The Cars franchise is one of those examples from Pixar that appears to go against the grain of the usual. It doesn’t, at first glance at least, appear to have gone through the same rigorous process they go through in research and development, particularly not Cars 2, would 3 be any different?

Have you seen Cars 2? No? That’s probably a good thing, particularly in terms of continuing the story for Cars 3 as it’s like it was all a dream.

It never happened, instead we come full circle, something that newcomer Cruz Ramirez, Cristela Alonzo (Cristela (TV), Mind of Mencia (TV)), says a lot.

We’re back at the race tracks of the world in the Piston Cup series. Only, things are changing, or that should be, times they are a changing.

Lightning McQueen and his buddies are no long the top dogs. Now the rookies are coming through, with their fancy training methods and racing by numbers, wind tunnels, drag coefficients etc, etc.

As rookie Jackson Storm, Armie Hammer (The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Lone Ranger), breaks records and wins more and more races. The older boys retire, eventually leaving just McQueen, with everyone wondering when he’ll do the same.

McQueen has other ideas however and channelling Paul Newman’s Doc from the first Cars, McQueen tries to get back into racing, to be the best, except, these days, is that what he’s best at?

I’ve got to say that I never thought Pixar would go down this route with a franchise of theirs. They always seem so tight on story, much more interested in getting the elements right than out to make a fast buck.

How times have changed. I guess we should have seen it coming with Cars 2, a strange James Bond-esq thang that didn’t really fit in with, well, anything.

Cars 3 ignores all those shenanigans and takes us back to the track, bring things full circle, shows us things we’ve already seen. That’s right, it seems even Pixar aren’t immune to the current trend of churning out films that are almost carbon copies of others in the series.

I’m being facetious, Cars 3 isn’t that bad, but it’s not great, not by a long shot. Owen Wilson as McQueen is a shade of his former self. The rest of the voice cast aren’t exactly what you’d call stellar.

Nathan Fillion (he of Castle TV fame) plays the apparently evil rich-man who wants to make money from McQueen’s legacy. Although, he is neither evil nor memorable, or of any consequence really.

Armie Hammer as Jackson Storm could be anyone. The character development of Storm is about as thin as the paper it must have been written on.

When, inevitably, McQueen goes in search of the man who trained Doc, he finds Smokey, Chris Cooper (American Beauty, The Bourne Identity), who it will come as no surprise sounds like and acts like Doc.

Ramirez (no, I’ve no idea either), isn’t bad however the character is almost the same as Sally (the Porsche) from the first film. Oh, Lewis Hamilton pops up as a SIRI type character, honestly I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t have looked it up.

 

Here’s hoping the Cars franchise is sent to the scrap yard and Pixar can get back to what they do best. Wonderful, original, films.

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