Synopsis and information obtained from

Grade: B

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Even though the Cars franchise is only 3 movies in, many will be surprised when they realize it has been going on for 11 years. I understand that Disney wants to get as much mileage out of the series as possible, but realistically Cars 3 is starting to show signs of a “midlife crisis.”

After many years on the racing circuit, hero Lightning McQueen is faced with a difficult decision to move on in his career. He is exposed and beaten by the “next generation” of cars led by newcomer Jackson Storm. McQueen has the self deprecating realization that his “old technology” parts are not on the same level as these new model cars. This forces him to analyze his career and contemplates hanging up his tires for good.

If this sounds familiar to some, in essence the first twenty five minutes of the movie is an automobile version of Rocky 4. He even has a “never-say-die” attitude and even receives help from a “trainer-car” by the name of Cruz Ramirez. Cruz quickly realizes that the new fangled simulators just do not work with McQueen and they have to resort to using the “old school” methods of training for the pivotal race with Storm.

Much like how Rocky used the simpler methods of training to prepare for Ivan Drago (whose training was very technology laced), McQueen heads back to the simple dirt track his late mentor, Doc Hudson, used. As his faith in self grows, further motivation to win against Storm comes in the form of his sponsor Rust-Eze getting bought out.

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This story attempts to answer the age old question of “can the old compete with the new?” Cars 3 does drive home a decent flick, albeit not too original. It was a blessing that Pixar departed from the nonsensical espionage adventure that was Cars 2. Still not sure what they were thinking there.

Narrative aside, the animation was done exceptionally well. With the extra advancements under the hoods of the computers used to create the film, you are treated to visual improvements. The colors seemed to be brighter and Cars 3 uses the backdrops of forests to rolling hills in a montage (again very Rocky-esque) while traveling across the USA to the big race. It all looked beautiful.

The voice acting was naturally amazing. The whole cast was back for this installment but due to the nature of the story focussing on McQueen and Cruz, other characters are not seen as much. The largest disappointment for me was that my favorite character Mater had to take a back seat. 

A large element that was missing from this theatre experience was laughter. Cars 3 is not nearly as funny as the original because the story takes on a more serious tone. I wanted to laugh more at jokes that would have gone over kids’ heads, but the script was seriously lacking in this department. Although there was comedic relief with the demolition derby scene and the initial banter with McQueen and Cruz, it was pretty dry throughout. 

Approaching the checkered flag, Cars 3 is a decent picture that does ramp up a good message to kids (especially for girls, but I can't say why without spoiling the movie). It was good to cheer on McQueen again and see the fun gang of Radiator Springs on screen for the third time. More than likely, there will be another Cars movie and I would go see it in the hopes that it can some how get back into the same lane as their first installment. Cars 3 is better than Cars 2 but not as good as the original. That being said, if you’re a fan of the franchise you don’t want to miss this one. Ka-chow!!!! 


STARRING: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Cheech Marin, Kerry Washington, Nathan Fillion, Lea DeLaria, Armie Hammer, Cristela Alonzo, Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suárez, Bubba Wallace
GENRE: Animation, Family

Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez, with her own plan to win, plus inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage!

Follow Billy M. on Twitter: @TheMovieGrader