Saturday, November 27, 2010

Watch the Movie CARS over the Holidays!

How the Movie "Cars" is about Preservation and Restoration

by Wood Window on Friday, November 26, 2010 at 9:01pm
Sometimes inspiration comes when you aren't looking.

My Mom and Grandmother were here from Texas for Thanksgiving Day and once the festivities ended we put on a movie - The Disney/Pixar now classic Cars. My mom had never seen it, my boys love it and I just think it contains a great message.    So this time as I watched it for probably the 100th time - I saw something new.

If you've seen it you know the theme.  A hot shot race car named Lightning McQueen gets lost on his way to the other side of the country and finds new friends that change his perspective and give him a new take on life - a better take. He starts off self absorbed but discovers that relationships mean more than winning a race.

Another theme though is the restoration and preservation of what is lost through progress.

Lightning finds his way to an almost forgotten and disappearing town called Radiator Springs.  There are signs everywhere that once upon a time the town was full of life.  Vacant buildings where businesses once thrived appear weathered and beaten down - mere skeletons of the life that was once there.

Cut to a scene late in the movie, a friend, Sally, shows lightning what happened to the town.  She takes him to a bluff that over looks the valley where the town sits and shows him the old Route 66 rolling and turning with the land and then then interstate cutting straight through the hills bypassing the old highway.  Sally explains that life before the interstate was much different - that cars drove for the experience, not to make better time.  Using pictures and music, the movie shows the way life used to thrive in Radiator Springs and how the town believed the new interstate going through would bring in even more people to the town.  But the town was wrong.  The progress of interstate left Radiator Springs behind.  Dried up, desolate and alone, all that remained of the town were a few good friends and old memories - until Lightning showed up.

The highlight of the movie is close to the end when Lightning has a change of heart and helps restore the way of life as it once was for the entire town.  He restores the main strip and gives everyone the opportunity to see their town again as it once was.  It's one of the most enjoyable scenes in the whole movie.  

Cars communicates very well the idea that most of us know that something bigger is missing and we all long for something more than just progress.  I think we all want progress, but at the same time we don't want to lose that deep sense of connection that we have with one another and our past.  Sometimes when an interstate cuts through to make life easier and faster, we don't see what we are trading until its too late.  Sometimes what we trade is bigger and more important that what we seek to gain.

In my line of work, windows - but more importantly, craftsmanship - there is a lot that's being traded in the name of progress.  I am hanging on to all I can, not to the past, but to the way things were done in the past when people poured themselves into the buildings they built as well as the people around them. Cars reminded me of that.  I think the movie will do the same for you.  I recommend watching it with a mindset of restoration and preserving not just the architecture of the past, but the presence and soul of what made it so great to begin with.

I found this article on the Notes page of one of my friends on Facebook, the Wood Window Makeover folks.  Their website is  We hope you enjoyed it.

1 comment: