Director: Brian Fee
Starring: Owen Wilson, Chris Cooper, Armie Hammer, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Bob Costas, John Ratzenberger
Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world.
By Matt Greene
With Fate of the Furious, Pirates 5, Wonder Woman and Logan, 2017 may go down in cinematic history as “the year of the franchise fix”, and Cars 3 would certainly fit in that group. In what is easily Pixar’s worst franchise, they have finally turned the curved corner from the mediocre original and the downright unbearable second. A film of simple plotting, stunning animated visuals, and tons of big childish fun, Cars 3 works as distraction until Pixar’s next true masterpiece comes along.
In 3, Lightning McQueen is far from the cocky car we first met. No longer the freshest wheels on the track, he spends the film doing everything he can to keep up with the rookies, with their new technologies and upgraded engines. The predictability comes off as a little empty sometimes, but there are some interesting u-turns taken. The training montages are great, the voice acting is improved, there’s way less Mater and the final race is easily the best of the series. Specifically, the thematic parallels to Pixar are unique; pioneers in the ubiquitous CG-animation field who refuse to give up their mantel at the top of the heap no matter how long-in-the-tooth they get.
Unfortunately, when the movie slows down to (over-)explore these things, we start noticing how little we actually care about these decade-old characters. For every decent joke, there are three lame ones. The villain is a two-dimensional missed-opportunity. Logically, there is a lot to overlook in order to fully enjoy Cars 3 as a thinking adult. Luckily, I was able to do just that, with Pixar providing just enough style, fun and introspection to cross the finish line.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
By Cole Schneider
Over ten years ago, “Cars” wowed audiences with its sustained 2 hours of mediocrity. Then, five years later, Pixar embarrassed itself with its biggest disaster-to-date, “Cars 2”. Fear not; the legacy of this franchise is not harmed by the dull, marginally passable “Cars 3”.
“Cars 3” isn’t very funny and isn’t half as emotionally stirring as it sees itself being, yet the biggest problem with “Cars 3” anything by way of execution. “Cars 3” was horribly misguided from the beginning. Someone should have told Pixar that this needed to be a kid’s movie. For all of its many, many, many faults, “Cars 2” was certainly a kid’s movie.
Even “Toy Story 3”, which was made mostly for a generation that grew up on the original “Toy Story” and was moving on to a different phase of life, remained ostensibly a kid’s movie. “Cars 3” seems to be made for children who are in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Someone should have told Pixar that their audience is an oxymoron.
The real audience—real children—have to sit and endure 2 hours of Lightning McQueen’s coming to grips with mortality. The execution isn’t actually all that bad, a bit dull perhaps, but not too bad. The problem with “Cars 3” is that it doesn’t have an audience.
Even if it were a terrific piece of summer entertainment, it’s still not a kid’s movie. There’s no one in the Cars universe that kids can relate to and there’s no one it will care about by the time the next big kid’s movie pulls into theaters.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars