Cars 3, 2017.
Directed by Brian Fee.
Featuring the voice talents of Owen Wilson, Armie Hammer, Cristela Alonzo, Nathan Fillion, Chris Cooper, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, Kerry Washington, Tony Shalhoub, Bob Costas, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Ray Magliozzi, Bob Peterson, Lea, DeLaria, Darrell Waltrip, Cheech Marin, Margo Martindale, John Ratzenberger, and Paul Newman.
Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world.
Going into Cars 3, Pixar’s latest, entirely perfunctory topper of a trilogy no one asked for, questions rattled through my mind. How are cars born? Do they procreate? If so, how? In Cars 2, Lightning McQueen passes through an airport (questions later) and has to go through security; does this imply there was a car 9/11? If this is the case, was it a plane, or a car in a plane? Can cars ride planes? Cars sneeze, are they made of organic matter? Do they need fuel? Are they born or are they built? Under the bonnet, do they have a brain or an engine? Are scrap yards car graveyards or areas in which to torture?
If we are to discard the Cars films from the Pixar catalogue, you’d have a hot streak spanning 15 years, beginning with Toy Story, and rather aptly, ending with Toy Story 3, with Brave, the albeit entertaining if discount Disney fairy tale, bringing it to a halt.
There’s always been a feeling of product pride within Pixar, sequels-used to be-only commissioned if entirely necessary, if a story could be woven in such a way to further character development, not to simply sell toys. Cars and all that followed betrayed this. A slave to Toys “R” Us and Santa Claus, they exist solely to appease the need of children. You can practically hear the deep sigh of parents staring into the wallets and realising their children will demand the latest Lightning McQueen.
Thankfully (generous), going back to its roots following the mind-numbing idiocy of its predecessor, Cars 3 finds Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) struggling with his legacy following a life threatening crash. McQueen employs Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) to teach him ways of new in order to keep up with flashy champion Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer).
With more focus on new characters, we thankfully have a respite from Larry The Cable Guy’s incessantly irritating, redneck caricature Mater, who be it for a small, almost glorified cameo, takes a back seat. In fact, characters of old stay characters of old, only appearing in small doses upon a return to Radiator Springs.
Yet Pixar seem convinced that audiences have certain nostalgia for these characters. There are nods aplenty to those who appeared in the first as if audience members have a fondness. Even Paul Newman makes an appearance from the grave.
As with all Pixar releases, the animation is lush with race scenes almost indistinguishable from the real thing and they do have fun with a demolition derby. But be it for impressive animation, the film has little more going for it.
Compared to the mindless drivel of Despicable Me 3, Cars 3 actually feels rather substantial. Not to give it platitudes where platitudes certainly aren’t due, it’s still cloying and largely forgettable, but it is a superior sequel-rather damning praise.
Here’s hoping Pixar and John Lasseter have got this whole universe out of their system. Unlike Woody and the gang, these toys are destined for the bin.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★/ Movie: ★ ★ ★