We gave it an A
When it comes to unlikely anthropomorphization, Pixar isn’t afraid to raise the bar. You’ll believe a bug can cry? That marine life can be hot-blooded? Check. Trailers for Cars suggested that, in making motor vehicles emotive vehicles, the studio might have met its match, but Pixar’s flair for talking barracudas stretches to include Plymouth Barracudas. In a featurette, director John Lasseter insists this $244 million grosser is ”personal” filmmaking, and you buy that. While the realistic racetrack scenes are targeted at the huge cult of NASCAR disciples, the midsection is pitched at a relatively minuscule religious order: the mere tens of thousands of us who make pilgrimages to Route 66 each year, remembering a time when Americans drove ”to have a great time,” not ”make great time,” as the script’s cornball Zen has it. Alas, we’ll have to wait for a more deluxe edition for a commentary that catalogs the architectural in-jokes (hey, there’s the Lautner Chemosphere house!) or even gives directions (to, say, the Route 66 ”wigwam” motels on which Cars‘ traffic-cone motor inn is modeled). For now, you get pencil-test outtakes, two shorts, and a wish-fulfillment epilogue in which everything mid-century is new again.