CAST: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Armie Hammer, Larry the Cable Guy, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington, Cheech Marin
DIRECTION: Brian Fee
DURATION: 1 hour 49 minutes
CARS 3 STORY: A new breed of racers gives Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) stiff competition on the track. Now one of the oldest race cars, Lightning needs to prove that he is still a top racer with help from an eager young female car named Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo).
CARS 3 REVIEW: Pixar films have redefined the scope of animated movies with pathbreaking stories in the ‘Toy Story’ trilogy, ‘Wall-E’, ‘Inside Out’, ‘The Incredibles’ and ‘Up’, just to name a few. But few of their missteps have been as prominent as the ‘Cars’ franchise. With the novelty of the first entry wearing thin in the sequel, ‘Cars 2’ seemed like a blatant cash grab for the studio. That movie focused on a secondary character – Mater – for no reason, other than to ensure there was enough merchandise for kids to buy in stores.
It took Pixar the third attempt to realize that great animation isn’t enough to make a good picture – you need characters with a heart and soul. Safe to say that Mater was not that character, so Pixar shifts focus back to Lightning McQueen. It’s been over 10 years since ‘Cars’ first came out, so it’s not out of place to see him struggling to be relevant again, and being edged out by newer, faster models. But the journey of trying to find himself while retracing the steps of his mentor Doc Hudson (played by the late, great Paul Newman) is long drawn and filled with uneven moments of drama and humor. This dull and dreary extended middle act will probably be difficult for both kids and adults to sit through, as there’s not much in it for either demographic. Although the story picks up towards the end, with a somewhat unexpected and welcome twist to Lightning McQueen’s tale.
Owen Wilson is cheerful as Lightning McQueen, enough to watch him running around in circles on and off a race track. The rest of the actors voicing these characters are well-suited for the roles, but there’s not much to write home about – which signifies this film, in all. It’s unfortunate for a studio that made bold and definitive films, to take such a safe route in a world of anthropomorphic automobiles. There are several unanswered questions about them, such as how they’ve come into existence, but perhaps it’s best not to expect so much from a series that barely delivers on the promise of being a fun watch, let alone being a thought-provoking franchise. Watch this only if you’re a fan of the first installment.