Lightning McQueen and co aren’t ready for the scrapyard just yet.
Rarely is the third film of a franchise any good. Spider-Man 3, The Matrix Revolutions and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End are just a few examples (for the purposes of making a point we’ll ignore War of the Planet of the Apes!).
When it comes to Pixar however, they seem to have a knack when it comes to making that usually dreaded film #3 rather great. They did an amazing job with the third Toy Story and they’ve (generally speaking) done it again with the colourfully high-octane Cars.
The film sees a new generation of blazing-fast and technologically-superior racers – yes, that means more Car toys that your kids will want you to buy them! Which to be fair is one of the main reasons Disney continues to make movies in this franchise despite it being at the lower-end of Pixar’s critically-acclaimed scale.
One of the newbies is Jackson Storm (The Lone Ranger’s Armie Hammer). At the start of the film, we see an epic race between Storm and Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), resulting in the popular reigning champion becoming injured, dethroned and pushed out of the sport he loves.
The movie then shifts gears and sees McQueen desperately trying to prove that ‘95 isn’t through just yet. He signs up with a slick new sponsor named Sterling (Serenity’s Nathan Fillion) and enthusiastic new trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo). Together they plan on putting that world champion title back on McQueen’s bonnet.
Once again credit to Wilson, who really brings McQueen to life with that unique voice and style of his – with newcomer Alonzo deserving immense praise for often stealing the show. In fact their relationship mirrors that of McQueen/Doc Hudson (with the late Paul Newman’s voice being used from archived voiced material) from the first instalment.
Throw in the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Bonnie Hunt, Kerry Washington, Cheech Marin, Chris Cooper, John Ratzenberger and of course, Larry the Cable Guy returning as Mater – Cars 3 isn’t short of voice talent to push the pedal to the metal.
At around an hour and three-quarters long, Cars 3 is about twenty minutes lengthier than any family film should be. Because of that younger kids may get a little restless towards the end. However, with so much going on in the film, the time should race by at lightning speed for most above the age of eight.
If you’re on the lookout for a film to take the kids to see during the summer holidays you could do far worse than this – Cars 3 has its limitations but does what it does well.
It’s more competent rather than spectacular – but they’ve undoubtedly eradicated the memory of the mess that was Cars 2.
Voice Cast: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Armie Hammer, Nathan Fillion, Larry The Cable Guy, Kerry Washington, Chris Cooper, Bonnie Hunt, Cheech Marin, Richard Petty, John Ratzenberger, Lewis Hamilton & Paul Newman
Running Time: 1 Hr 42 Mins
Director: Brian Fee