Starring: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Larry the Cable Guy, Nathan Fillion, Armie Hammer
Directed by: Brian Fee
Written by: Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson, Mike Rich
Rating: G Running Time: 1 hr 49 min.
On this trip to the movies I was joined by my brother, Andrew, and my niece, Kaitlyn. Andrew and I were lukewarm fans of the first two installments of this franchise. Kaitlyn had only seen the first Cars movie, and enjoyed it.
It’s weird watching an “ordinary” Pixar movie. You know? Like one of those animated films the other regular studios makes. We’ve been spoiled over the years with the likes of, Inside Out, Toy Story, Wall-E and UP, that it takes (at least for me) a few minutes to dial down the expectations for a movie like Cars 3. Pixar’s perpetual money-making machine designed to bring home the bacon by delivering uncomplicated, merchandise inspiring, thrills.
Within the series itself, Cars 3 returns to some of the same territory covered in the first movie, and it has a little fun with the underdog story format. Lightning McQueen experiences a setback, and then steps outside of his world in search for answers – rediscover his mojo – so to speak. Along the way, we meet a few new friends, a new villain, and everything plods along at a leisurely pace with very few surprises.
That leisurely pace however, is my main gripe about the film. This actually got boring for long stretches during the first and second act. Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), as a lead character, has never been all that interesting, and some of his more colorful friends (Mater – Larry the Cable Guy) are given very little screen time. The new costar, Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) has her fun moments, but for the most part, the new characters (toys!) are actually quite dull. Essentially nothing more that underdog story archetypes put in place to guide our hero through his journey.
Parents will likely see the third act twist coming a mile away, and then get bored waiting for the characters in the story to catch up. So, for the most part, this is a kids only adventure. The finale is reasonably exciting and it’s always kind of fun to see how the Pixar creative folks construct their little vehicle world.
If you enjoyed the first Cars film, you should enjoy this. Cars 3 isn’t meant to be one of their super creative classics. It’s simply here to entertain kids, and give parents gift ideas!
I enjoyed some of the training on the beach, and I got a laugh out of Cruz’s difficulties driving in the sand. “The beach ate me.”