The racing world is changing in the latest ‘Cars’ escapade from Pixar. A new generation of faster, more efficient motors has arrived on the scene and a dramatic crash leaves an ageing Lightning McQueen facing retirement. Unfortunately for parents bored of the franchise or irritated by the premise (why would cars go to a bar and grill – why?), the now-not-so-cocky racer is refusing to hang up his tyres.
Despite his flabby wheels and creaky joints, McQueen (Owen Wilson) is desperate to keep racing and avoid becoming merchandise (ironic, considering Disney is already selling ‘Cars 3’ swimming trunks.) In an attempt to get his engine revving, he joins a new training facility, complete with track simulators, VR and perky personal trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo). Her story, at least – of self-doubt and female inclusion – is engaging. The rest of the plot simply meanders toward the race to end all races, where McQueen aims to beat his latest nemesis, newbie Jackson Storm.
‘Cars 3’ is entertaining enough. As always, the animation, attention to detail and sweeping American landscapes are ace. There’s a lot of predictable mush about following your dreams, turning negatives into positives and having the confidence to believe in yourself. That’s all well and good for the under-12s, but this movie never packs the kind of emotional punch we know Pixar is capable of.