Anyway, I'm not sure what I expected of Cars ... it certainly was a long time coming (they had early previews out for it over a year ago) ... as The Wife said "it took some time to get into it", from her perspective that was due to the racing parts up front, from my perspective it was "suspension of disbelief" or something ... there was a "JayJay the JetPlane" thing about this, but taken beyond the anthropomorphised machines into a world where the "people" (heck, even the insects) were cars. On The Wife's point, I wonder how this plays with "the NASCAR set"? Both of us would rather watch paint dry (or maybe even soccer) than watch auto racing, so the "core element" of the story structure sort of left us shrugging.
The film was, however, a remarkable bit of animation ... especialy in terms of the extremely detailed and "moving with perspective" backgrounds. In one race course shot I was particularly struck at how detailed and realistic the cars, track, ad wall, crowd, and even Jumbotron in the far background were rendered ... making me think of just how much computing "oomph" it took to make all that happen! There was one scene out in the desert where I was wondering "why it looked like that" (the desert scenery was a bit "shiny" as though they'd over-emphasised lighting over texture, making it look a bit "plastic"), but, in context, I guess that's a minor gripe.
Most of the "fun" of the movie was in the "big name voices" for most of the side characters, with the likes of Cheech Marin and George Carlin doing "type" roles, and Paul Newman "stealing the show" with his role as a retired champion race car. Neither Owen Wilson nor Bonnie Hunt brought much "identity" to their (lead) roles, but that's OK, yet I was suprised to see (on the IMDB listings) that Michael Keaton was voicing the "villian" car, as there wasn't much of "him" in the character ... while Bob Costas and Jay Leno pretty much just played "car versions" of themselves. I guess "race fans" would recognize a lot more folks, as the cast list seems to have a ton of drivers and comentators involved, most of whom I could ride in an elevator with and be totally clueless to their identity. Comedian "Larry the Cable Guy" does, however, pretty much anchor the movie, which is probably great for his career, but says something about the writing.
All in all, Cars was a fun movie, but one that was sort of hard to get in synch with. Again, I don't know if it "was a NASCAR thing" that I just "didn't understand" or if it was that "Jay Jay (minus humans) thing" that was the problem, because other than a vague sense of not connecting, I couldn't find anything to specifically dislike in it. I'd certainly watch it again, which is not something that I'd say about a lot of the movies we go to with the kids!