The Rookie Reviews:Cars

I woke up this past Saturday morning, mere hours before I was scheduled to take a dozen students to see "Cars," and immediately heard the guys on the morning show my radio lives on talking about how much their kids disliked it. "Can we go home now?" one host's daughter asked, twelve minutes into the picture. I debated sleeping all day and "forgetting" about my movie group.

Then the show started, and the picture redeemed itself. In the years that Pixar has been producing animated movies, they've consistently grown with their technology and talents. The technical side of the movie is amazing; not flawless, but impressive.

The story goes like this: Lightning McQueen, a rookie racecar with a big mouth and a bigger ego, has the chance to win the Piston Cup, if he wins one final tiebreaker race. On the way across the country to the race, he gets separated from his trailer and winds up in the tiny town of Radiator Springs. (There are, by the way, no people in this movie, only cars.) His arrival in town causes a lot of damage to the road, and Lightning is sentenced to repair it before he's allowed to leave town. Along the way he learns a secret about the town judge Doc's former career, makes some new friends (something he's not used to having, being a brash, abrasive type) and learns to appreciate the small town he lands in just as much as his fame and fortune.

Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman and Larry the Cable Guy anchor the movie. There are a few bit parts that could connect very well with an audience, but they aren't given enough screen time to make it happen. I was especially disappointed that Tom and Ray Magliozzi (the guys from Car Talk on NPR) who played Lightning's sponsors, aren't on more. (Also, that I was the only person who laughed when they did their practically patented "Don't drive like my brother!")

The Christian lens on this movie is about what a person's main goal in life is, and what happens when:
you get exactly that
you get that and then it's suddenly taken away
you nearly get it and then realize it's not what you wanted.

What do our goals and priorities do to our faith (in God, in people, in ourselves) and how does our faith form our priorities (or should form them)?

I had a mix of students from rising fifth graders through high school juniors, and I heard across the board that they enjoyed the movie. Some were even seeing it for a second time. As usual, there's humor for kids and humor for their parents in the picture, and the ending should (mildly) surprise you.

It's well worth the gas to go see "Cars" by yourself or with a youth group.

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