Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.
So, here is what I watched this past week:
What made the original Cars such a charmer was its desire to not only dig into Americana in a way that animated films don’t seem capable of doing, it also explored the ideas of drive, experience, selflessness, and more. When Cars 2 took the series in a whole different direction, embracing a crass, commercialized espionage thriller veneer, with an excessive amount of Mater, everything fell apart. The wholesomeness and familial energy evaporated.
With Cars 3, we return to the style and direction of the original film, a refreshing step back to what made the series work in the first place. Although the film does have a lot of similar threads to the original film, they work themselves out in unique and interesting directions. The voice cast fades in places, but strikes out wonderfully in others. Nathan Fillion does a fine job as the new head of Rusteze while the ever-annoying Larry the Cable Guy continues to disappoint (and really deserves to be junked at this point). Owen Wilson is uneven as Lightning McQueen and Cristela Alonzo is given little material into which she can sink her teeth.
This time out, the visuals are spectacular. In the 11 years since the original hit the big screen, the technology has improved and so too have the visuals in this film. Still popping with color, the rich details are impressive, most notably the natural environments through which McQueen and company traverse. If it suffers, it’s because the plot is so familiar and predictable. Pixar trends often in that direction, but here things lack that typical Pixar spark that push the movie beyond the commonplace animated feature. A fitting follow-up to the original and a superb step up from the second film, Cars 3 suggests there’s still life left in the ailing series, though a fourth film needs to take things in a similar, but less formulaic direction.