Cars 3 is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated comedy-adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Brian Fee in his directorial debut and written by Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson, and Mike Rich, it is the third installment of the Cars film series and the stand-alone sequel to 2011's Cars 2. It was executive-produced by then-chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, John Lasseter, who directed the first two Cars films. The film had a special screening for the NASCAR industry in Kannapolis, North Carolina on May 23, 2017. The world premiere was held in Anaheim, California on June 10, 2017. Cars 3 was released in theaters on Friday, June 16, 2017, in the United States, in 3D, Dolby Cinema and selected IMAX theaters.
Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast and advanced technology cars, the legendary Lightning McQueen, now very old, finds himself pushed out of the sport that he loves. Hoping to get back in the game, he turns to Cruz Ramirez, an eager young technician who has her own plans for winning. With inspiration from the Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns, No. 95 prepares to compete on Piston Cup Racing's biggest stage.
Why It Rocks
- It is a massive improvement over its predecessor by featuring a nice and better story that once again focuses on Lightning and his sport of racing instead of focusing on Mater and a spy-themed adventure. Besides that, Mater also has his characterization back from the first film back after he was written to being an unlikeable and immature idiot in Cars 2.
- Great voice acting both from actors and NASCAR drivers, including Chase Elliott, Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suárez, Ryan Blaney, etc.
- More advanced and solid animation than previous Pixar films.
- The designs of the Next-Gen racers, especially Jackson Storm, are colorful and futuristic.
- The Florida 500 racetrack is a huge and impressive spectacle.
- The film has likable and great characters much like the first film; in fact, several characters from the first film return, including Doc Hudson (see below), Chick Hicks, The King, etc.
- The film features a ton of references to the first two films, such as Doc's death, his medical office being converted into a racing museum, Lightning's newly-installed headlights, a cameo of Jeff Gorvette, a picture of Miles Axelrod in Sterling's office, and a TV screen showing John and Nancy, the two cars in Paris, kissing.
- A suitable plot for a Pixar movie.
- The demolition derby scene is entertaining and a sort of inside joke for how Cars 2 was like: violent, chaotic, and noisy.
- It pays tribute to Paul Newman's character Doc Hudson by showing him in many different flashbacks throughout the movie.
- Some of the lines never get old, like "This one's for you, Doc." and "I decide when I'm done."
- The new characters are entertaining and likable, such as Cruz Ramirez and Smokey.
- Brilliant musical score thanks to Randy Newman (composer of the first film) returning to compose it.
- Much like the first two films, the story is slightly predictable with Rocky III-esque elements in it. It does also get pretty slow at times.
- Jackson Storm is pretty much a one-dimensional character and not as funny as Chick Hicks, being an arrogant jerk like Lightning was in the first film to the point where he seems more like a hurdle for McQueen to cross more than a legitimate threat. In fact, Sterling actually seems more like the villain than him. Not only that, Sterling is just a weak antagonist as well.
- Bob Peterson is a bit of a step-down from Michael Keaton as the voice of Chick Hicks. Granted, Keaton was unavailable due to filming his scenes as the Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but still.
- Depending on who you ask, some scenes are too intense and violent for a G-rated film (though not as much as the second film), particularly the scene where Lighting McQueen crashes as well as the demolition derby scene.
- Mia and Tia, two of McQueen's racing fans from the previous 2 films, are absent from the film and are seemingly replaced by a smaller and younger car named Maddy McGear; it's never even explained what happened to them. Likewise, it is never explained what happened to Sterling after Tex Dinoco bought Rust-eze from him at the end; all that is mentioned is that Tex gave Sterling a "Texas-sized offer".
- While the film does bring back many characters from the first film, none of the characters introduced in the second film returned here, with Finn McMissile, Holly Shiftwell and Francesco Bernoulli not seeming to exist anymore and doesn't acknowledge the events of the second film, although there are still many of references to the first two films, such as a cameo from Jeff Gorvette and Sir Miles Axlerod in a photo at Sterling's office, even though the latter could have made an appearance to show if he was going to be replaced with better racers. It may have been done because the second film had a mixed reception world wide to the point even Pixar knows it is bad enough to forget it is worth existing.
Cars 3 received mainly positive reviews from critics, audiences and fans alike who praised it as an improvement over its predecessor as well as its emotional story and animation. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 70% based on 227 reviews with an average rating of 6.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Cars 3 has an unexpectedly poignant story to go with its dazzling animation, suggesting Pixar's most middle-of-the-road franchise may have a surprising amount of tread left". On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 59 out of 100, based on reviews from 41 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Cars 3 grossed $152.9 million in the United States and Canada and $231 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $383.9 million, against a production budget of $175 million.
- The original ending has Lightning McQueen win the Florida 500 over Jackson Storm, instead of Cruz serving as a relief car and her and Lightning being declared co-champions. This was changed as it was decided that it would make Cruz's line to Lightning about her dream of becoming a racer pointless.
- This is the only film in the Cars franchise that wasn't directed by John Lasseter (former CEO of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios); despite this, he was still involved as executive producer.
- Regarding a possible Cars 4, Cars 3 producers Kevin Reher and Andrea Warren stated speaking to Cinema Blend that "If there's a good story to tell, I mean, our heads kinda break after having gotten this one done, like Oh my god, what could you do the further adventures of? But like any sequel, from Toy Story 4 to Incredibles 2, as long as there's a good story to tell it's worth investing, we do love these characters, we love them as much as the public does." Regarding which character would be the main protagonist in the film, Reher and Warren stated that "if Cruz is a breakout character, kind of like Mater was, she would be involved in a 4". Owen Wilson stated at a Cars 3 press event that possible stories have been discussed for a Cars 4, though he would personally like for a fourth Cars film to delve into aspects of the thriller genre, akin to Cars 2. In an interview with Screen Rant, Lea DeLaria expressed interest in reprising her role as Miss Fritter while promoting the release of the short film, Miss Fritter's Racing Skoool with the Cars 3 DVD and Blu-ray release.