Mater has been playing pranks on the residents of Radiator Springs, so they decide to get him back by playing a prank on him in “Mater and the Ghostlight.” In this short based on “Cars,” Sheriff decided to teach Mater a lesson about his pranks by telling Lightning McQueen and Mater the story of the “Ghostlight” to scare him. Then, Lightning and Guido use a blue light hooked to Mater’s tow cable to make Mater think he’s being chased by the Ghostlight, leading to a lot of chaos and destruction at the wheels and tow cable of Mater.
This is one of my favorite spin-off shorts from the “Cars” franchise. I love the idea of teaching the prankster a lesson. It’s been done by many other TV and film franchises. It’s nothing original, but I love it every time to varying degrees. My affinity for the “Cars” franchise probably plays a role in my liking of this short, but I love watching things connected to Radiator Springs. I love positive representations of the small cities and towns along Route 66 that help make up the United States and the “Cars” franchise has done a good job of that in most of its renditions.
Mater causes some issues within the “Cars” universe. Having him be the main character in “Cars 2” really didn’t work. His character is excellent in a supporting role, but he can’t anchor a feature film. However, in shorts like this, he’s an excellent main character. I like when Disney and Pixar give supporting characters starring roles in shorts. It’s easier for them to anchor. They are long enough for you to care about Mater’s arc without being so long that you stop caring. These shorts are perfect for characters like Mater or Dory, whose sequels left me underwhelmed.
Another nice part of this short is the appearance of Doc Hudson. It’s one of the last appearances for Paul Newman who voiced Doc. Newman passed away in 2008, two years after this short was made. It’s a nice little tribute to see him appear in this film, since he was unable to reprise the role in either of the “Cars” sequels.
Overall, this is an enjoyable short. It’s something that the kids will love and the adults can sit down and watch with them. There’s a lot of fun to be had without it being too long. It’s a nice addition to the Halloween collection on Disney+ with the pranks, scares and Ghostlight. I wouldn’t mind seeing this again. I wouldn’t mind seeing more shorts based on “Cars.” I would definitely recommend this for the Halloween or “Cars” fine in the family.
Ranking: 3.5 stars out of 5
What did you think of “Mater and the Ghostlight?”