Title: Cars 3
Studio: Pixar Animations
Director: Brian Fee
Main Actors: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper
Run Time: 109 minutes
I wasn’t expecting Cars 3 to be anything spectacular. I was turned off to the idea of sequels after the second movie, so I went in with very little expectations. Many people had the same question as I did; can Cars 3 live up to the first movie? I believe yes, this victory lap of a movie truly felt like a journey, from the opening scene to the credits, I felt like I had been moved. Pixar Animations has many movies which would be considered masterpieces, and they have truly done it again.
Many people thoroughly enjoyed the first Cars movie. In my opinion it had very few flaws. It had beautiful animation, great characters, a good soundtrack, there was very little to dislike. The second movie however, shattered my image of the franchise. Cars 2 seemed to be just a way to sell more toys to kids who couldn’t tell the difference between the two movies. The story was lousy and created a divide between the two movies. Thankfully, Cars 3 erased the second movie from my mind, taking all bad feeling for the franchise away with it. Cars 3 had some pretty big shoes to fill, directly following the critically acclaimed Finding Dory (sequel to Finding Nemo). I think that Cars 3 can hold its ground, even compared to Finding Dory.
Cars 3 starts with Lightning McQueen constantly coming out on top. Everything changes when a rookie enters the race. Jackson Storm is superior in weight, downforce, and technology. He begins a shift in racing, the era of “tech cars.” Everything changes for McQueen when he gets in a serious crash during a race. He realizes he needs to do something different in order to beat this new generation and secure his legacy. He begins a new training program to increase his speed with trainer Cruz Ramirez, and meets new friends along the way.
The characters were as charming as ever, with friends from the first movie returning for small roles. Sally (McQueen’s girlfriend), Mater (McQueen’s best friend) and Doc Hudson (McQueen’s mentor, who appears in flash backs) all play roles in Lightning’s journey to re-find himself. Jackson Storm and Cruz Ramirez were definitely the standout newbies for this movie.
The new characters seemed fresh enough, with new character tropes and interesting dialogue. The plot itself kept me captivated. It was unexpected enough to keep me interested in what Lightning’s next step would be. It wasn’t without flaws though. I think the biggest hole in the plot was the indecisiveness of why Lightning was not a good racer anymore. The reason often switched through the advancement of the plot. In the beginning it was surrounded by the crash. He was injured fairly badly, but in the next scene he seemed fairly healed with no long lasting injuries. Next it was because he didn’t have the same amount of tech that these new racers had. If he used the simulator, and the new training program then he could beat Jackson Storm. Lastly, and the reason that seemed to stick around for the last half of the movie, it was due to him being too old. The movie seems to jumble all these reasons together for its reasoning behind why Lightning needed to train hard, but ended up being confusing for the audience.
One thing that is unarguably fantastic about this movie is the animation. The transition scenes where they are traveling on the road are some of the most impressive. The lighting and water in this movie massively impressed me. Specifically the scene where Lightning and Cruz are on the beach, the water looks incredible. Because it’s Pixar, it’s not too shocking that the animation is impressive, but it’s still something to note. The music was well thought out, with the driving scenes being accompanied by songs that had be bopping my head. The dialogue was interesting enough, with just the right amount of jokes to keep it from dragging on. I found myself chuckling at moments between friends and developing relationships. The movie honestly seems genuine to me, with the goodbyes being heartfelt, and the new relationships seeming to develop at the right pace.
Overall, Cars 3 was an impressive movie which covered the tracks left by the second movie in the franchise. It had an interesting plot, lovable characters, and good music to make you feel like you were going on a road trip. I was moved by this movie, and hopefully you will get to experience this beautiful drive of a movie.