‘Cars on the Road’ is a spinoff animated series set in the ‘Cars’ universe from the Pixar movie series. Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy reprise their roles of Lightning McQueen, the racecar, and Mater, a rundown, rusted tow truck, respectively, from the movies. The episodes trace their adventures as they go on a cross-country road trip across the United States. Their destination is the wedding of Mater’s sister. But to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey, and the journey of watching these shorts is certainly worthwhile — even if you have only a passing acquaintance with the franchise.
The writing-producing team of Steve Purcell and Marc Sondheimer have crafted a fun and well-written series of shorts that explore themes like friendship and camaraderie. Some of the episodes riff on popular movies like ‘The Shining’ and ‘Mad Max’ in surprisingly creative ways.
The visuals of those movies are recreated in stunning detail. The animation style is always interesting and often amazing. The budget may be low, but the studio behind this production is still Pixar, and they never miss. The visuals are vivid and vibrant.
To me ‘Cars on the Road’ appeared to be an amuse-bouche for an inevitable fourth ‘Cars’ movie, but it turned out to be much more than that. A lot of craft has gone into this series of shorts. Even in the short runtimes of 9-10 minutes, the writing makes sure the episodes give a fulfilling experience. Every episode is self-contained and has a proper beginning and denouement. Granted, the series will not exactly satiate those looking for an actual ‘Cars’ sequel. But for everyone else, there is quite a bit of humour and action here, and loads of fun to be had.