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</script></div>{/googleAds}Route 66. That iconic "Mother Road" of dusty legends and busted dreams - and the subject of many a road picture - gets the cinematic treatment again, but this time in Pixar's new animated feature, Cars. Director John Lasseter, who grew up around automobiles in his father's auto repair shop, took his family on an extended road trip, part of which found them traveling along historic Route 66 through the native Southwest. A major lesson learned by Lasseter on the trip was that the importance of life comes not from reaching a destination, but rather, from the delights of the journey and the experiences gained along the way. Upon his return, Lasseter knew he'd found the plot to the film he'd been working on.

Pixar Animation Studios is about so much more than just pretty animation. Their success has always come from the ability to mold rich characters from almost anything. Whether it's peculiar fish, pesky insects or even such inanimate objects as desk lamps and children's toys, Pixar's filmmakers realize it's the story behind the movement that creates the magic. And with Cars, they've truly created magic. Sure, the animation is eye-popping gorgeous and the characters are truly loveable, but the heartfelt storytelling is the star here.

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is a cocky red racecar on the cusp of becoming racing's youngest car ever to win the sport's most coveted prize, the Piston Cup. His brashness and self-absorption epitomizes the succeed-at-all-costs American lifestyle. However, while traveling to California for his next big race, Lightning finds himself astray in the sleepy little jerk-water town of Radiator Springs situated along dusty Route 66. He would quickly be on his way had he not raised the ire of the bristly town judge, Doc (Paul Newman) who won't let Lightning leave until he makes amends for tearing up the town's streets.

This is where the movie transforms from a fast-paced admirer of NASCAR and the subculture that goes with that, to a beautiful glossy postcard hawking the history of Route 66 and the charm of abandoned ghost towns. This also marks a point of transformation in Lightning's character. By the time he's had a chance to serve his penalty in Radiator Springs, he finds himself actually admiring the rich history of the area and the flamboyance and friendliness of the town's inhabitants. He's especially enamored with Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt), herself once a denizen of the dog-eat-dog lifestyle of the American workforce who eventually drove off to pursue a more meaningful life; and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), a loveable, huggable buck-toothed tow truck who quickly becomes one of the film's central characters.

As expected, the lessons learned while exiled in Radiator Springs come in handy once Lightning finally reaches California and runs his big race. Although a bit on the cutesy and slightly predictable side, the script is well-intentioned and very funny with a great assortment of the side characters we've come to anticipate from Pixar. We're treated to many clever quips and pop-culture references, most of which will zoom right over the heads of the kids. But then again, Cars isn't made for the kids.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen 2.39:1

Subtitles: English

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; exclusive new short movie.

* Featurettes -
o Short - Mater and the Ghostlight (07:00)
o Short - One Man Band - appeared before feature presentation in theaters.
o Video Epilogue - (04:00) plays over end credits
o Making of - Inspiration for Cars (16:00)
* Deleted Scenes - includes 4 scenes that didn't make the final cut.
* Easter Egg - Appears when main menu is played long enough.
* Preview Trailers - For next year's Ratatouille

Number of discs: - 1 disc set with Keepcase Packaging with a shiny, embossed slipcover, and promotional materials and a DVD guide listing the movie's 32 chapter stops.