YMMV / Cars


  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Coming from the Jack of All Audience Alienating Premises itself, this is surprising.
    • Some people find the very concept of a world of cars just downright peculiar, and thus feel that it distracts from the story.
    • The sequel didn't do much better, creating a spy story almost jarringly contrary to the rather simple story in the original.
    • And then the trailer for the third movie came along and made everything Darker and Edgier, which confused people who weren't fond of the original movies and weirded out Cars fans. Fans were even less amused when it was revealed that Lightning's new rival, Jackson Storm, was basically a bundle of negative stereotypes about millennials (like being arrogant, entitled, and tech-obsessed).
  • Award Snub: Its competitors for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature were Happy Feet and Monster House, and Happy Feet won. That was considered fair at the time, but these days those other two films are nearly forgotten while people do still have fond memories of Cars. Of course, many people don't, so in most cases 2006 is just considered a weak year for animated films.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Mater. He's either the Breakout Character or The Scrappy. The general medium ground is that, while he was tolerable in small doses (the first films, "Mater and the Ghostlight" and "Mater's Tall Tales"), the focus on him in the sequel and spinoffs became annoying fast.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: When the paparazzi find Lightning in Radiator Springs and shine a spotlight on him, Mater yells "It's the ghost light!", and the movie makes no reference to this and no attempt to explain what he's talking about. Slightly played with in that this is actually a reference to a short that comes with the DVD, but if you're watching it in theaters or on TV this context is removed. Mater does mention the Ghostlight in the background of one scene earlier in the film, but you'd have to be a Route 66 buff to catch on.
  • Broken Base:
    • Cars is easily Pixar's most divisive film. While there are those who find it just as good as any other Pixar film, the people who dislike it consider it a dumb concept by Pixar's standards and consider it to be their now-second weakest film. There are also those who like it despite it not being Pixar's best. The fact that this was the first film released after Pixar merged with Disney (though produced before said merger) and John Lasetter became Disney Animation Head didn't help matters.
    • Many older fans see the franchise as something of a Dork Age for Pixar as a whole. In general, a lot of the disdain for the franchise stems from its perceived Creator's Favorite status—after all, the sequel was greenlit on the press tour of the first movie and making it the second Pixar franchise to get a full trilogy after Toy Story, and that's on top of Disney releasing a pair of theatrically-released spin-offs. All of this in spite of the consensus that the movies represent a low point for the company. That it's also a Merchandise-Driven property does not do anything to alleviate the situation, with many accusing the sequels of being made only as a cash-grab. The common sentiment among these older fans is that the movies simply aren't worthy of the embellishment that Pixar has placed upon them, and that the company's efforts would be better reserved for creating new movies that are up to the company's usual quality or creating sequels to more beloved films like Finding Nemo and The Incrediblesnote . That being said, the series does have its fans, especially among younger viewers who look at Cars as a Gateway Series for Pixar, and the third movie's trailer—with the Darker and Edgier tone and the stunning visual effects—has indicated that Pixar is taking the franchise as seriously as any other property they've put work into.
    • The minute the teaser trailer for the third movie was released, it became divisive. Some feel that the franchise might redeem itself by taking the Darker and Edgier route the third movie seems to be taking. Others think that either: a.) the Darker and Edgier premise is trying too hard to Win Back the Crowd after the widely hated previous movie; b.) the plot of the movie is still too much of a Cliché Storm; or c.) just that Cars doesn't deserve the third movie at all regardless of any merit it might have.
  • Cliché Storm: Cars is considered to be one of these. It's easy to imagine a little counter in the corner dinging kinda like CinemaSins whenever you see a Pixar cliché. Stranger in a community or group? Check. Brooding moment from a side character? Check. Wacky sidekick who forms a comedic duo with the main character? Check. Said group full of wacky members with their own quirks? Check. All of the development threatens to go downhill when something happens to separate or alienate the stranger? Check. They all decide they like this new stranger and want him back in the group? Check. The stranger decides that s/he really is a member of the group? Check.
  • Critical Dissonance:
    • While it received the weakest reviews of any Pixar film at the time, the audience response was much more positive. It also won the first Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature.
    • As adults can explain kids love Cars, but the older viewers were a little more lukewarm on it.
  • Genius Bonus: Francesco Bernoulli is named after the air-flow physics that is used by Formula One cars' characteristic wings to obtain downforce.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Connect Doc's "they quit on me" speech with the fact that this was one of Paul Newman's last major roles.
    • Also note a movie about cars when a major player in Disney and Pixar, Joe Ranft, had died in a car accident the year prior, a fate that claimed the life of Wolfgang "Woolie" Reithermann 20 years prior and nearly claimed former studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg's life 10 years later.
    • After Lightning discovers Doc's past as a famous race car before a crash, he's amazed and tells him about how they are Not So Different, to which Doc immediately denies. 10 years later, the Cars 3 teaser shows Lightning getting into a devastating crash similar to Doc's.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One of the supporting characters is a diminutive and lovable forklift named Guido... damn you Jersey Shore...
    • MAD did a spoof that mentioned (among other things) that they cut an appearance by the "Popemobile" at the last second. Well, guess what actually appears in the sequel...
    • Fillmore's claim that oil companies were running a conspiracy that prevented his organic fuel from being better publicized is this after the second film focused on an actual conspiracy regarding oil corporations.
  • Ho Yay: Fillmore and Sarge have lots of this. Despite their clashing personalities, the two are almost inseparable. The two are almost always next to each other, Sarge is even shown sleeping next to Fillmore in "Unidentified Flying Mater". Twice. Some of the toy packaging go as far as describing the duo as being "Unable to live without one another."
  • Love It or Hate It: See Broken Base.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Chick Hicks, the film's antagonist, was already bad due to his dirty racing tactics, but at the end when he purposely runs The King off the road — causing his crippling crash — and has no remorse for it, he unsurprisingly loses all his fans.
  • Narm: For some, the teaser for the third movie having a complete shift in tone to be Darker and Edgier loops around from being shocking to unintentionally hilarious.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • A deleted scene in the first movie shows a discarded scene which involved, while getting lost trying to find Mack, Lightning McQueen wandering through a car graveyard full of rusty and destroyed cars. The scene seems reminiscent of Snow White getting lost running from the wicked Queen and it's not hard to figure out why the scene wasn't in the final product.
    • Also the fact that they based King's crash off an actual crash Richard Petty was in at the Daytona 500 might count. Sure it's bad enough the cars are alive in this movie, but the fact that an actual person had to go through that... sure, he made it out okay, but still...!
    • "McQueen is fading, fading fast!"
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The Cars video game is considered to be a decent open world racing game.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Many consider the first movie okay, but a step down from usual Pixar quality. Cars 2, while it has its fans, was generally considered to be mediocre at best and a step down from its predecessor.
  • Tough Act to Follow: The first film followed The Incredibles, and the second film followed Toy Story 3. The third film had a relatively easier time following Finding Dory (which, while being considered a good movie, was not as well-received as its direct predecessor, The Incredibles, or Toy Story 3).
  • The Woobie: If you notice very hard in the "Our Town" sequence, Mater had a coat of sky blue in the flashback. When customers stopped coming to Radiator Springs and business closed and all the cars are looking at the empty road, the first car to leave in disbelief is Mater. Plus, he is the one who has physically changed the most - most of his paint has completely flaked off. And in the present, he's probably the most crazy of the bunch. Evidently, he took the by-pass the hardest.
  • Woolseyism: During the chase scene between McQueen and Sheriff, McQueen starts zigzaging because he thinks Sheriff is shooting at him (he's actually backfiring), to which Sheriff responds by calling him a crazy hot rodder. In the Spanish dub, he wonders if McQueen's a taxi cab, which is arguably funnier than the generic hot rodder line.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Cars