7.5/10 When the first “Cars” film was released, it was the weakest Pixar film to date. This wasn’t because it was bad, it just simply didn’t live up to the extremely high bar set by all previous Pixar films. Upon rewatching the first two films in this franchise before I watched this new one, the original actually holds up well and was better than I remembered it to be. The second film I would say is one of the weakest Pixar films and certainly the weakest in this series. The spy storyline and setting was fun but seemed out of place in the “Cars” universe and could have been a totally separate Pixar movie/series. Also, like the Minions from “Despicable Me”, Mater is good in small doses. Making him basically the star of the second film really hurt the final product. Which brings us to the third and probably not final film in the series. “Cars 3” makes the very smart decision of bringing Lightning McQueen back to the forefront and letting Mater take a back seat by drastically reducing the amount of time he is on screen. The plot of growing older in an ever changing world and for another car, not giving up on her dreams, were great messages for kids and engaging for adults. Like all Pixar films, the film looks visually amazing. So much detail goes into these films and the minor things like shadows or the way the light gleams off of the hood of a car is mind blowing. You can see why these films take so long to make. Also in usual Pixar fashion the voice cast is perfectly selected and everyone brings their vocal A game. There is a strong emotional pull as well with this film which the first film had with Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson, the second film attempted with McQueen and Mater and now it is back and done better than previously. A few plot points may be predictable and the score was fairly forgettable but the production design and cinematography make you mostly forget those flaws. This may not reach peak levels of Pixar that we have seen before but after a few shaky years for Pixar, this is a step back in the right direction. Although not the best Pixar film by a long shot, “Cars 3” is the best film in the series and tied for the best animated film of 2017 (with “The Boss Baby”) that kids and adults alike will enjoy.
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