Movie Review: Cars 3’s a Thrilling Final Lap

Movie Review: Cars 3’s a Thrilling Final Lap

About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville nearly 20 years. Currently, he studies Journalism at Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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Every June for the last decade has been marked by a high-profile release from Disney and Pixar. Cars 3 is this year’s entry, and it’s a simple yet highly engaging end to the love-it-or-hate-it animated franchise. As a family film, sports story and a comedy, it’s all immensely enjoyable.

Sure, it’s formulaic and less extravagant than Pixar’s best. But it also fixes the Cars movies before it. Anyone left with a bad taste in their mouth after the disastrous Cars 2 will be refreshed and relieved to know 3 returns to what made the first Cars so wonderful.

Cars 3 follows racing legend Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) facing the uncomfortable truth he’s getting too old to race. Challenged by a new generation of cocky young racers, he works with a new crew and aspiring trainer Cruz Ramirez (a scene-stealing debut from Cristela Alonzo) to get one last win under his belt.

At first, it appears the conflict is just another simple struggle of Lightning McQueen really needing to win this race. And that’s sadly how it starts, too. While it’s colorfully, expertly animated and designed, it starts as nothing more than a simple, funny cartoon.

But it’s second half is much stronger, featuring Pixar’s great ability to make movies about more than they appear. This shows the studio’s intelligent, endlessly creative work not just as animators but writers and storytellers.

Photo: Buena Vista Pictures.

This newest Cars has some of the first film’s maturity and warmth, but the morals are more specific this time. It’s about more than sports – or in this case, the sport of car racing. The focus here is about understanding your abilities, trusting your talents, and what defines a legacy you might leave behind.

But in the end, it’s about the necessity of change, and the challenges that entails. That’s a tricky yet really consecutive idea for a kid’s movie. So many of the ideas Cars 3 addresses (when it’s focused) are great messages for kids and adults, and arrive in a fun, approachable way.

Don’t go mistaking the mistake the movie’s overly serious, though. It is bright, whimsical, and clever in the best ways only Disney movies can be. It’s fun and pleasantly easy to watch, making for great entertainment.

The only thing that’s disappointing is how it’s just good, instead of the flawless work that made Pixar famous. They continue to show inconsistency on their last several movies, just as Disney Animation continues their meteoric rise. Hopefully their next original out in November, Coco, will switch the trend.

The way they’ve made Cars 3 is the perfect way to end the franchise. Consider this the checkered flag, and hopefully, this threequel can stay the satisfying end to the franchise it is. As for families and fans? It’s not a bad way to start off the summer.

Cars 3
3 out of 4 stars

G, 109 minutes. Animated Family Sports Comedy.
Written and Directed by Brian Fee.
Starring Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Armie Hammer and Chris Cooper.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.

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