Thursday, July 27, 2017

Review of CARS 3: Weary but Wise

July 26, 2017



In the whole hallowed canon of Pixar animated films, "Cars" (2006) has generally been considered one of its more lightweight offerings. In fact, the sequel "Cars 2" (2011) usually gets called the worst Pixar film. However, despite this reputation among film critics, one cannot discount the immense popularity of this series, and its star character, Lightning McQueen. It is so popular that instead of giving up on it after the "Cars 2" (MY REVIEW) debacle, here comes another sequel this year.

Threatened by the new, faster generation of race cars (exemplified by the haughty Jackson Storm), our hero, now fading racetrack star Lightning McQueen was desperate to find a way to train himself back into shape and to regain the mojo to win races again. His sponsor Rust-eze sold their operation to a new owner Sterling who owns a high-tech car training facility. complete with car treadmills and a race simulator. 

McQueen did not like the upbeat motivation style of his new trainer Cruz Ramirez. He bolts out with Cruz to find and train in all the previous tracks where his late mentor Doc Hudson raced. He found Doc's old trainer Smokey who tried to get McQueen ready for the Florida 500 with his old-fashioned techniques, using Cruz (a frustrated race car herself) as his training partner and pacesetter. 


This new film is directed by Brian Fee (moving up from being storyboard artist of the first two "Cars" films), and features voices from the old cast like Owen Wilson (as Lightning McFee), Bonnie Hunt (as Sally), Larry the Cable Guy (as Mater) and even the late Paul Newman (as Doc Hudson, from his previously recorded lines). New characters are voiced by Armie Hammer (as Jackson Storm), Cristela Alonzo (as Cruz Ramirez), Chris Cooper (as Smokey), Nathan Fillion (as Sterling) and Kerry Washington (as racing statistics analyst Natalie Certain).

After the missteps of "Cars 2" (making it a James Bond-like spy caper featuring McQueen's rusty tow truck sidekick Mater), "Cars 3" returns to familiar territory focusing back on racing and on McQueen himself and his character's development. This time, he faces the challenges of getting older and being outclassed by more powerful, more aggressive and more arrogant younger competition. Mater is still in there, but in a very small part that does not mention anything about his adventures (nor knighthood) in "Cars 2".

"Cars 3" brings back the all-American old-town nostalgic vibe that it totally lost when "Cars 2" transported the action to that World Grand Prix in Tokyo. On McQueen's road trip in the wild west, we see the dusty American desert outbacks, like those of Radiator Springs of the first "Cars," once again. In one part, we see McQueen and Cruz enter another kind of motor event that was born in the USA -- a wild and dirty demolition derby. 

The suspenseful and dramatic thrill of the final race is still very much there, like the first "Cars". You may think that you already know how that climactic race will end, but most likely you will not expect what actually transpires. Maybe like me, you will also want to look up the NASCAR rule books if what happened can actually happen in a real car race. Better watch it to see for yourself.

Yes, you will feel that certain scenes in "Cars" were just refitted for this new sequel -- mostly about how McQueen's ego and pride gets him into trouble with himself and his friends. More importantly, the heart of that made the first Cars film beloved is back -- the essence of respecting your mentors and honoring them, of trying your best in everything, of realizing your mistakes and making up for them, of recognizing your limitations and doing something about it. 7/10.




8 comments:

  1. I love watching animated movies especially filmed or produced by Pixar. Car racing though it's full action but the dirty trick is usually being applied by the antagonist. Anyway it's still entertaining.

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  2. I quite enjoyed cars 2 actually. I thought it was quite funny. Can't wait to see Cars 3!

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  3. I've never really been that into the Cars series. But I have heard a lot of good things about how consistently good the plots are by my friends :)

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  4. I was able to watch this one and I like the twist in the end. It certainly opens up a lot of possibilities in the Cars series.

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  5. I love watching good movies with deep message in the end. Upon reading this review of Car 3, I just realized that I missed one thing.. recognizing my limitations and doing something about it.

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  6. Saw this Movie last week! Im 22 and I still watch this hahaha You're right about the suspense and drama it brings.. reminded me of the first movie! ahhh so much memories!

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  7. Ohhhhh my goodness I remember my son making me watch those movies over and over and over! Lol. Great review and post!

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  8. I saw Cars 1 when I was in school! I never saw Cars 2! I can't believe now that they're still doing a sequel of it!!! If I watch it, I'll refer to the NASCAR rule book as well! Lolz! :)

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