Pixar Is Back On Track with ‘Cars 3’ – The Disney Movie Review 136

The Good:

  • New characters bring delightful interactions
  • Animation and sound design are brilliant
  • Moral lesson is impactful
  • Much better than the second film

The Bad:

  • Musical score is lacking
  • Script organization lends itself to misunderstanding character motivations

CARS 3 Spoiler Review

It’s not exactly a compliment to say that Cars 3 is better than Cars 2. The first sequel to the 2006 Cars film is a low point in Pixar’s history. Still, that shouldn’t take away from the quality of Cars 3. In his directorial debut, Brian Fee brings a film that is a treat for the entire family. Listen to our full review below:

An Aging Lightning McQueen

The movie picks up as Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is at the top of his game. However, it soon becomes apparent that newcomer Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) will take the crown as the best racer in the piston cup. McQueen actually has his infamous crash from the trailer while undertaking a last ditch effort to beat Storm.

As he tries to stage a comeback, McQueen is paired with trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) and given one last track to get back on top. The movie follows the pair as they work together to open up McQueen to new abilities. That said, Pixar never truly lets McQueen forget his age. It is one of the central parts of the story that they never let him escape.

Speaking of age, take a listen to a few cool kids review Cars 3 in the mini-episode below.

Diversity in the Cars

It can’t be overstated how much diversity Pixar has included in this movie. One of the coolest parts is when the McQueen and Ramirez meet up with veteran racers River and Lou, two tributes to Wendell Scott, the first African-American NASCAR racer, and Louise Smith, one of the first female NASCAR racer.

This can also be seen in the soundtrack and the songs that have been included in the movie. The are more ethnic artists and songs included in this movie than there were in the first one, which is something I appreciated.

Music is the Low Note

That said, my biggest criticism of the movie is the music. Since it was done by Randy Newman (Toy Story), I would have expected the music to be a highlight. However, this music never quite gets into gear.

For example, there is a moment where McQueen is being asked to retire by his new boss Sterling (Nathan Fillion). The writing and voice actors portray the perfect amount of emotion and somber, but the music is completely inappropriate. It sounds like it was scored more for the beginning of an adventure, rather than the potential end of a career.

A Lesson In Mentorship

More than anything, Cars 3 is a sweet reminder for older individuals to continually invest in the next generation. They hit you over the head with the value of helping the individuals who are coming behind you and how it is important to continually be open to learning.

At one point, Cruz Ramirez tells Lightning “Everyone was taught by somebody.” It instantly reminded me of our interview with the Tony-winning Genie, James Monroe Iglehart. In the interview, he spoke about how important it was for him to have a vocal coach, even though he had already reached such great heights in his career.

Final Rating: 8.25/10

Normally I don’t like quarter points, but this movie really deserves the extra 0.25 points. It’s better than a solid 8, but it doesn’t quite reach an 8.5. If anything, Lou, the animated short that plays before the movie, eclipses Cars 3 in quality and message. That said, Cars 3 is the best sequel Pixar has made that is not named Toy Story. It actually makes me excited to see how they treat stories like Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4.