Directed and written by John Lasseter, Cars was the last movie Pixar released before Disney bought the company in 2006. Released on June 9th, 2006, Cars follows a new race car, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson). After tying the last Piston Cup race with Strip Weathers (Richard Petty) and Chick Hicks (Michael Keaton). The new race is scheduled for the following week in California. An eager McQueen pushes his transporter, Mack (John Ratzenberger), to get there as fast as possible. While McQueen is asleep in the transporter, Mack starts to drift off having driven all day and into the night. A bunch of reckless drifters scares Mack awake but it’s too late. McQueen has fallen out and is awoken by the honking and cars flying by. In a rush, McQueen tries to catch up, thinking he got off the interstate. McQueen ends up in the small town of Radiator Springs, which he destroyed. Having been arrested by the Sheriff (Michael Wallis) and impounded, the following morning his court-appointed lawyer, Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt), asks the judge Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), to repave the road as community service.
The first time repaving, Lightening McQueen tried to rush and ended up making things worse. Doc and Sally demand he redoes the job. While attempting the second time to repave and fix the road, McQueen befriends the residents of Radiator Springs. He learns how this small town used to be a popular spot along Route 66 about fourth years ago until major highways bypassed them. He also discovers that Doc was once known as “The Fabulous Hudson Hornet,” a three-time Piston cup champion until 1954 when a crash ended his career. Energized by his new friends, McQueen planned on staying an extra day until Mack and the media find him. McQueen reluctantly leaves for his race out in California.
Meanwhile, Sally learns that it was Doc who tipped off the media to avoid his secret being revealed. During the race, McQueen is distracted by the thoughts of his new friends until his new chief Doc comes on over the radio to snap him out of it. In the last lap, McQueen takes the lead until he sees a dangerous crash causing the King to lose control. Remember the story of Doc’s crash, McQueen stops just short of the finish line, allowing Chick to win. McQueen goes to the King and pushes him across the line. Despite Chick’s win, everyone is impressed but McQueen’s sportsmanship, offering him the Dinoco sponsorship. McQueen declines, telling everyone that his loyalty lies with Rust-eze, thanking them for his start in racing.
Lightning McQueen returns to Radiator Springs reuniting with his crush Sally and best friend Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). He lets the residents know that they will be back on the map because his new headquarters will be there.
While it isn’t my personal favorite, it was my kiddos first favorite. He loved Mater so much that his first birthday cake was Mater, but of course most kids love cars so there is that. Honestly the race cars are stuck up. All of Radiator Springs and the cars that live in them make the movie tolerable as an adult. However I do want to give a quick fun fact, which is that the Fabulous Hudson Hornet was a real race car in the 1950s, as pictured below. I took my kiddo to see it a few years ago in person when we had the hook up on this awesome car storage place, talk about history.
Be sure to set the dat of May 17th to grab your copy of The Disney Pixar Connection, as featured below.