Cars 3

 

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The third chapter in the vehicular franchise moves up a gear but not off the formula of the circuit.

 

Cars 3

Newman's back - and McQueen's got him! 

   

It’s not how fast you go, but how smart you are. This is the maxim that Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) must learn, when the legendary stock car loses the Piston Cup to a brash newcomer, Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). However, while Jackson knows his numbers and his tyre pressure and aerodynamics, he’s not so good with the other cars, his arrogance alienating all but his own sponsor. And if Lightning is to compete again he requires more than an overhaul. So he’s taken under the wing of Sterling (Nathan Fillion), a promoter who reckons that Lightning needs to be completely re-trained…

 

Yeh, we’re talking cars here. More specifically, we’re talking about talking cars. Computer animation has given voice to all sorts of inanimate objects, but cars – that’s a tall order. Well, this being the product of Pixar, the company successfully brought a number of racers and jalopies to anthropomorphic life in their 2006 hit, Cars. It was the astonishing animation that really distinguished the first film, rather than any emotional or comic traction. Cars 2, set in Tokyo, Italy and London, was just silly, which means this third chapter just about moves into pole position in the franchise. There’s some nice sexual frisson between Lightning and his new trainer, Cruz Ramirez (stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo), and plenty of playful visual invention. But considering that seven writers contributed to the screenplay, one might have hoped for something a little less formulaic. Moral: you have to believe in yourself.

 

For asphalt aficionados and film nerds there are plenty of in-jokes, but the biggest shock is hearing the voice of the late Paul Newman as Lightning’s mentor, Doc Hudson. Apparently there was enough unused dialogue and banter in between takes from the first film, that the filmmakers were able to string together some new lines for Cars 3.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Voices of  Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Armie Hammer, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington, Lea DeLaria, Tony Shalhoub, John Ratzenberger, Lewis Hamilton, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Margo Martindale, Kyle Petty, Paul Dooley, Cheech Marin, Jenifer Lewis, Katherine Helmond, Paul Newman.

 

Dir Brian Fee, Pro Kevin Reher, Screenplay Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson and Mike Rich, from a story by Brian Fee, Ben Queen, Eyal Podell and Jonathan E. Stewart, Ph Jeremy Lasky and Kim White, Ed Jason Hudak, Music Randy Newman.

 

Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios-Walt Disney.

108 mins. USA. 2017. Rel: 14 July 2017. Cert. U.