As I’m continuing my journey of watching every nominated Best Picture film for the upcoming 2023 Oscars, I like to take a break between each heavy film by watching something lighthearted and fun. My easy go-to (unsurprisingly) is usually a Disney or Pixar animated film – nothing breaks the heavy tension of a serious film like an adorably animated children’s film. And for some reason or another, I stumbled across Cars (2006) on Disney+ and decided to give this Pixar classic a rewatch. It’s been years since I last watched this film and while I remember it being good, it was never one of my favourites. Starring the perfectly casted Owen Wilson voicing the famous Lightning McQueen, I can’t deny that I definitely appreciated Cars more now than I did back then.

Lightning McQueen racing Chick Hicks

I remember the first time when I watched Cars, I was probably in the fifth grade and watched it in the school gymnasium alongside the rest of my elementary school. At the time, I recall the movie felt awfully long to me and it kind of lost me at the halfway point. Now that it’s been so long and I’ve forgotten most of the major plot points of the film, rewatching it was almost like viewing it fresh for the first time.

Of course with this film coming out back in 2006, the animation at times can look a little bit janky and rough around the edges compared to how stunning animations from Pixar are now. But all in all, I think it still looks solid and holds up well after all these years. I loved the look of the film’s design and how inventive they were with creating the faces of all the cars – I personally love how funny the mustaches look. They managed to reflect each character’s personality simply in the look of the car’s design and I think that added a lot of value to the film. I also appreciated how creative they got with deciding how the cars would move and interact with objects and one another (turns out you can do a lot without hands and just wheels).

Lightning McQueen and Sally going on a drive

As far as the plot goes for Cars, I found it to be very entertaining and well written upon my rewatch. There were definitely a lot of jokes that went over my head as a kid, but I could appreciate them now. The story is rather generic and simple but there’s a lot of heart and good intention behind the moral of the story. Wilson voices McQueen to be the perfect “jerk turned hero” and there’s certainly a lot of iconic one-liners that he’s become known for thanks to Cars.

But what makes the film for me are it’s line of endearing characters at Radiator Springs. Mater of course (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy) is lovable thanks to his idiotic, innocent nature, Guido and Luigi (voiced by Guido Quaroni and Tony Shalhoub) are a hilariously solid duo, Sally (voiced by Bonnie Hunt) is the sweet and compassionate love interest, and Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) is the strict but caring father figure. Together, this band of cars gives the film a lot of character and personality which makes Cars an enjoyable watch for all.

Doc Hudson and the Radiator Springs gang congratulating Lightning McQueen after the final race

Honestly, you can never go wrong with Pixar and even after 17 years, Cars is a perfect example of that. While this movie never stuck with me much after my first watch, I had a great time rewatching it and found myself laughing at the jokes and rooting for the lead. It’s the perfect kind of film to watch with your family or enjoy on your own because it’s just a good story overall. And hey, there’s absolutely no shame in loving and watching children’s films by yourself. I’ve decided to give Cars a 7/10. If you’ve yet to see this Pixar classic, it’s worth giving this one a try.