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* AudienceAlienatingPremise: Coming from [[Creator/{{Pixar}} 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 DarkerAndEdgier, 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 (arrogant, entitled, and tech-obsessed).
* AwardSnub: Its competitors for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature were ''WesternAnimation/HappyFeet'' and ''WesternAnimation/MonsterHouse'', 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.
* BaseBreakingCharacter: Mater is either the BreakoutCharacter or TheScrappy. The general medium ground is that, while he's tolerable in small doses (the first and third films, "Mater and the Ghostlight" and "Mater's Tall Tales"), the focus on him in the sequel caused him to quickly overstay his welcome.
* BellisariosMaxim: One of the reasons people are turned off by the series is simply because the mere concept raises a ''loooot'' of questions (how can cars print newspapers if they don't have hands? What does the inside of a car consist of? How do cars reproduce? Yadda, yadda, yadda...). This is especially noticeable in the second movie, which goes all over the world but only "car-ifies" it with cheesy jokes rather than the more subdued internal logic of the first movie.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: 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.
* BrokenBase:
** ''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 [[WesternAnimation/Cars2 now-second]] weakest film. [[TakeAThirdOption 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 DorkAge for Creator/{{Pixar}} as a whole. In general, a lot of the disdain for the franchise stems from its perceived CreatorsFavorite 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 ''Franchise/ToyStory'', 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 MerchandiseDriven 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 ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles''[[note]]which did ultimately happen, albeit much later than most fans were expecting[[/note]]. That being said, the series does have its fans, especially among younger viewers who look at ''Cars'' as a GatewaySeries for Pixar, and the third movie's trailer--with the DarkerAndEdgier 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 [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4K7JgPJ8-s teaser trailer]] for the third movie was released, it became divisive. Some feel that the franchise might [[SurprisinglyImprovedSequel redeem itself]] by taking the DarkerAndEdgier route the third movie seems to be taking. Others think that either: a.) the DarkerAndEdgier premise is trying too hard to WinBackTheCrowd after the widely hated previous movie; b.) the plot of the movie is still too much of a ClicheStorm; or c.) just that ''Cars'' doesn't deserve the third movie at all regardless of any merit it might have.
* ClicheStorm: ''Cars'' is considered to be one of these. It's easy to imagine a little counter in the corner dinging kinda like WebVideo/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.
* CriticalDissonance:
** 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.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: The four tuner cars: DJ, Boost, Wingo and Snot Rod, who messed with Mack on the highway and inadvertently got [=McQueen=] lost in Radiator Springs are among the most [[OneSceneWonder memorable]] characters for their cool designs. As a result, they've returned in several of the games.
* GeniusBonus: Francesco Bernoulli is named after the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernoulli_effect air-flow physics]] that is used by UsefulNotes/FormulaOne cars' characteristic wings to obtain [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downforce downforce]].
* HarsherInHindsight:
** 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, Creator/JoeRanft, had died in a car accident the year prior, a fate that claimed the life of [[Creator/DisneysNineOldMen Wolfgang "Woolie" Reithermann]] 20 years prior and nearly claimed former studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg's life 10 years later.
** After Lightning discovers [[spoiler: Doc's past as a famous race car before a [[CareerEndingInjury crash]],]] he's amazed and tells him about how they are [[NotSoDifferent Not So Different]], to which Doc immediately denies. 10 years later, the WesternAnimation/Cars3 [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4K7JgPJ8-s teaser]] shows Lightning getting into a devastating crash similar to [[spoiler: Doc's]].
* HeartwarmingInHindsight: Doc claims that he never got a chance to show off what was left of him. Considering that the third film used dialog that Paul Newman himself previously recorded during production as John Lassester was keen on him remaining the voice of Doc, he ultimately did get to show a little more of him.
* HilariousInHindsight:
** One of the supporting characters is a diminutive and lovable forklift named ''Guido''... damn you Series/JerseyShore...
** Magazine/{{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.
* HoYay: [[NewAgeRetroHippie Fillmore]] and [[DrillSergeantNasty Sarge]] have lots of this. Despite their [[OddCouple 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 "[[WesternAnimation/PixarShorts Unidentified Flying Mater]]". ''Twice''. Some of the toy packaging go as far as describing the duo as being "Unable to live without one another."
* InformedWrongness: Much is made about Lightning's arrogance, but the other cars in Radiator Springs ''refused'' to hear his side of the story. Sally all but dismisses him while Doc treats him with complete contempt. While Lightning was a jerk, he was placed into an unwinnable situation. This is treated as justifiable because well, ''Lightning was a jerk.''
* MoralEventHorizon: Chick Hicks, the film's antagonist, was already bad due to his dirty racing tactics, but at the end when he [[spoiler:purposely runs The King off the road -- causing his crippling crash -- and has no remorse for it]], he unsurprisingly loses all his fans.
* MST3KMantra: As mentioned above, a world inhabited solely by vehicles lead to a lot of questions over how it functions like the real world does with regards to reproduction, consumption, ethnicity, etc. It's recommended (particularly by fans) not to think too hard about it.
* {{Narm}}: For some, the teaser for the third movie [[MoodWhiplash having a complete shift in tone to be]] DarkerAndEdgier loops around from being shocking to unintentionally hilarious.
* NightmareFuel:
** 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 [[Disney/SnowWhite 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...!''
** "[[WesternAnimation/Cars3 McQueen is fading, fading fast!]]"
** [[http://screencrush.com/where-do-pixar-cars-come-from/ The origin of the living cars in that universe, as confirmed by the creator of the franchise.]]
* NoProblemWithLicensedGames: The ''VideoGame/{{Cars}}'' video game is considered to be a decent open world racing game.
* OlderThanTheyThink: The cars all have their eyes on their windshields rather than on their headlights like how they're traditionally portrayed in media. This actually isn't anything new, as ''[[WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts Susie The Little Blue Coupe]]'' featured the exact same thing ''64 years'' before this movie. In fact, John Lasseter's decision to use this design is a ShoutOut to this very short.
* SoOkayItsAverage: The general consensus of the first film (and to an extent, the series as a whole): not awful, but nowhere near Pixar's expected level of quality. In fact, before ''Cars 2'' came along and took the title, Pixar fans loved to brag that [[TropesAreNotBad even their worst movie was still]] ''[[TropesAreNotBad good]]''.
* ToughActToFollow: The first film followed ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'', and the second film followed ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3''. The third film had a relatively easier time following ''WesternAnimation/FindingDory'' (which, while being considered a good movie, was not as well-received as [[WesternAnimation/FindingNemo its direct predecessor]], ''The Incredibles'', or ''Toy Story 3'').
* TheWoobie: 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.
* WinBackTheCrowd: ''Cars 3'' is considered by many to be an [[SurprisinglyImprovedSequel improvement]] over both films in terms of writing, characterization, and subject matter.
* {{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.
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