Cars 3 is a sports/road trip film, and the eighteenth theatrical animated feature from Pixar Animation Studios. The latest generation of hi-tech sports cars have hit the racing circuit, and ageing racing champion Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) realises that his days are limited, following a bad crash when racing Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). Lightning starts to do training with Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), determined to not let his career end. However, can he prove that he does not need to get upgraded with new technology in order to win?
- Like with every Pixar film, the animation is gorgeous. We are offered a rich colour palette, filled with lots of wonderful background detail and texture. The glean on the bonnets of cars, the beauty of nature, it is lovely to look at.
- The narrative has some good messages (even if they are not handled especially well) about how there are more important things in life than your career and your reputation. Meanwhile, the narrative as a whole is far more enjoyable than that of Cars 2, with some decent jokes, and some rather exciting racing scenes.
- Lightning McQueen is not one of the all-time great main Pixar characters, not least due to his love of reputation, but he has some true redeeming characteristics, such as his desire to help Cruz when he learns more of her backstory, and his dedication and respect for his late mentor Doc Hudson (Paul Newman). Cruz is a well realised new character; meanwhile the screenwriters learned from their mistake with Cars 2 and kept Mater a supporting character, enjoyable in small doses.
- The narrative does tread a lot of the ground covered by Cars eleven years ago, not least how Doc Hudson has a big role in helping Lightning change. This does not work as well as it did last time, as the use of the late Paul Newman’s voice, taken from deleted scenes from the first film, does feel quite odd (for lack of a better word).
- There are some poorly realised new supporting characters, including billionaire Sterling (Nathan Fillion); while the return of Chick Hicks (Bob Peterson) proves unwelcome. Meanwhile, returning supporting characters, such as Sally (Bonnie Hunt), are quite underused.
- Several scenes that are slapstick heavy are not that well executed, ergo not particularly enjoyable, which is a bit of a problem for slapstick.