Cars 3 marks yet another installment the Pixar franchise that nobody really wanted or asked for, but here it is. Fans of the first film will find this a good improvement over the second, but at the same time, that statement doesn’t really amount to more than just damning with faint praise.
Owen Wilson returns as the voice of Lightning McQueen, the fast-riding race car still wanting to be the best at what he does but lately he’s hit a speed bump thanks to a younger model named Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). Storm is a newer car with a lot more under the hood than McQueen in more ways than one.
Soon McQueen starts believing he isn’t the racer he once was and decides to go on a odyssey of sorts to help get his mojo back. He gets help from the likes of a spunky, enthusiastic trainer (Cristela Alonzo) and of course, his trusty tow-truck sidekick Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). He also encounters his old mentor’s mentor (Chris Cooper) who supplies the best voicework in the entire film. Despite spouting off one fortune-cookie sentiment after another, Cooper provides the emotional anchor leading up to the finale.
Of course everything leads up to the one-on-one showdown between McQueen and Storm. Cars 3 isn’t a bad movie by any means and there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. It’s a good-looking movie with some nice moments, but it stalls a lot during its first half with a lot of training montages that aren’t particularly exciting and when we do get to the climax, it plays things too safe and predictable for there to be any real kind of jeopardy.
This movie is cute and harmless for kids, but that’s really about all it’s got going for it under the hood. Why this particular movie got a series over other better Pixar properties is befuddling, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we got a fourth one somewhere down the road. It’s 109 minutes long, but 111 minutes after it crosses the finish line, you won’t remember any real kind of winner.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.