Cars 3 is a 3D computer-animated sports comedy-drama directed by Brian Fee. After enjoying years of glory, top racer Lightning McQueen (Owen) begins to be challenged by an influx of a new racers. Aided by his new trainer, Cruz Ramirez (Alonzo), McQueen is forced to refocus his efforts to keep up with this new generation. Lightning McQueen has two options: comeback better than ever or be forced into retirement.
This being the third Cars film in the franchise it had a nice idea to return to racing on the track. Cars 2 felt forced to change the formula of a racing movie into a Fast and Furious type of spy thriller. While it scaled the film back, Cars 3 is still far away from being a great movie. It lacks the charm, comedy and narrative of the first film. The story isn’t written well and especially considering this is a Pixar movie, the standards should have been set higher. This film just comes off as bland and at times confusing.
The voice acting was standard. Cristela Alonzo did great as a new character and was a standout. If the film had been better written, the rest of the cast could have done a better job. Instead it lacks cohesion and the film is wasted on scenes that don’t make sense to the changing plot. From the start it shouldn’t have been a film about McQueen holding on for one last shot and instead, focus of teamwork and mentoring. They wasted the first half of the film only for it to become a completely different movie in the second half. It sets up for pointless scenes with characters that don’t contribute to the story.
The animation is great and the background art even more amazing. That said, I’ve never found the Cars series appealing as it just seems jarring to me. The themes are a too adult for the character designs of the cars. They always have been the weaker of the Pixar films and I believe that’s the reason. The music wasn’t all that great, but it fit the tone of the film. Most of tone was just too serious and it needed to have the comedy keep it from being too dark. It failed, the jokes were the worst part of the film.
Cars 2 didn’t perform well 6 years ago when it released. So, I scratch my head when Cars 3 is released as a fairly standard movie that felt like it was made for non-theatrical release. It has some good moments that tie up some older characters almost as if making up for Cars 2. Instead you’re left with a complicated narrative that constantly changes and creates a cliché riddled unoriginal movie. Cars 3 looks great, but isn’t exciting or fun to watch. There are better animated films to watch, than movies that appear to be cash grabs.
MPAA Rating: G
Running time: 1 hr 42 min
Director: Brian Fee
Screenplay: Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson and Mike Rich
Cast: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Armie Hammer, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Nathan Fillion, Lea DeLaria and Kerry Washington
Producers: Kevin Reher
Music: Randy Newman
Cinematography: Jeremy Lasky and Kim White
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios