By Sam Brady

The king of animation is and has been Pixar since their release of Toy Story in 1995. But one franchise continues to be a sore spot amongst the other great films of the animation studio, a franchise that happens to be releasing it’s third film this weekend. The first film, Cars, is forgettable but alright while the second, Cars 2, is easily the worst Pixar film released, so it’s no shock that Cars 3 falls somewhere in the middle.

Story is not really a concept here, and if one exists it’d be easy to call it Rocky 3 but with Cars. The first half is dull as could be, but once it hits the road in the second half, the film is enjoyable to watch Lightning train through different situations. Once the third act rolls around, Cars 3 takes an unusual touching turn, something the franchise isn’t known for, and it actually kind of works.

It shouldn’t come as a huge shock that the first half is dull, as Lightning McQueen, voiced by Owen Wilson, may just be the most boring character in Pixar’s lineup. But by making him the underdog he is easier to root for despite being uninteresting. The best character in this particular entry is Cruz Ramierz, voiced by Cristela Alonzo, who makes the film more fun than Mater, who is thankfully absent most of the time, ever could.

The animation continues to be stunning for Pixar and is one of the reasons that they remain so far ahead of the competition. Cars 3 is beautifully animated as some of the landscape shots look like real locations with a cartoon superimposed onto them and it’s just amazing to see what Pixar can do at this point.

Overall, Cars 3 is not the great savior for the franchise and amongst Pixar standards it still lands near the bottom of their filmography. The visuals are breathtaking at times between the landscapes and races, but they’re filled with mostly boring characters and a non-existent story. Just like the famed Lightning McQueen, it may be time for this franchise to retire for good.

Cars 3 in theaters now.

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