A Lightning Strike
Rookie racer Lightning McQueen is certainly not short of confidence and as such he is sure he is going to win the Piston Cup despite having to beat The King and Chick Hicks in a one of race in California to do so. But on the way there Lightning McQueen ends up getting separated from his team and lost, ending up in the middle of nowhere town, Radiator Springs. But after damaging the road running through the town he finds himself having to stay there till he fixes up the place. Desperate to leave and get to California, Lightning McQueen finds himself not only making friends and finding love but discovers the beauty of this dying town which used to be popular until the new highway was built and suddenly no one came through anymore.
I have mentioned this before but for me a good animation is one which makes me forget that I am watching an animation and gets me invested in the characters. "Cars" is one of those animations which achieves this and when I finished watching it was one of just a handful of animations which I found myself looking forwards to watching the sequel to. Considering I am not always one for animations that is a lot of praise coming from me. The thing is that it is a combination of many things which makes this work in "Cars" oh there is the perfect choice of actors to voice the characters but then there is the skill of the artists to make these cars have these comical mannerisms and human characteristics and also the writers for making what these cars say fit their characters.
But "Cars" works not just because it makes you forget you are watching an animation through the characters but it is the creativity which fills the movie. That creativity ranges from tractor tipping instead of cow tipping to a background feature in the rocky mountains behind Radiator Springs looking like the front end of a vintage car. It is why "Cars" is also one of those animations you can watch more than once because the chances are there will be these creative details you might have missed the first time around.
There is something else which I also liked about "Cars" and that is it spoke to me on a social level as it has a message about how the town of Radiator Springs has struggled and is dying since the new highway, which bypasses it, was built. Coming from a market town in England I can see this happening here where small towns and independent shops are struggling thanks to new developments and roads which actually take people away from seeing what a town has to offer. On top of that "Cars" also highlights how everyone is always in a rush to get where they are going and no longer enjoy the journey there which is also very true.
What this all boils down to is that I don't mind admitting that I was pleasantly surprised by "Cars" and out of those I have watched from the 21st century it is one of my favourites with it offering something for everyone.