While not a Pixar animated classic like Finding Nemo or Toy Story, the 2006 racing adventure Cars was nonetheless a fun, fast and bright kids movie. After a 2011 sequel that expanded the story to include an ill-advised spy plot, Cars 3 benefits from a return to the racetrack for racing car Lightning McQueen and his four-wheeled pals.
This time around, the plot focuses on the fact that Lightning (Wilson) is no longer the best racer on the circuit – he’s been overtaken by a new breed of sports car led by Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). Storm and his fellow racers are faster thanks to new technology and training methods, so if Lightning wants to compete with the new kids he’s going to have to train like them, too. Peppy trainer Cruz (Alonzo) is brought in to show Lightning all the new tricks – including running machines, car yoga and a race simulator – in a bid to help him win rather than face retirement like his friends.
Some of the favourite characters from Cars make an appearance – including Mater, Sally, Chick Hicks and Doc Hudson (the late Paul Newman’s voice taken from recordings he made but were not used in the first movie) – but the movie focuses on Lightning and Cruz, and they make for a fun team (she’s all statistics and indoor training, he just wants to race outdoors the old-fashioned way).
Of course, there are the usual plot-slowing, navel-gazing moments about following your dreams, not giving up, and even remaining relevant in this technological age (kids may not pick up on that one), but there are humorous scenes between the pair as well, especially when they accidentally end up competing in a demolition derby ruled by a rampaging school bus.
There are plenty of races, too, each filmed with the colourful verve you expect from Pixar, and some stunning animation (check out the backdrops, they’re really eye-wideningly impressive) in this enjoyable finale to the Cars trilogy.
Is Cars 3 suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
A scene in a demolition derby, in which cars are smashed, may upset very young (under age 4) viewers.
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