Fast and Curious: Our Review of ‘Cars 3’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - June 16, 2017
Fast and Curious: Our Review of ‘Cars 3’

There are a handful of especially timely and sage messages imparted to viewing youngsters in Cars 3, Disney Pixar’s presumably final film in the animated anthropomorphised automobile franchise. The film also, not so coincidentally as we will find, exorcises some of the demons from the far underwhelming Cars 2, one of the worst reviewed films in Pixar’s noted history.

Regardless of its genesis, Cars 3 tells a relevant story, that of a once proud competitor now in his twilight years, facing off against a younger generation that has better tools and means, while dealing with those now constantly tossed about words: brand and legacy.

Beloved Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), the innocently voiced, red-hot racer has lost a step. He is far from the youngest and not nearly the fastest anymore. Newer, sleeker models have entered into the racing circuit and are slowly replacing all his friends and colleagues. A beleaguered Lightning is next.

So Cars 3 becomes somewhat of a redemption story, a one last ride tale where Lightning, with the help of both his old team and a new one lead by supportive investor Sterling (Nathan Fillion), train for the final race of his career.  A win and he goes out on top, and a loss and he fades into oblivion like so many others.

In typical Pixar fashion, the film is staggeringly beautiful, especially the races, and in particular one off-circuit sequence in what is basically a monster truck rally. This franchise has also skewed younger, and so it’s all rather carefree and safe, with the messages easily digestible but not without taking notice.

Of note is Lightning’s relationship with a new trainer Cruz (Cristela Alonzo). A great racer, Cruz is resigned to working with other cars instead of competing herself. While confidence is a factor, we come to learn that that is also a function of opportunity and support – she is a female car, after all.

Past players are incorporated as well, albeit in smaller roles, and Cars 3 has plenty laughs and a few surprises during its course. But worthy messages and stellar visuals propel this film, a worthy finale that yes, preserves the franchise’s legacy in a positive light.

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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.