Reviews: Cars

How did I ever like this movie as a kid?

Man, some things in life really start to look like shit when you get older. The first "Cars" film surely does.

As a kid, I naturally found this movie enjoyable. I wasn't too big on vehicles back then, but I did enjoy racing games and I felt the movie had a vibrant, colourful look. But I was a kid. As kids, we are often too stupid to notice how crappy certain things we grow up with are. And I remember gradually liking this film less and less as I grew up, to the point where I couldn't get past the first 15 minutes without getting bored. I also started questioning why I ever liked it in the first place, eventually leaving it in my DVD cabinet and not watching it for at least five years (and, of course, I skipped the totally unnecessary Cars 2).

For some foolish reason though, I contemplated the possibility that perhaps I had been too hard on the movie during puberty, and that I'd like it a bit more as an adult. So, I found the DVD, popped it in my laptop, sat back as the film came on, and... sigh.

I'm just going to say it. Cars is a terrible movie. The whole thing is so awkward and mundane, not to mention stupid. It's a film about living cars with goofy faces. In fact, re-watching it made me finally realise something: The movie is merely a love letter from John Lasseter to himself. It's little more than a brainless vehicular orgasm, concocted because the director's car fetish blinded him to the fact that the many car-related puns and shenanigans throughout the movie are utterly lame. It's overstuffed with so many obnoxious, cartoony antics that it was dated from the get-go. I was always aware of Lasseter's passion for automobiles, but I now understand just how tepid and unlikable this movie is.

The sad thing though about Cars is this: it's actually got a few good, and wasted, highlights. The animation is always highly detailed and visually interesting, there's some rather solid voice acting in it, it has a few decent messages, and the ending is appropriately happy. However, the film's major flaws - the feeble, monotonous plot, the disposable characters, the many superfluous scenes, the twangy country music soundtrack, etc. - totally ruin it. As a movie for toddler boys, it's workable, but I can't see how anyone who liked this particular movie as a kid can still like it as an adult. It's a movie to grow out of, that's for sure.