YMMV: Cars

  • Base Breaker: 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's Tall Tales"), his being the lead in the sequel is what ruined it.
  • 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.
  • Broken Base: Cars is easily Pixar's most divisive film. Those who like it find it just as good as any other Pixar film, those who dislike it consider it a dumb concept and Pixar's weakest film. There are also those who like it despite it not being Pixar's best. Cars 2, while it has it's fans, was generally considered to be mediocre at best.
  • 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.
  • Clueless Aesop: The first film half-assedly attempts to shoehorn in a Green Aesop toward the end, talking about how the old Route 66 "followed the land," as opposed to the new Interstate system which cuts through it. This in a film starring anthropomorphic avatars of one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels on the planet.
    • Following the land had more to do with the "slowing down" moral than anything environmental: when cars followed the natural highway, they were less inclined to get places in a hurry as they are with the freeway.
  • Critical Dissonance: The first film received the weakest reviews of any Pixar film at the time, yet audience response was much more positive.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Those potshots taken at the first film for being unoriginal now officially fall into Dude, Not Funny! territory.
  • 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.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One of the supporting characters is a diminutive and lovable forklift named Guido... damn you Jersey Shore...
    • Back when the first movie was released, 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...
  • 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."
  • Jerkass Woobie: The Lemons themselves from the sequel. They might have done many wrong things, but it is hard not to feel sorry for them when they were made outcasts by the others.
  • 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.
  • 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...!
  • So Okay, It's Average: Many consider the first movie okay, but a step down from usual Pixar quality.
  • Parvum Opus: At the time of it's release, this was actually considered both a good and bad thing. While it was a significant step down from Pixar's usual bar of quality, it was by no means a god-awful movie, which said of the studio that even when they were bad, they were good. Cars 2, however, has since taken this spot and shattered that notion.
  • Tough Act to Follow: The first film was coming right after The Incredibles.
  • 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.