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:
- This isn’t Cars.
- 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.
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.