Is the Third Time a Charm for the Cars Franchise?


By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)​

The big question I have after watching Cars 3 is if there is anymore gasoline to keep this franchise moving? Technically, this film has Lightning McQueen’s story finish running its course. When younger and sleeker looking hotshots are coming into the field of competitive racing, the “older” generation can not compete. Some opt to retire and for McQueen, he can leave with his head held high or go do something else. Sadly, when an accident nearly destroys him, the question of when he will come back, if he does, if put into question.

This main plot point is a great one to show to anyone watching this computer animated film that life is not over unless you want it to. Director Brian Fee certainly drives the point home in a story he developed with Ben Queen, Eyal Podell and Jonathan E. Stewart. The visuals developed by PIXAR always improves with each new film. If the car’s front did not have faces, the illusion of watching a real race is perfect. Add the camera angles of being positioned like you’re watching it from the perspective of the latest camera equipment mounted on varying vehicles and drones in the track, I swear I am right there.


Although the story is very predictable, the way the subplots melds into one another is very fluid.  Cars 3 introduces a new character  (Cruz Ramirez) and she has a big stake in the tale. McQueen’s confidence needs boosting and his skills needs improvement. This canary yellow coloured car has all the knowledge needed to help him take on these new contenders. Although her job is to simply train new racers, she wants to have a go in the track too.

The movie has enough emotional content to examine both interests to make it a success. But as for wanting more, I really do not need to see the franchise continue. Thankfully an interview with Fee on Cinemablend suggests there won’t be.

I still think PIXAR continued this series because Disney required them to as part of the acquisition deal. I loved the first film, but the second was unneeded and unnecessary. It never felt like a true in-house product. The fact the mouse released Planes years later with a similar morphology only affirms a concept the animation division wanted in a planes, trains and automobile shared universe. Sadly no railroad tycoon ever emerged, as the romance with the steam engine only conjures visions of travelling on the Orient Express. Now wouldn’t that be a sight!

3 Engine Revvs out of 5

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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