Review: Cars 3

Pixar’s latest sequel is an amiable, gentile affair. It’s their weakest property narratively, most lucrative in merchandising, and this entry is an undemanding as you’d expect for a third lap around the track. Cars 3 ain’t gonna win any awards but it’s a very sweet-natured entry.

There’s nothing actually bad about Cars 3, as it lightly touches on themes of aging and obsolescence whilst circling over tropes of sentimentality it hammered in the original outing. It’s just the sum of its parts don’t add up to very much. Not that this franchise really ever did, albeit delivering a massive haul in merchandising the likes of which Pixar has never seen (just think about the branding opportunities on a property like this), but to its credit Cars 3 keeps it fairly light and colourful. The addition of a first time director in longtime Pixar stable-boy Brian Fee (who co-wrote this) injects some pep into the homespun story.

It’s the tried and true tale of the old guard being replaced by the new as aging racing legend Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) begins to lose races to the sleek new Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). When McQueen begins to question his ability to win against the faster, newer model, he pushes himself too far and a horrific racing accident occurs. Shamed and heartbroken, he becomes a recluse until his friends usher him out of retirement and into a training program under the banner of millionaire sponsor and super-fan Sterling (Nathan Fillion). It’s here he meets trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) and a new lease on life emerges, alongside a chance meeting with Smokey (Chris Cooper), a friend of a long lost hero of McQueen’s.

This is safe bet cinema that pushes no boundaries and keeps it fairly breezy throughout. Inoffensive, sentimental and mercifully shorter than its predecessors, Cars 3 is arguably the best of the series but when that series is easily the weakest in the Pixar canon, is that saying much?