Movie #120 2021: Cars 3 (2017)

To recap: Cars 2 was an absolute train wreck. Just awful. Nonsense. So why even bother with Cars 3, you ask? I enjoyed the original, okay?! I could not accept for one second that the end of my Cars journey would go out with such a whimper. It was a risk: 3 could have been just as bad – if not worse – than 2.

The verdict? THANK FUCK. So much better than Cars 2! Whilst it never quite reaches the heights of the original, this movie goes back to basics; more Radiator Springs, less pointless secondary characters, more McQueen. In this instalment, the story revolves around Lightning McQueen’s realisation that there are a bunch of new-fangled cars with cutting edge technology that are simply more capable of winning races than he is these days. In order to get back into the swing of things, Lightning seeks the help of the experts who know all about these new cars and what it takes to beat them. Using the Hudson Hornet for inspiration, McQueen tries one more time to win his last ever Piston Cup.

It’s really great to see Pixar go back to the simpler things with this movie. There’s not a single drop of spy car bullshit, and as much as I love Mater, Lightning McQueen is the star of this franchise. The writers go back to having him as the main character here, no doubt realising that we want to see cars being cars rather than fight crime and thwart international spy rings. A marked improvement, especially on the script and storyboarding fronts.

Though there’s definitely not as much heart here as there was in the first Cars movie, there’s plenty of charm that ensures that the story comes full circle whilst teaching kids the importance of a good friend and knowing when to step back to let someone else shine. The flashbacks were a nice touch too – the creators no doubt realised that this would be their last outing with these characters, so it sort of acts as a nostalgic love story to their past with the Cars franchise.

As ever, the voice cast are enthusiastic and perform well. Maybe Owen Wilson should just stick to voice roles from now on because he’s much more likeable when you can’t see his face. (Harsh, I know… but true.) Furthermore, adding Kerry Washington was a brilliant move – she has such a great voice and I wish she’d do more voice acting. Not only are her dulcet tones instantly recognisable, but she speaks with such vim and vigour in everything she does.

Now I’ve seen the whole trilogy, I can safely say that not a single one of these films makes Pixar’s top 5. However, I can completely see why my 7 year old nephew loves Cars so much. It’s fun, colourful, exciting (mostly), and the characters may be made of metal, but they have so many human characteristics that they make it impossible for you not to love them.

Remember, if you’re not the intended audience, try to view it through the eyes of the viewer it was made for. It’s much more fun that way.

Cars 3 is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.

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