resulting in a luxurious sponsorship deal with Dinoco. These three cars are; Strip 'The King' Weathers' (The old champion hoping to keep his title), Chick Hicks (The main antagonist, a car that always seems to finish second) and Lightning McQueen (the lead character, a rookie who has hit the championship in a storm of results) all rivals and all out to win. However, when the race is ended in a complete draw between the three, a new sudden death race between the cars is set to take place in a weeks time. Leaving to get to the venue quickly, Lightning pushes his big rig, Mack, to far - by asking him to travel throughout the whole night- and in a mishap with other motorist Lightning is accidentally released onto the interstate and in a panic heads of in the wrong direction ending up in a quiet place named Radiator Springs. However, in his state he damages the entire road, and through community service must repair the damage that he has caused. Whilst doing his punishment, Lightning however gets a lesson on the way he lives his life, with a new morale gained along with many friends and expert tips taught by a race car legend, Doc Hudson (The final non documentary role of Paul Newman).
Although one of the weaker narratives that have been released by Pixar, this film does hold one with an important message. Carrying enough entertaining sequences, high octane races and segments of simple comedy 'Cars' is a film that will keep audiences of all ages interested throughout, even if it seems more aimed at pre-teen boys. The issue being not that this narrative is completely weak, more the fact that the studios other ones have just been stronger.
The animation, arguably in any Pixar movie or animation for that matter, has never been as strong as it is in this film. Vehicles have never been recreated in as much detail as the characters are in the film. This is partly down to the design of the characters - including the decision to have their eyes featured in the windscreen and not the usual headlight position. Through this conscious decision, the filmmakers have been able to keep human emotion in the cars and make them appear less reptilian in presentation. A decision that has completely aided the film in becoming more appealing to watch. One of the main strengths that are clear in the animation on this film is the dust animation that they have implemented into proceedings. This makes the cars movement realistic, and with the also updated dirt mechanic that the studio has produced everything looks organic in what is shown. Overall, 'Cars' is a beautifully animated feature film that manages to convey the created world in a manner that holds onto the original designs of the vehicles but also gives them individual characteristics. Whether through a decision by the director, or a continuity error that had come unnoticed, one fault in the films animation is found near the end of the duration. Lightning McQueen vinyls change between scenes, this spoils what was an amazing presentation of vehicular characters. The animation of speed in this film is well conducted and when viewing this movie, viewers will really sense the feeling of speed in what they are watching.
'Cars' is perhaps the weakest of the companies productions, when looked through the narrative that they try to convey. Maybe it is a film that was expected to sell merchandise, but when a company releases films aimed at children it can be inevitable that eventually that will be their aim. For what the company fails on in narrative stakes, it makes up with a fully designed and working animated environment. Factors that are often missed when creating animations are found in this film throughout, given the feeling of realism throughout that some fail to achieve. One that is hit and miss for viewers opinions, but there is enough here to keep fans of this type of film engrossed and entertained. Another classy production from a animation studio that is the top in its genre, just not to the standard that the others released have reached.