While it is one of their most successful franchises, Cars is also their least appreciated effort. The movies about cars talking, racing and even having babies may make no sense to adults, but the kids love anything to do with talking cars. Now we have Cars 3, where Owen Wilson returns to voice Lightning McQueen after a gap of six years. Will Cars 3 make the franchise slide even further or will it bring some critical love to the trilogy? Read our review to find out…
What's it about
After the events of Cars 2, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) continues to be the champion of Piston Derby. Racing with his friends and good-on-terms colleagues, he is quite in his comfort zone, until a younger, much sleeker and arrogant car, Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), enters the race and defeats him. From thereon, Storm beats McQueen in every race and suddenly, there is an influx of younger cars in the race replacing the older ones. In a moment of desperation to beat Storm and parry allegations that his racing days are over, McQueen injures him in a race and has to take a sabbatical from racing. Encouraged by his close friends, he decides to train himself in the modern techniques which brings him in partnership with Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), an over-enthusiastic trainer, who once harboured racing ambitions. Will McQueen race past the constraints of his age and beat Storm's arrogance? You have to watch the movie to find out…
Frankly, I didn't quite like the first two Cars movies and had little expectations from this one as well. However, Cars 3 proved to be a pleasant surprise with several heart-warming moments and some surprise twists. The movie works best when it focuses on the relationship between McQueen and Ramirez, and this entire track never lets the movie down. Not wanting to spoil anything here, but the change in the dynamics of their partnership is quite a refreshing change and quite in sync with some of the recently acclaimed movies, including a very recent successful superhero movie. You can see the influences of Rocky Balboa and Creed in the movie, and perhaps that's deliberate from the makers. Cruz Ramirez is quite an engaging character and her jibes on McQueen's age ('You are my senior project') are quite funny. Owen Wilson continues to make McQueen such a charming character, who refuses to let go off the fact that perhaps his racing skills are more useful out of the track. The rest of the voice cast is fine. It was touching to hear the voice of the late Paul Newman as Doc (they used his voice outtakes from the first movie).
The special effects have improved quite a lot compared to the previous two movies, which is evident in the racing scenes. The climax, despite a little unbelievable twist, is quite well done.
The plot of the movie is quite predictable, and you can easily guess how the movie prods ahead, except to some extent the climax. There are enough cliches that are becoming an irritating trend in Pixar movies, like the business-minded manager or the younger opponent, who remain just that. Some of the older characters like Sally (Bonnie Hunt) don't get much scope here. The initial portions of the movie are quite okay, and at times boring, as nothing engaging is happening out there. It's when Ramirez enters the scene that the movie comes alive.
What to do
Thankfully for Pixar, Cars 3 makes sure that the trilogy ends on a high, which actually wasn't much of a challenge since the last two movies were just average efforts. But there is an unspoken rule in movie land that the third movie is always the worst, which isn't the case with Lightning McQueen's third race. Quite recommended for kids and their parents for a family watch!
3.5 out of 5
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