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‘Cars 3’ Review: A Surprisingly Good Sports Drama, But With Cars

Is Pixar’s Cars franchise worth another lap with Cars 3

One of the stark differences between the Cars movies and many of the other Pixar films is that there’s no explicit purpose for its own high concept…except to sell toys. There’s no real commentary on what it means to be a car or own one, and audiences are instead given a “human” comedy that replaces the characters with cartoon sketches simply for visual and experiential distinction.

Even Zootopia, a Disney film that appears to do the same with animals, allows its story to be controlled and guided by the real implications of a society governed by anthropomorphized animals in order to say something relevant about humans. Pixar’s magic has been to get away from that type of storytelling with films like Toy Story, which commit to the real differences between the plight of toys and the separate experience of being a human.

Go on…‘Cars 3’ Review: A Surprisingly Good Sports Drama, But With Cars

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Pixar’s First ‘Cars 3’ Trailer Promises A Darker, More Interesting Tone For The Series

I’m a bit at a loss with Cars 3 so far, except to point out two key things Pixar is trying to say with this initial advert:

  1. This isn’t Cars.
  2. This isn’t Cars 2.

Specifically, this trailer seems to promise a darker, more visceral movie, perhaps because the younger views of the previous films have grown up with these toys and might be ready for something more mature (and cars crashing on the race track is a grisly, sadly familiar sight). And that’s not even mentioning how much sharper and more visually arresting the visuals are here.

The trailer doesn’t mention this, but the movie will partly focus on Lightning McQueen’s memory of Doc Hudson, who passed between Cars and Cars 2. We’ll also see most of the characters from Radiator Springs again, which probably includes Tow Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy), though that isn’t confirmed. It’s too early to tell at this point what the extent of this “crash” will be for McQueen, and it’s smart to avoid showing his face at all to sell the new tone.

cars 3

I understand that there’s a lot of disdain for the Cars franchise among even the most ardent Pixar lovers. It’s hard to deny that Cars 2 was anything short of a cash grab, made to bank on the surprising merchandising success of the first film, this time starring the comedic sidekick. But I happen to be one of the fans who grew up loving the first Cars, considering it one of my favorites growing up because it came out around the time I was learning to drive. If Cars 3 is anywhere close to being as affecting as that movie, then I’ll personally be satisfied.

 

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