Disney’s ‘Cars’ franchise is to a certain extent the runt of the Pixar litter. Neither of the previous two films before this third installment have been as well received as most of the other films Pixar have released. I have a soft spot for the first film, I think it’s genuinely underrated. Whereas, ‘Cars 2’ has a lot of fun ideas but experiences great difficulty in executing them. So could ‘Cars 3’ finally be the film to accelerate Lightning McQueen & the gang into the pole position of fans favourites?
Well you can always guarantee that in any under-par Pixar effort the animation will forever be a redeeming feature. Not to give ‘Cars 3’ the under-par label but as is expected the animation here is exceptional. Whether it’s watching these characters drive down a sandy beach, competing at a demolition derby or simply a close up of their tires all of it looks wonderful. If it wasn’t for the googly eyes & over the top voice performances in certain moments you could be forgiven for forgetting you’re watching an animated movie. I always appreciate the action of this franchise and think it allows for some really brilliant animation work. As with the previous two films I find just watching these characters speed round racetracks or cruise the open roads a real delight. Hey, maybe I’m just easy to please but there’s really no disputing that now eighteen films deep these guys seriously know what they are doing.
It’s a shame that the narrative content of the film can’t quite live up to this. The film opts for a predictable story; McQueen is having to face facts that he’s not the rookie he used to be and has to learn how to adjust to the fast changing nature of racing. It does offer some good messages but it’s nothing really spectacular. This is definitely a more sentimental effort than it is funny. One element of sentimentality is perfect but as a whole the film really could have done with a few more laughs. We get glimpses of comedy here and there but there’s simply not enough to sustain the story throughout the run time. The best element of the narrative though is how much time is devoted to Paul Newman’s Doc Hudson. This installment makes up for the second film almost entirely glancing over his absence. This part of the story is handled wonderfully and is easily the highlight of the complete trilogy. Story aside the only thing left to touch on is the cast & characters. It’s already apparent that the characters featured here aren’t overly popular. The returning and new cast perform well but they never really create anything overly memorable. Also, although he’s in no way a main character the lack of Michael Keaton as Chick Hicks should have meant a lack of Chick altogether.
Not quite stuck in the pits but also not quite leading the pack this latest effort from Pixar won’t become one of their much loved classics. ‘Cars 3’ does struggle to get into gear as it initially starts to gain momentum however by the end of the film it eases into a smooth cruise surely concluding this franchise, ending on a relatively high note.
Rating – 7/10
Question: How would you rank the ‘Cars’ trilogy?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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