Going to the Movies with Jeff & Drew: “Cars 3”
Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson), is no longer the champ of the racing circuit, and is getting lapped by newer, superior models like Jackson Storm (voice of Armie Hammer), a souped up, sleekly contoured piece of racing machinery meant to leave vehicles like Lightning in the dust. With the help of some new friends, Lightning begins on his personal path back to greatness, a path that may not lead to the destination he originally imagined.
“This latest installment into the Cars franchise does a great job of following the tone that made the first movie so beloved while learning from what made the second movie not so good. Much of the movie follows the pacing and themes from the first movie with enough changed and added to make sure it’s not just a direct clone. Lightning McQueen must overcome his ego and train hard to learn new tricks to be able to become the winner he so desperately wants to be. There are a host of new celebrity voiced characters that help McQueen through his journey of self-discovery and each has a lesson from him to learn to better himself. This is a Pixar movie as they were meant to be. This is a great film to wrap up this franchise.” – Jeff
“Lightning McQueen plays a less prominent role in Cars 3 as he comes to terms with his limitations and his relationship with the new perky, yellow race-car trainer, Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo). Cruz is the standout character and a scene stealer in this film. In one of the movie’s most moving scenes, she relates how her dream of being a racer was squashed by the male-dominated culture of pro-racing. A later scene involving a retired female racer, who was also marginalized, emphasizes the point. Pixar is not only taking a shot at motor-racing’s boys-club mentality but also at the people who think Cars (yes, the movie and the vehicles) are just for boys. Great Job, Pixar!” – Drew
“Every new animation movie takes full advantage of whatever new technology is available. Cars 3 is no exception. The level of detail is striking. The characters start to feel more real and tangible versus heavily animated. The textures of the environment they inhabit are highly detailed. The whole movie looks very pretty.” – Jeff
“Pixar is not pushing their storytelling limits with Cars 3, but it certainly is showing off when it comes to the technical aspects of the film. The animation is nothing short of spectacular, particularly when it comes to water effects and the detail to existing and new characters. Cars 3 will please fans of the franchise and entertain those who keep their expectations at a reasonable level. This isn’t the height of what Pixar can do, but it’s still pleasing to any movie goer.” – Drew
“There is some fault to be found in the reuse of too many story elements. McQueen is still super arrogant, causing him to overlook and underestimate situations and people. You think after 10 years and three movies, he may not have to learn the same lesson over and over again. The beloved character Mater is used more as a fan service than an actual benefit to the story. Larry the Cable Guy’s signature catchphrase is used multiple times in awkward fashion. He truly serves no purpose to the overall plot of the movie, which is a shame, because there is opportunity for him to be more than a ‘look here I am’ cameo in a sad attempt to make fans happy and sell more toys.” – Jeff
“Cars 3 resonates more with older audiences as it taps into the question many top athletes face in their careers. It raises the question: Do you go out on top or fight to the end? If you followed?the first two films, make sure you see this latest one.” – Drew
Cars 3 is a great conclusion into this much-loved franchise. It wraps up McQueen’s legacy in a very satisfying way and will be enjoyed greatly by a new generation of kids and their parents. It is highly entertaining, beautiful movie, and, like all great Pixar movies, it has a great message.
Side note: For the past decade or so, Pixar has been accompanying their movies with short films. The one playing before Cars 3, called Lou, may be the best yet. Pixar takes a box filled with forgotten toys and other goodies and brings it to life. In the span of six minutes, Lou teaches you about bullying, where it comes from and how to make amends, all without a single word of dialog. It’s Pixar storytelling at its very best. They make you laugh, cry and show you something new. Pixar has been doing this so well ever since they introduced us to a pair of playful of desk lamps.
Stars: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Armie Hammer, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington, Lea DeLaria
Score 4 out of 5
Going to the Movies with Jeff & Drew