Cars On The Road is an enjoyable little road-trip, armed with simple plot mechanics and some beautifully rendered animation. It’s not particularly intense or in-depth, and it’s certainly not going to ignite the animated world any time soon, but it’s fun watch all the same.
In many ways, Cars On The Road feels like a Cars universe version of Monsters at Work, or a natural extension to Tales from Radiator Springs. Much like Disney’s similar series, this one also has short episodes and an episodic structure, designed to flesh out Pixar’s world a little more.
Cars On The Road does have a serialized story but it takes a backseat and essentially works as a way of moving its characters from one episodic set piece to the next. Those characters happen to be Mater and Lightning McQueen, who hit the road as Mater’s sister has an upcoming wedding and they need to attend.
Along the way, Lightning and Mater find themselves caught up in various side-quest shenanigans, ranging from visiting the circus to learning more about prehistoric dino cars. There are bags of creativity thrown into this one and there’s also a lot of nods to popular movies of old too. There are references to The Shining, the early stop-motion Godzilla movies and even Mad Max. Picking out these references is pretty fun and gives adults a reason to watch along with their little ones.
Yes, Cars On The Road is pretty much designed specifically for kids and that’s absolutely fine. The episodes themselves are disappointingly short though, leaving very little wiggle room for compelling or in-depth storytelling. There are a couple of moral lessons along the way, including a particularly nice message about prolonged grudges, but these mostly play second fiddle to the action and drama.
Visually, Cars On The Road looks great and there’s a consistent effort to mix up the colours and visuals across every episode. One whole chapter is dedicated to a kaleidoscopic musical number, complete with neon lights and a catchy song, while the aforementioned Shining nods sees plenty of darkness and slick lighting in that chapter.
These elements are great and it’s bolstered by the voice acting of Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy, who both return to reprise their roles.
Cars On The Road is a fun, family treat but the short run-time of the episodes is disappointing and gives this far less mileage than one may expect. Still, kids and families should get a kick out of this one.
Cars On The Road drops on Disney Plus 8th September 2022
Verd - 7.5/10