Wow, what a great movie! It’s the best movie of the year so far. How does Pixar do it? I wasn’t sure going in if I was going to like this — I’m not a racing fan and don’t know much about cars and the story, about a hot shot racing car that gets stranded in the middle of nowhere didn’t sound particularly unique or exciting (think Doc Hollywood for the same plot with a human) — but to my surprise, Pixar turned a simple story into magic. The “car world” of the story (there are no people, only talking cars) is wonderfully complete with absolutely fantastic detail. Everything’s a car pun, many of them quite subtle and clever, from business names to idioms, with the result that the world feels real. Even better, Pixar’s animation quality is unsurpassed, with their “Route 66” town and desert graphics rivaling photographs for detail. Some of the highway scenes were truly astonishing. But Pixar never lets the graphics overshadow their characters — the story always come first, as the pictures support the story. Here again Pixar takes the simple — an arrogant race car who learns his place — and doesn’t trivialize it with easy solutions. The ending is surprisingly emotional and fulfilling. The film is fun, clever, and filled with all the right touches of emotion and humor. And stay tuned for the closing credits, which are hilarious (the cars go to the drive-in and watch clips of previous Pixar releases with cars as the stars). P.S. the opening short — a Pixar tradition — is worth the price of admission alone.