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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
In a world populated solely by automobiles, cocky rookie racecar Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is nobody's love bug. He doesn't give his hardworking crew any credit, and he is looking to upgrade from his loyal but decidedly less upscale sponsor for something flashier. After qualifying for the Piston Cup championship against reigning champion the King (NASCAR legend Richard Petty) and upstart Chick Hicks (Michael Keaton), the self-absorbed McQueen is abandoned by his unappreciated crew. En route to California for the big race, fate throws McQueen a detour. He is left stranded in Radiator Springs, a southwest desert town along Route 66 that time forgot when the interstate opened up. Here, McQueen will get an attitude change as he bonds with the town's colorful residents, including Sally (Bonnie Hunt), a Porsche who left the fast lane, and Doc (Paul Newman), a Hudson Hornet with a secret checkered flag in his past. Pixar is enjoying an artistic run that rivals Disney's first generation of animated classics, and Cars continues its winning track record. Pixar co-founder John Lasseter is behind the wheel for the first time since Toy Story 2. The visuals, particularly the desert landscapes, are breathtaking, and the amusing characters will no doubt grace future spin-offs. They include the affable Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), a tow truck with a mischievous penchant for tractor-tipping; the spaced-out Filmore (George Carlin), a '60s-era VW bus who blasts Hendrix; Ferrari aficionado Luigi (Tony Shalhoub), proprietor of the "Home of the Leaning Tower of Tires"; and low rider Ramone (Cheech Marin), who performs paint jobs. At nearly two hours, Cars is deliberately paced, but captivated viewers won't be impatient enough to ask, "Are we there yet?" A winning formula of humor and heart helps keep Cars from running out of gas. A flashback of bustling life in Radiator Springs in its Route 66 heyday is as moving as "When Somebody Loved Me" from Toy Story 2. This DVD is not as tricked out as past Pixar titles, but it gets some extra mileage with several high-octane extras, including the delightful Oscar-nominated theatrical short, "One Man Band," an amusing new Pixar cartoon, "Mater and the Ghostlight," deleted scenes, and a featurette about Lasseter's lifelong fascination with cars.

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