Movie Review: ‘Cars 3’

Director: Brian Fee

Cast: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Nathan Fillion, Chris Cooper, Armie Hammer, Bonnie Hunt, Daniel Whitney

Plot: Racing veteran Lightning McQueen finds himself outclassed by the new generation of cars. Unwilling to be forced into retirement he takes an unorthodox approach to training. Oh, and everyone is a sentient 3

Review: The Cars franchise is something of a black sheep in the Pixar family. It’s not universally adored like Toy Story, nor does it tug the heartstrings like Up. It’s popular enough to draw in an audience and it’s merchandising makes the company millions so it would be a poor business move not to round out the series with a potential final chapter.

Actually this could read as a direct sequel to Cars. None of the new characters from Cars 2 makes an appearance, nor are they or the events of the second film referenced in any way. Mater (Whitney), who took centre stage in the strange sequel, has been sidelined to cameo status. The focus is back on Lightning McQueen (Wilson), who is being upstaged by newcomer Jackson Storm (Hammer). This brash youth makes McQueen doubt himself, leading to a potentially career ending crash. Everyone thinks McQueen is done, even his new investor Sterling (Fillion) and training Cruz (Alonzo).

Cars 3

The movie starts with a heck of a set-up. The crash of McQueen did leave a hush over the audience. The finale is equally exciting and very well cut together, and held the young viewers pinned to the screen. The intervening time is…less interesting. McQueen goes back and forth with his mid-life crisis with the scenery occasionally changing. There’s a couple of fun sequences including a demolition derby and a nighttime forest race. The turning point, meeting Doc Hudson’s (Paul Newman) former colleagues and getting racing tips, comes very late in the piece and is ultimately only tangentially related to the finale. We expected more time given to Storm to flesh him out as a character, but it’s just a generic bully with no motivation.

As expected Pixar and Disney are pushing the boundaries of animation. The way the light gleams off the character’s is absolutely stunning, and the race sequences convey a sense of speed and energy you’ve never seen in animation before. Water, dirt and mud effects have a great texture, so it’s a treat to watch.

cars 3 scenery

Whilst the young kids ultimately enjoyed the film they were certainly a bit fidgety through the 2nd act. The tale of a racer fighting to stay out of retirement didn’t seem to connect with them for some reason. Perhaps this will best appeal to older children and teenagers who grew up with McQueen and will be more invested in how his story ends.

It’s certainly not a bad film by any stretch, and it’s a satisfying conclusion to the character’s story, but you don’t need to race out and see it.

I would’ve thrown in an extra star for Finn McMissle though. I don’t care what people say about Cars 2, he was awesome.

Rating: SIX out of TEN