I have been a Pixar fan for quite some time. I remember being wowed by the Tin Toy short animation in the mid 1980's. In fact, Pixar's early work helped inspire me to get into 3D animation in the late 1980's. Toy Story and Toy Story 2 to me, represent the pinnacle of the art of combining great visuals with a great story. I thought A Bug's Life was pretty cute, but was a little too kid-oriented for my taste. The similarly-themed Antz from competing company Dreamworks, which came out that same year, was better in my opinion. I never bothered to see Monsters Inc. , Finding Nemo, or The Incredibles. I understand these are very entertaining movies. It's just that they seemed again, too kid-oriented, too focused on cute characters or on bratty kid characters. The beauty of the Toy Story movies is that they beautifully blended adult-oriented humor into simple stories that children would enjoy. While wild antics of Buzz Lightyear and Woody thrilled the kids, adults could enjoy the references, themes, and even the nostalgia of toys such as Mr. Potatohead and the army men.
Michelle and I saw Cars this past weekend. We truly enjoyed it. As always, the visuals alone were spectacularly done. As one who understands what it takes to create 3D imagery, I can truly appreciate the efforts and attention to the slightest detail in the movie. The story was very straightforward. It's about an individual who is too full of himself and his celebrity status. He learns some lessons in life and by the end, is a much more rounded individual. Of course the fact that all the characters are cars is what makes it fun. It is full of car and Route 66 references (The original title was going to be Route 66). The characters see gasoline as food, tires as shoes, and racing stripes as tattoos.
One thing I noticed though, is halfway through the film, the children in the audience (and there were many) were getting bored. I heard kids shouting across the theater to one another and a lot of general chatter among them. I could see why. All the car characters were adults. There was very little physical humor as most of the humor was in the dialogue. Most kids don't know or care what a carburetor or a gasket is, nor do they understand the "Route 66 culture" that prevails throughout the movie. There's a big racing scene at the end and I noticed the kids in the audience quieted down and regained their interest as the cars sped through the laps.
I highly recommend Cars. Just think twice about bringing young children to it. They aren't going to relate to it.