I have no love for the Cars franchise. This is my least favorite film series from Pixar. The first Cars was just okay, not great or bad, and the second film was awful with a stupid spy story where the main character and the annoying comic relief sidekick switched places. It was Pixar’s worst film and along with Monsters University, had no reason to exist. Even worse, it spawned the utterly forgettable and pointless Planes franchise from DisneyToon Studios. Were there people REALLY demanding more Cars movies? From what I’ve seen, people would rather see The Incredibles 2 than another fucking Cars movie. But things don’t work out the way we want them to and we got a THIRD Cars movie. How is it? Well, let’s find out. This is Cars 3.
Race car Lightning McQueen finds himself in a predicament when he’s out-shadowed by a new generation of racecars. He’s been pressured to retire because he can’t keep up with these new racers, but McQueen isn’t phased and with the help of a young trainer named Cruz Ramirez, he’s determined to prove to the world that he’s still the racing champ. Does this plot sound familiar to you? It should. It’s the classic underdog story, but with an older character being outdone by younger competition in some sporting event and training hard to prove that they still have it. It’s that kind of story.
The Cars movies always have the least interesting characters out of all of the Pixar movies. They’re either cardboard stereotypes or have no character at all. There are some exceptions like the leads. Lighting McQueen (Owen Wilson) in this movie is going through a crisis as he wants to keep racing despite being past his prime. He’s pushing himself to be faster in order to beat the competition and rediscover what made him love racing in the first place. The residents of Radiator Springs are serviceable background characters and thank God Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) has less screen-time. This character annoys the shit out of me, especially in the last movie. It seemed like the filmmakers listened to the criticisms of that abomination and did their best to push him out of the movie. As for new characters? Armie Hammer voices Jackson Storm, a cocky young racer outdoing the competition and becoming McQueen’s goal to beat. Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) is easily the best character in the movie and the one with the most personality. When she heads out into the road with McQueen, that’s when the movie picks up and becomes interesting. I think this movie would’ve been a lot better if it was focused on her.
Are there good scenes in this movie? Yes. Every racing scene is enjoyable to watch. Like I said before, when McQueen and Cruz train and head out into the road, that’s when the movie is at its best and there are highlights. They participate in a demolition derby and they go to a place where retired race cars hang out to help McQueen be a better racer. There are parts of the movie that pays tribute to Doc Hudson, who was probably the best character in the first movie. It also felt like a tribute to Paul Newman, who passed away two years after Cars premiered. Aside from that, there’s not much else to talk about.
I give Cars 3 a 5/10. It’s better than Cars 2, but it’s on par with the first movie in being just okay. In spite of good animation that’s expected out of Pixar, the story is predictable and most of the characters are forgettable at most. The first half is very dull with unfunny jokes and meh moments, the second half is marginally better, especially when the final race kicks in. If you’re a fan of the first Cars, you’d like this fine enough. As for me? It was somewhat enjoyable, but this isn’t a movie that I want to go back and watch over and over like I would most Pixar movies. Now I’m just sitting here waiting on Coco. That movie looks pretty good.