The Cars franchise, ever since the first movie’s release back in 2006, has always been looked at somewhat as the black sheep of the Pixar filmography.
Why? Well, damned if I know.
I loved the first Cars film and enjoyed the second one for the spy-spoof caper it was well enough. So needless to say, I was quite excited going into the third film
and boy, it did not disappoint.
A washed out Lightning McQueen tries to get back into the game by winning one last race against younger, more faster cars, all the while coming to terms with his old age and his limitations. This is the gist of this latest Cars instalment and while you won’t be blamed for thinking this to be a predictable ‘Rocky-esque’ scenario, Pixar (once again) manages to exceed your expectations in a truly poignant and bittersweet fashion that I for one, found refreshingly surprising.
First of all, I need to applaud Pixar on the sheer audacity they had to take one of their beloved characters, perhaps the most beloved if toy sales are to be believed, and make him old and not as fast or self-confident as he once used to be.
Hell, in a lot of ways, Cars 3 does to Lightning McQueen what Logan did to Wolverine and in both cases, the results are astounding. For instance, this film, unlike almost every other major animated film I’ve seen, isn’t about overcoming the odds, it’s more about facing and accepting them. Such a unique and truly profound life lesson in a franchise with talking cars is something only Pixar could’ve pulled off, and they do so with aplomb. The film also has a tone maintained throughout that has an air of ‘the last one’, not unlike movies like ‘Creed‘ or ‘Rocky Balboa‘.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the breathtaking, photo-realistic animation that Pixar has achieved in the film, which in all honesty, shouldn’t be surprising at this point, given Pixar’ s exemplary track record but this film serves to prove that Pixar is simply on another level technically. A specific sequence that I won’t spoil here features a lot of mud that looked so real that I couldn’t help but be amazed.
The showing of the film I went to also had a short film called ‘Lou‘ shown before the main feature that is also sure to surprise you with just how unique and emotional a concept it showcases. A sort of satisfying appetizer before a wholesome meal.
The main characters in Cars 3 themselves are suitably cartoonish, but the environments and surroundings are so photo-realistic that if you were to look at the shots in the film without any of the characters present, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking it to be live-action.
Surprisingly mature and refreshingly poignant, Cars 3 is Pixar firing at all cylinders to tell a story that both kids and adults alike are sure to appreciate. Kids, for the excitement and adults, for the film’s themes and introspective nature. This is a film that reminded me why I love Pixar’s animated features and hopefully, it’ll remind you too.
Rating: 8.5 / 10