Monday, June 26, 2017
Cars 3 Review
The big thing that caught most people off guard with this film was that first teaser trailer. We had that really dark, shocking moment where Lightning McQueen gets in a major accident, which was followed by a statement that said something to the effect of "from here on, everything changes." That made people wonder if we were going to get a dark, deep, emotional Pixar film that would end up in the top tier of Pixar films. Effective teaser, I admit. But I didn't buy it. I had no idea what they meant when they said that everything was about to change and after seeing the movie I still don't know what that means. But a teaser is a teaser. All I got out of that is that we were going back to the racetrack with this film and that towards the beginning, Lightning McQueen was going to get in a wreck and experience some sort of other setback, but then we would proceed with a cliche sports movie where he spends time training and improving before going back on the track for one more go of it at whoever this new racer was. Do you know what? I hate to toot my own horn, but that's exactly what we got with this movie. It's a cliche sports/racing movie with no major twists or turns that is only here because the "Cars" franchise is second only to "Star Wars" in toy sales.
Most of this movie is a bunch of drama about Lightning McQueen being old news. He's been the king of racing for a while, but now we have a whole host of new racers that are simply better than Lightning McQueen. They are updated cars with fancier technology. The world is moving forward while Lightning McQueen is stuck in the past. He refuses to accept the fact that world is changing and that he needs change with it if he wants to stay relevant. There's new ways to train. New technology to work with. Things that could make him better. But he refuses to accept any of it as he would prefer to train by going to race on the dirt tracks and other old-fashioned ways that have always worked for him. So basically he has become Doc Hudson and he has to learn how to deal with it and he's not doing a very good job. This is all fine and dandy on paper if the movie itself had any actual focus or emotion. Which is unfortunate because, speaking of Doc Hudson, the entire movie is practically a tribute to the late Paul Newman, the legendary actor who voiced Doc Hudson in the first movie, but passed away before they could make "Cars 2." Way too much happening in this movie and not enough voice actors seeming like they even care about this movie they're making.
If the movie had decided to pick one angle with the training and run with it, then I may have been able to give this a pass. The idea of the world leaving the older generations in the dust is a real issue that could've made for a classic Pixar film that entertains kids while leaving adults in deep thought. Bring Lightning McQueen into the new training facility with this hard-nosed trainer and let the two duke it out emotionally like one of our "Rocky" movies. Instead of having one big training sequences that is fleshed out, we get four different training sequences with each new sequence shifting gears thematically and tonally. Thus when we finally got to the final race that's going to determine whether or not Lightning McQueen's career continues, given a deal that him and new boss man make, I didn't feel like we had given Lightning McQueen enough time to be ready because the movie couldn't make a decision on how it wanted to go about things after Lightning McQueen's big crash in the first act. A proper sports movie hinges on the second act of the film. If that second act succeeds, then our final sporting moment has the emotional weight to make us care about the final outcome. Because of this failure, the final act of this movie lacked this emotional weight to make things work.
Speaking of tiers of Pixar movies, I have determined in my mind that there are five tiers of Pixar movies. Bring out your torches and pitchforks ladies and gentlemen, because I'm going to quickly place all of Pixar's movies into those tiers. The top tier are the Pixar classics. The masterpieces that you turn to time and time again. For this I'm going with "Toy Story 3," "Toy Story," "The Incredibles," "Monsters, Inc.," "Finding Nemo," "Inside Out" and "Up." Just under that level, but not quite at the masterpiece level, are our second tier of Pixar movies. This includes "Finding Dory," "Toy Story 2" and "Ratatouille." In our third tier, our good but not great level, I'm including "Brave," "A Bug's Life," "WALL-E" and "Cars." Jumping down to our very bottom tier, the fifth tier of awful Pixar movies, luckily there is only one. "Cars 2." But it's in the fourth tier of Pixar movies, the disappointments, where "Cars 3" belongs." As I mentioned, with it are "The Good Dinosaur" and "Monsters University." The ending of "Cars 2" moved it up from the fifth tier to the fourth tier, but the rest of this movie was bad enough for me to comfortable declare it belongs no higher and is unfortunately the second worst Pixar film. I'm giving "Cars 3" a 6/10, and even that feels a bit generous.