Cars 3 Review
Thankfully this latest instalment is miles better than Cars 2
Buckle up, kids - Lightning McQueen is back as the Cars franchise hits the circuit one more time.Owen Wilson returns as Lightning McQueen, the shiny red hero of the two previous Cars films.This time however, he’s feeling his age; younger, slicker models are beating him on the racetrack and he has to ponder whether it might finally be time to hang up his tyres for good. The Cars films are unusual for recent Pixar releases – they’re not full of emotional subtext and they’re pretty straightforward in terms of plot, story and content. They’re literally about cars, after all.
They're also loud and brash and full of colour, which probably explains why they’ve been so popular. Cars 3 is no exception but Lightning is feeling the burn; newer technology and faster cars are taking over, and he just can’t keep up. Newcomer Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) has kicked racing up a gear, and soon the pressure gets to Lightning, who’s involved in a fairly hefty crash. Faced with obsolescence, he’ll have to figure out a way to get back on form, and fast.
Encroaching technology, young go-getters, creaks and cracks… this is definitely one for the parents (and grandparents) in the audience. As Lightning pushes himself to compete with the new cars he’s forced to learn how to adapt, and accept the aging process (I wonder if there’s anti-aging cream for motors?)
Fighting to get with the times, Lightning turns to a fancy training facility, and there meets Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), a trainer who never quite believed in herself as a racer. The Cruz storyline is a nice addition to the series, and she ends up being the emotional heartbeat of the film. Ultimately, this is a fun, bright and lively film – it’s not reinventing the steering wheel or anything and beyond a few new additions there’s not much that’s moved on from the previous two films.
The racing scenes are brought to life by incredible visuals that are almost realistic
What really makes this film is the animation – some fantastic racing scenes are brought to life by incredible visuals that are almost realistic. In fact, if you can get over the whole talking cars shtick there are parts that are like watching a high-paced Formula 1 (okay, maybe 2 or 3) race. The key to enjoying a Cars film is not thinking too hard – don’t ask how the cars are born or how they do things without opposable thumbs.
The main thing to take away from this is that it’s miles better than Cars 2. The set pieces and chase scenes are done brilliantly and it’s an enjoyable, if slightly bumpy, ride. It’s a nice enough summer flick, and kids will enjoy it. It’s not a car crash, but it’s more like a joyride; there’s not really any substance and it’s not one that you’ll remember for very long. But it’s fun, and flashy and it pretty much does what it says on the tin. Fans of the first film will enjoy Lightning’s return (let’s just agree to forget the second film), and newcomers to the series won’t need to try very hard to understand the finer plot points. Hey, as far as animations about anthropomorphic race cars go, I’ve seen worse.
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