Cars is a 2006 American computer-animated comedy-adventure sports film produced by Pixar Animation Studios, and directed and co-written by John Lasseter and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is Pixar's final, independently-produced motion picture before its purchase by Disney. Set in a world populated entirely by anthropomorphic cars and other vehicles, it features voices by Paul Newman (in his final non-documentary feature), Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Michael Wallis,George Carlin, Paul Dooley, Jenifer Lewis, Guido Quaroni, Michael Keaton, Katherine Helmond, and John Ratzenberger as well as voice cameos by several celebrities includingJeremy Piven, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Bob Costas, Darrell Waltrip, Jay Leno, Michael Schumacher, Tom and Ray Magliozzi from NPR's Car Talk, andMario Andretti. The film is also the second Pixar film—after A Bug's Life—to have an entirely non-human cast. The film was accompanied by the short One Man Band for its theatrical and home media releases.
Cars premiered on May 26, 2006 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, and was released on June 9, 2006, to positive reviews. It was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film. It was released on DVD November 7, 2006 and on Blu-ray Disc in late 2007. Related merchandise, including scale models of several of the cars, broke records for retail sales of merchandise based on a Disney·Pixar film, bringing an estimated $10 billion in 5 years since the film's release. The film was dedicated to Joe Ranft, who was killed in a car accident during the film's production.
A sequel, Cars 2, was released on June 24, 2011, and a spin-off, Planes, produced by DisneyToon Studios, was released on August 9, 2013. A series of short animated films, named Cars Toons, has been airing since 2008.
Cars takes place in a world populated by anthropomorphic transportation. The film begins with the last race of the Piston Cup championship, which ends in a three-way tie between retiring veteran Strip "The King" Weathers, infamous runner-up Chick Hicks, and rookie Lightning McQueen. The tiebreaker race is scheduled for one week later at the fictional Los Angeles International Speedway in California. Lightning is desperate to win the race, since it would allow him to leave the unglamorous sponsorship of Rust-Eze, a rust treatment for old cars, and allow him to take The King's place as the sponsored car of the lucrative Dinoco team. Eager to start practice in California as soon as possible, Lightning pushes his big rig, Mack, to travel all night long. While McQueen is sleeping, the exhausted Mack drifts off and is startled by a gang of reckless street racers, causing McQueen to fall out the back of the truck into the road. McQueen wakes in the middle of traffic, and speeds off the highway to find Mack, ending up in the run-down town of Radiator Springs and inadvertently ruining the pavement of its main road.
After being arrested and impounded overnight, guarded by a rusty but friendly tow truck named Mater, McQueen is ordered by the town's judge and doctor, Doc Hudson, to leave town immediately. The local lawyer, Sally Carrera, insists that McQueen be given community service to repave the road, to which Doc begrudingly agrees. McQueen tries to repave it in a single day, but it turns out to be shoddy and McQueen is ordered to repave the road again, which takes several days to complete. During this time, he becomes friends with several of the cars, and learns that Radiator Springs used to be a popular stopover along U.S. Route 66, but with the construction of Interstate 40 bypassing the town, it literally vanished from the map. McQueen also discovers that Doc is really the "Fabulous Hudson Hornet", a three-time Piston Cup winner who was forced out of racing after an accident and quickly forgotten by the sport. McQueen finishes the road, which has invigorated the cars to improve their town, and spends an extra day in town with his new friends, before Mack and the media descend on the town, led by a tip to McQueen's location. McQueen reluctantly leaves with the media to get to California in time for the race, while Sally chastises Doc after discovering that he had tipped off the media to McQueen's whereabouts, not wanting to be discovered himself instead.
At the speedway, McQueen's mind is not fully set on the race, and he soon falls into last place. He is surprised to discover that Doc Hudson, decked out in his old racing colors, has taken over as his crew chief, along with several other friends from Radiator Springs to help in the pit. Inspired and recalling tricks he learned from Doc and his friends, McQueen quickly emerges to lead the race into the final laps. Hicks, refusing to lose, sends Weathers into a dangerous accident. Seeing this and recalling Doc's fate, McQueen stops just short of the finish line, allowing Hicks to win, and drives back to push Weathers over the finish line. The crowd and media condemn Hicks' victory and give praise to McQueen's sportsmanship. Though offered the Dinoco sponsorship deal, McQueen declines, insisting on staying with his current sponsors as an appreciation of their past support. Later, back at Radiator Springs, McQueen returns and announces that he will be setting up his headquarters there, helping to put Radiator Springs back on the map.
Classic Cars Seen
- Hudson Hornet
- International Harvester tow truck
- Willys MB
- Mercury Eight
- Volkswagen hippie Bus
- Ford Model T
- 1957 GM Motorama show car
- Fiat 500
- 1959 Chevrolet Impala low rider
- Late 1980s GM stock car
- Plymouth Superbird
- 1975 Cadillac Coupe DeVille
- 1974 Chrysler Town & Country
- 1960 closed-cab pumper truck
- Stanley Steamer
- Volkswagen Beetles
- 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo