Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
Looking for something a little strange this weekend? The Sydney Underground Film Festival is on! Click to check out our reviews...x
review, Cars 3, Cars, 3, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Armie Hammer, Bonnie Hunt, Larry The Cable Guy, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington, Lea Delaria, Tony Shalhoub, Brian Free, Brian Fee, Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family film rating




By Daniel Lammin
18th June 2017

The 'Cars' franchise is probably the strangest anomaly of the Pixar films. The original has spawned sequels, shorts and companion films, as well as a wave of merchandise, and yet the films have been lukewarmly received at best. By comparison to the best the studio has to offer, the 'Cars' films feel slight and uninspired. Pixar clearly see something to pursue though, as we now have ‘Cars 3’, the third official film in the franchise. Does this new chapter improve on the others, or offer the same forgettable experience?

Lighting McQueen (Owen Wilson) has his position as a champion racer challenged by a new breed of elite racers. Determined to remain on top, he ends up in a crippling accident that forces him to start from scratch. Encouraged by his new trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) and the memory of his old trainer Doc Hudson (the late Paul Newman), McQueen has to find his drive again or admit defeat with the future ahead.

For all their faults, the previous Cars films at least had a sense of humour and a kind of harmless charm. Both these things are surprisingly lacking from ‘Cars 3’, making it the weakest film in a series that wasn’t particularly strong to begin with. Debut director Brian Fee makes a valiant attempt to reconnect the franchise with the tone and texture of the original film, but he lacks the snap and humour of John Lasseter to make it work, and the film feels a old-fashioned and lacking in spark. The screenplay relies heavily on McQueen’s emotional memories of Doc Hudson, resulting in far too many self-reflexive scenes at the cost of action, and a non-cocky McQueen just isn’t a strong enough character to drive the narrative forward or hold attention. Both the original characters and the new ones are inadequate sketches as opposed to anything substantial, making it hard to genuine care about any of them. This might sound ridiculous when we’re talking about a film full of talking cars, but feeling for them is very much what the film wants us to do. It’s so full of misplaced emotion that it ends up just feeling obnoxious and a tad boring. Even the weakest of Pixar films tend to have at least some technical merit, but ‘Cars 3’ isn’t even a particularly strong technical achievement. The animation may be more refined than previous entries, but it’s pretty much the same as you would expect. In fact, its reliance on the original film ends up working against it, making the film look and feel predictable.


You could maybe argue that great filmmaking and storytelling aren't the point with these films, and that entertaining children is more important, but ‘Cars 3’ fails even in this respect by relying on long dialogue scenes and heavy emotions, offering little to keep kids entertained. The race scenes have a kind of familiar thrill, but again, it’s a trick we’ve seen before from these films, and the new characters don’t add anything fresh to the film. Pixar have always excelled at world-building, but the world of Cars isn’t as thought-through and considered as their others, and those gaps in the world-building (which ‘Cars 3’ can’t seem to fill) leave plenty of places for audiences to fall in and lose interest, regardless of their age.

It’s so full of misplaced emotion that it ends up just feeling obnoxious and a tad boring.

The only thing ‘Cars 3’ has working in its favour is the addition of Crus Ramirez, the only sympathetic character in the film. Her journey is the most interesting, from a trainer to a racer with the potential to exceed McQueen, and while she is unfortunately still a female character only given a chance to succeed by the men around her, it’s nice to see Pixar shift the focus to someone for girls to connect with in a film that's exhaustingly masculine.

Any suggestion from the publicity material that ‘Cars 3’ was a step in a new and exciting direction for the franchise disappears within minutes of the film itself. This is pretty much business as usual, almost entirely to the film’s detriment. ‘Cars 3’ is harmless, forgettable, humourless and dull, easily the weakest film in both this franchise and in Pixar’s wider body of work. There’s little to appreciate about it, and with this being the third weak film in a row for Pixar, suggests that the once great animation studio really need to take a moment and rethink where they’re going. Films like ‘Cars 3’ just don’t do their legacy justice.

RELEASE DATE: 22/06/2017
RUN TIME: 1h 49m
CAST: Owen Wilson
Cristela Alonzo
Chris Cooper
Armie Hammer
Bonnie Hunt
Larry The Cable Guy
Nathan Fillion
Kerry Washington
Lea Delaria
Tony Shalhoub
Brian Fee
WRITERS: Robert L. Baird
Daniel Gerson
PRODUCER: Kevin Reher
Nekrotronic - A mind-bending, genre-mashing, sci-fi-horror film
TRENDINGWIN NEKROTRONICA mind-bending, genre-mashing, sci-fi-horror film
Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2019 - The tastes, sights and sounds of Italy on the big screen
TRENDINGWIN LAVAZZA ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL 2019The tastes, sights and sounds of Italy on the big screen
Ride Like a Girl - Michelle Payne's Melbourne Cup win rides onto the big screen
TRENDINGWIN RIDE LIKE A GIRLMichelle Payne's Melbourne Cup win rides onto the big screen
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Terrifying tales come to life
Dreamland - Surrealist noir
Sydney Underground Film Festival 2019 - The reviews
Braid - A dark and unhinged fairytale
TRENDINGBRAIDA dark and unhinged fairytale
And Then We Danced - A passionate and remarkable classic in the making
TRENDINGAND THEN WE DANCEDA passionate and remarkable classic in the making
Freaks - Slow-burn science-fiction drama
TRENDINGFREAKSSlow-burn science-fiction drama
Downton Abbey - Transition from TV to film not as classy as expected
TRENDINGDOWNTON ABBEYTransition from TV to film not as classy as expected
The Keeper - The true story of the Nazi goalkeeper and the English girl
TRENDINGTHE KEEPERThe true story of the Nazi goalkeeper and the English girl
Good Boys - More than just a young 'Superbad'
TRENDINGGOOD BOYSMore than just a young 'Superbad'
Granny Poetry Club - Growing old, friendship, learning and poetry
TRENDINGGRANNY POETRY CLUBGrowing old, friendship, learning and poetry
Top End Wedding - Outback fantastic
Dora and the Lost City of Gold - Dora meets Indiana Jones (and a song about poop)
TRENDINGDORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLDDora meets Indiana Jones (and a song about poop)
The Angry Birds Movie 2 - Flying a little bit higher the second time around
TRENDINGTHE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2Flying a little bit higher the second time around
Portrait of a Lady on Fire - A perfect film on the language of desire
TRENDINGPORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIREA perfect film on the language of desire
Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan - Close to home
Ladyworld - Experimental thriller not so thrilling
TRENDINGLADYWORLDExperimental thriller not so thrilling
Judy & Punch - A dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
TRENDINGJUDY & PUNCHA dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us