Not as annoying as I was expecting
The critics have been very unkind to Cars. Previous Pixar movies (Monsters, Toy Story, The Incredibles) have been lauded as great almost before they hit the screen. Not so Cars, the build up was muted, and the reception somewhat ambivalent. I can kind of see where the critics were coming from. The idea of a world run for and by cars is a little hard to swallow. Somehow hairy monsters living in a parallel universe powered by scared children seems a lot more credible. However, if you work a bit harder on suspending your disbelief belief you will find a lot to like about the movie.
For a start there is the look of the film. Pixar can do pictures. They can really do pictures. The images of the cars are wonderful, and Pixar pull off traditionally hard things like water, trees, gravel, smoke etc etc with almost contemptuous ease. Only mud seems to give them a problem, and it is still around the best looking mud you will see in a computer drawn movie. It is worth seeing just for the scenery. Whether you believe in the cars or not the way they look is just incredible.
The story is a completely hack effort, no twists, no turns, you can just about set your watch by the progression of the hero as he/it becomes a more human car. There is some great imagination at work though, and some lovely visual gags. I'm sure if I watch it ten more times I'll find ten more great things that I missed each time.
I think at this point I should come clean and say that I've never liked Owen Wilson. He always seems to me like a big heavy weight that pulls down any picture he is in . However, in Cars he does a workmanlike job as the voice of the red racer with a lot to learn about life, and his surrounding voices are all well realised.
If you don't go to see this film because of the mediocre reviews then you will lose out. There are some bits which are so funny you will be laughing out loud (I was, and I certainly didn't expect to be doing that) There are also some tear jerky moments and a solid gold happy ending which I think we could all do with around now. Recommended.