I felt compelled to go with a comedy for this week's Vault Pick selection. It seemed like the most appropriate thing to do in an effort to bring some levity to what has otherwise been a bad news week. In fact, I almost feel as though choosing a horror pick last week may have very well brought a curse on myself. And maybe even the family? Okay...that's a little far-fetched. Still, in light of dealing with the passing of a true legend, I needed to highlight a light-hearted flick so "Cars" got the nod.
There were a couple of reasons I went with this particular movie. The first being that the sequel is due to hit theaters anytime soon. It was important to remember how good the original was in hopes that Pixar won't screw up the sophomore effort. The other being that I almost forgot "Cars" featured the voice of the late, great Paul Newman. It's a chance to showcase another legend as I remember the one closer to me that has now gone on.
Does anyone else recall "Doc Hollywood"? It was forgettable enough according to moneymaking standards, but it actually wasn't that bad of a movie. Apparently, someone else out there thought the same thing because it turns out "Cars" shares pretty much the same premise. They just translated it into a version that children of all ages could appreciate. It wouldn't have been a bad idea to have Michael J. Fox voice one of the characters though.
What was most outstanding about this movie was that it had amazing animation. Even by Pixar's standards. There were little details they accentuated to make it really stand out. Things like when you see the reflection of the neon lights off the moving cars. It looked more real than any other animation I had ever seen. Pixar was showing that they were getting better and better with each release. And they were already good to begin with.
You could tell there were a lot of inside jokes with NASCAR throughout the flick. Even folks who have never seen a NASCAR event (*raising my hand*) could easily spot them. If I were a fan of the "sport", I probably would have enjoyed that humor more. In spite of not being a fan, the jokes still played well and made this a legitimate crossover to adults and shorties.
As usual, Pixar finds the perfect fit for the voices to their characters. Owen Wilson gets a long overdue shot at a voice-over and proves the wait was worth it. Paul Newman's cool demeanor seeps through so much you can almost see him in Doc. And of course John Ratzenberger. In fact, the homage they pay to his voice-over abilities at the end is classic.
I have to admit that the trailers for "Cars 2" don't look all that impressive to me. Maybe I'm a little partial because Newman won't be in this one so I know that will detract from it. Or maybe I'm still a little jaded from that "Hangover 2" experience. Sequels haven't been fairing very well with me lately. So it's best to look back now to remember how great the original "Cars" was. Even if it was a bit of a retread, it was well worth the money.