(2006)3.5Perry SeibertAfter a solid opening sequence that establishes the selfish nature of race car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), Cars takes what feels like an inordinate amount of time to strand him in the deserted town where he can learn lessons about selflessness. Once there, the situation and the dynamics of the characters are overly familiar from any number of films, from An Officer and a Gentleman to Mr. 3000. This is a surprising problem coming from Pixar, a studio responsible for beautiful scripts like Finding Nemo and Toy Story 2. Thankfully, the artistry of the Pixar animators has not diminished whatsoever. The reflections and shadows of the cars, the quality of the air in a Western town, and the details of Lightning's makeover from race car to '50s cruising machine offer just some of the visual splendors that are abundant throughout the movie. The problem is that with every other Pixar film the beautiful attention to detail usually does not register in full on the first viewing because the characters are so emotionally engaging. Because Cars fails to fully grab one's heart, it is easier to admire the scenery. This film certainly supplies a fine moviegoing experience, but it does feel like a disappointment considering what has come before. Pixar usually puts out breathtaking Porsches, but Cars is a dependable Honda.