Sunday, June 18, 2017

Cars 3 - Movie Review

The Movie: Cars 3

The Director: Brian Fee

The Cast: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Nathan Fillion, Larry the Cable Guy, Armie Hammer

The Story: Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he's still the best race car in the world.

The Review:
Over the last 22 years, Pixar Animation Studios has produced 18 feature films, most of which have been considered to be highly successful endeavors so I guess you could say they kind of know what they are doing. I was honestly a little nervous about Pixar racing back into the Cars franchise after the second installment turned out to be such an unfortunate cash grab that lacked all of the things that make Pixar movies so special. After about 10 minutes of watching this new film, I could already tell that it was going to be more in line with the original than with the sequel.

First time director Brian Fee, who also co-wrote the story, has been working with Disney animation on some level for many years and it seems like he was a solid choice to take over the reigns of one of their most lucrative franchises. The feeling and emotion of the first movie is much more present than last time around and there's an added sense of nostalgia which is interesting to see as a tool for Pixar to play with now that both they and their audience have very much matured over the years. The creative team does a great job of introducing age and the inevitability of time into McQueen's story and it also gives them a chance to introduce some new characters like Cruz Ramirez, a young race car trainer played by Latina writer and actress Cristela Alonzo.

Pairing her up with Owen Wilson as co leads works perfectly as they play off each other in some really fun ways and you could easily see her as a big part of the franchise moving forward. Adding her in to the mix, as well as a few other new characters like Nathan Fillion as Sterling and Chris Cooper as Smokey really creates a nice balance instead of relying heavily on someone like Mater, played once again by Larry the Cable Guy, who is honestly much better in small doses.

Of course, this wouldn't be a Pixar film without some amazingly rendered animation and this film is no exception. It's always interesting to see how the digital artists are able to create such lifelike imagery and yet they are still able to place it all into that distinct and unmistakable Pixar style. Every frame of the movie could easily be a screensaver image or something you might want to put on your wall at home. I have not seen the movie in 3D although Pixar always does a great job of adding so much depth and texture to the format that I'm sure it looks amazing as well.

The Verdict:
After hitting a speed bump and nearly going completely off track, Pixar shifts gears with Cars 3 and races towards the checkered flag and another successful finish. Yes, the metaphors come easy like a Sunday drive, but there's no denying that this movie should be considered a successful return to glory for one of their most important franchises.

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