Movie Review – Cars 3 and Lou

TL;DR – It starts really formulaic but then it hits you right in the feels

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

P.S. – There is a post credit scene

Cars 3. Image Credit: Pixar/Disney.

Cars have always been the odd one out of the Pixar films, some found the cartoon cars charming, others heralded it the beginning of the end of Pixar, for me I just found them to be ok, nothing more, and nothing less, the Thor’s of the Pixar catalogue. So it has been six years since Cars 2 a movie didn’t end up seeing because, to be honest, it didn’t sound all that good. This led to a bit of apprehension before seeing Cars 3, was it a chance for Pixar to show that they had learned from their mistakes, or was this just simply another toy cash grab, because Cars merchandise has been a real boon for Disney. Well, can it be both?

Lou is beautiful in every way. Lou. Image Credit: Pixar/Disney.
Lou is beautiful in every way. Image Credit: Pixar/Disney.

So before we really dig into Cars 3 I want to take a moment of time to look at the Pixar short film that ran before Cars, Lou. Lou, or as I have seen it titled in places Lost and Found, is this beautiful and absolutely charming short film. Lou is a spirit living in a primary school’s lost and found box who embodies what is left is left in the box at the end of the day. It tries to get all the lost items back to who they belong to, but there are always items left at the end of the day. The animation of Lou is some of Pixar’s best, the movements are fluid but ever changing given the nature of Lou being all sorts of different items held together. I won’t spoil the story but, I would say that Lou is worth the price of admission alone.

So to set the scene is has been a couple of years since the last film and Lightning (Owen Wilson) is still on the top of his game on the Piston Cup having one of the best seasons along with his friends and fellow racers. Well, that is until a new racer Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) arrives on the scene, Jackson is a new breed of racer, fast, sleek, and a bit of a dick. Well soon these new racers are taking over the track and all of Lightning’s friend have retired or been replaced, and in a moment of hubris, Lightning tries to catch up to Jackson only to lose control and crash. Fast forward to the start of the next season and Lightning is back at Radiator Springs sulking in his garage when Sally (Bonnie Hunt) gets him out of his funk and the long complicated road to recovery begins. I do have to say that this is a good start for your movie, however, it is also a really generic opener. The sports star coming back from an injury is a very familiar story and Cars 3 follows that path almost to a tee. Unnecessary fighting, check, a corporate sponsor applying pressure, check, a rival that is an ass so you really, really want to beat him, check, and I could go on. Thankfully it doesn’t stay that way throughout the film as it switched gears about half way through.

What starts of as a straight forward story, thankfully does not end as one. Cars 3. Image Credit: Pixar/Disney.
What starts of as a straight forward story, thankfully does not end as one. Image Credit: Pixar/Disney.

While the story is important another thing we have to talk about is the animations because they are a very interesting juxtaposition of the overly cartoonish and the super realistic. On the one hand, you have the cars that have an interesting but clearly overly cartoonish in their style. Ok quick aside, honestly how does this world work, like everything is set up for humans but they are all gone, how did the Cars come about, how do they make more Cars, also there are none who could make all the things that need small hands with an opposable thumb to create. Like it is a children’s film I know, but I do get a bit weirded out when the question ‘where are all the humans can get raised’. But back on topic, while we have these overly cartoonish cars, at times they are placed in locations that could be almost photo realistic. You see this the most when the gang gets to Thomasville and starts to drive around the old dirt track and in and around the forest. The amount of detail in what seems to be a very drab location on the surface, well it is a testament to all the animators that worked on this movie.

Now as I said Cars 3 starts with a very generic setup and it continues along on this path till about half way through when it starts to reveal its true nature in the aftermath of the destruction derby. [SPOILERS] It is at this point where all of Lightning’s issues come to ahead and he sees what an ass he has been to those around him, mostly Cruz (Cristela Alonzo) his trainer who frankly has more drive than Lightning. See this is where Pixar excels in its story making, by taking themes that other movies would consider to be too adult for children and then smacking them down in the middle of their films. In Cars 3 you are dealing with becoming obsolete through no fault of your own, getting old and watching the world change around you, how someone’s absence from your life can still have a profound effect on you even years later. Now, of course, Pixar has touched on these in other films like Toy Story, but it used very effectively here because it helps with the trajectory shift in Lightning’s character. As well as this, I liked that there were no real villains throughout the film, sure you have antagonists but they are not villains. Jackson is a dick but he’s not evil, Sterling (Nathan Fillion) might want Lightning to stop racing but that comes from what is a sound business decision from his perspective, even Miss Fritter (Lea DeLaria) isn’t evil, just very passionate about destruction derbies. All of these factors mean that there is a point when the emotions hit, and they hit hard. [End of SPOILERS]

There are no villains, though there are some real asses. Cars 3. Image Credit: Pixar/Disney.
There are no villains, though there are some real asses. Image Credit: Pixar/Disney.

So, in the end, can I recommend Lou and Cars 3, well yes of course, as I said I would recommend it for Lou alone, and that is just the six-minute short film at the start. Cars 3 lulls you into thinking that it is a very straight forward film, one you have seen many times before and then hits you with an emotional two-by-four.

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched Cars 3 or Lou?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.

Cars 3
Directed by
– Brian Fee
Screenplay by – Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson & Mike Rich
Story By – Brian Fee, Ben Queen, Eyal Podell & Jonathan E. Stewart
Music by – Randy Newman
Cinematography by – Jeremy Lasky & Kim White
Edited by – Jason Hudak
– Owen Wilson, Armie Hammer, Cristela Alonzo, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Chris Cooper, Nathan Fillion, Tony Shalhoub, Guido Quaroni, Lea DeLaria, Kerry Washington, Bob Peterson, John Ratzenberger & Paul Newman
Rating – Australia: G; Canada: G; Germany: na; New Zealand: G; United Kingdom: na; United States: G

Directed by
– Dave Mullins
Screenplay by – Dave Mullins
Music by
– Christophe Beck
Cinematography by – Adam Habib
Edited by – Anthony J. Greenberg
– Jim Broadbent
Rating – Australia: G; Canada: G; Germany: na; New Zealand: G; United Kingdom: na; United States: G


2 thoughts on “Movie Review – Cars 3 and Lou

  1. Pingback: Movie Review – Olaf’s Frozen Adventure  | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

  2. Pingback: Movie Review – Bao | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

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