Director: Brian Fee
Starring: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Nathan Fillion, Larry The Cable Guy, Arnie Hammer, Ray Magliozzi, Tony Shalhoub, Bonnie Hunt
Written by: Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson, Mike Rich, (original story) Brian Fee, Ben Queen, Eyal Podell and Jonathon E. Stewart
Running Time: 102 mins
Release date: 14th July 2017
There may be those who will ask the question: Why do we need a Cars 3? It’s a good question. It could be that it’s one of Pixar Studios most popular animation series and there’s been a cry for more? Or it could be that a new and exciting story needed to be told? Or it could be that the merchandise for the characters always sell and so it was time for a new generation to buy into the toys and gifts with Lightning McQueen all over them? In fact, it’s more than likely that it is the latter because personally, I could never understand why there was a sequel to the original Cars in the first place. This third outing doesn’t really do anything but retell the first film in a slightly different way.
Lightning McQueen is still the king of the race track until his star is replaced by the new kid, Jackson Storm, a faster, smoother car who is reaching speeds Lightning only dreams of. With calls for Lightning’s retirement from the sport, he decides he needs to up his game. Having a new sponsor on board and a state of the art training centre, he meets personal trainer, Cruz Ramirez but her ideas are far too extreme for Lightning, so he decides to go back in time to find his former trainer’s old home ground.
Pixar has always tried to push the boat out when it comes to its animation and here is no exception. The design and attention to detail are exceptional. The race sequences capture every aspect of fast cars flying around the tracks, right down to the rubber marbles that come off the tyres. The scenery is breathtaking and its’ bright and colourful enough to keep the younger audiences happy. One scene where Lightning is driving through the countryside is like looking at a real road. This is also problematic because if the background is grabbing your attention, then the story isn’t. The same thing happened to Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur. Nice scenery, same about the story.
This tale isn’t anything different. We’ve been here before. It’s like a retread of the original film, right down to using the voice of the late Paul Newman. You might say that Finding Dory was a retread of Finding Nemo and you are right. The difference was that Dory had better animation and the characters made you care. Lightning McQueen and his crew are entertaining but they are never more than that. You never fully emote with them and so you never really care what happens to them.
Where the film really suffers is the lacking in imagination. It’s amplified by having the short film, Lou, before it. A simple yet effective tale of a lost property box and its effects on a school bully. In that 6 minutes, it manages to tell its tale, without dialogue, get a message over and touch your heart. Something that Cars 3 cannot do in 102 minutes.
Cars 3 is better than the instantly forgettable Cars 2 (wasn’t it about spies?) but it’s a long way down the line of other Pixar movies. We thought that Pixar had returned in a huge way after Inside Out and Finding Dory. I hope that the studio has got this out of their system and this is only a dip preparing us for the studio to strive forward with the likes of The Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4, as well as their new release at Christmas, Coco. Maybe now, the Cars franchise can be put into the garage with a nice dust cover and left alone. Not terrible but disappointing considering what Pixar is capable of.