Cars 3: Third Time is the Charm for Lightning McQueen and Pixar
Movie Review by Anirudh Madhav (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
The first Cars film released in 2006 introduced a range of colorful cars infused with lively characters and a touching storyline. Unlike the disastrous plot of Cars 2 which showcased violence with a confusing storyline, the third part in Pixar Animation Studios’ high profile animated franchise Cars 3 brings back a heartfelt storyline with strong characterization.
The opening sequence shows Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) zooming past others racecars with his usual cocky confident attitude. Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), one of the next-generation racecars overtakes Lightning to emerge as a champion. Lightning is shattered and suddenly feels aged in the midst of the slicker young cars on the racetrack.
The storyline then transitions into a believe-in-yourself storyline, where Lightning (Owen Wilson) is assigned to Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) for training with high-end technologies. In the course of trying to achieve his lost stardom, Lightning discovers his true purpose in his dying racing career.
Cars 3 brings in some memorable moments where Lightning to visits Radiator Springs in a bid to use the advice of yesteryear racing legends. Director Brian Fee has strategically used the dialogues of late Paul Newman who voiced for Doc Hudson in the first installment. Apart from the repetitive feel of the racing sequences, the film has shown a significant improvement in the animation department. The slow motion muted crash of lightning McQueen and the demolition derby scenes stand out in the film.
Despite any differentiating signs of gender in the human-like cars, the film also explores the topic of gender discrimination, where Cruz is demotivated by Jackson in the final race. The humor in the movie has transitioned childlike comedy to some witty lines and a series of well-timed jabs that are aptly placed in the film. Despite a predictable storyline in the latter half of the film, Cars 3 teaches about selflessness and a true meaning of victory. Pixar has successfully packed in a meaningful message in its latest outing, a significant improvement from the previous spy spoofery in Cars 2.
The usual hitches in the Cars universe remain a mystery. Who builds these huge stadiums, flags and buildings and how did the younger new generation of slicker cars come into the picture? Only Pixar and Disney can answer that with an origin story of the Cars franchise. The film could have stuck to the usual norm of including soundtracks in certain parts of the film and could have delivered a punch in certain racing sequences.
P.S. Cars 3 has included a beautiful short animation “Lou” based on a lost-and-found box that comes alive and teaches a bully not to mess with other kids. It is a nostalgic ride into the scene where the toys confront Sid in Toy Story.