Movie Review: Cars 3 (2017)

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Summary: Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen. He is a legendary Piston Cup veteran who lives in Radiator Springs since the first movie. He is a seven time winner and the sport is changing and he begins to feel overshadowed by Jackson Storm, and the newer race cars in particular. After a brutal accident, he loses the Piston cup and now he must get faster, he must become better so he does not get pushed out of the thing he loves the most. He goes through a road trip in order to find out how he can be better than he was, so he can continue racing. This is probably the movie where Lightning has the most development and character arc and I loved it. I mean, I like the first movie a lot, (the second one is not even about him really and it was stupid) but this one really lets us see Lightning as a mature person having to discover new things about himself, which I think is more interesting.
    • Owen Wilson returns as the voice actor for Lightning and I think lately, Owen Wilson has been really funny, mostly because it’s been subtle and I thought Lightning had some great funny moments and lines in this film. A lot of that makes him so likable is the fact that Owen Wilson plays him so well… plus of course his animation. I also want to know how old Lightning is because the “old man” jokes were… odd.
  • Cristela Alonzo as Cruz Ramirez. She is Lightning’s trainer and racing technician. She wants to be a racer but she was told she couldn’t, so her confidence took a huge heat. Those who can’t do, teach right? lol so she is a younger model, very enthusiastic, upbeat and she’s like one of those fitness trainers from the videos, where they’re always trying to be positive. I like Cruz. There are times where she is a bit annoying but most of the time she’s likable and feel fresh compared to Lightning who is older and more mature. She plays off of him very well.I’ve never seen Cristela Alonzo in anything but I thought she was great here. Her voice is very charming and upbeat and she feels like a young woman would in her position.
Supporting Characters.
    • There are a lot of supporting characters in this movie. We have the return of a lot of characters we know and love from Radiator Springs, like Sally, Luigi, Ramone, Flo, etc. Mater is in this too but not that much, thank goodness because I always found him annoying and not very funny. We have a lot other characters like Mack, Rusty and Dusty and Chick Hicks returning. Of course there are a ton of new characters such as Smokey, Natalie Certain, Jackson Storm, Sterling and some of Lightning’s close racing friends in and everyone makes their own impressions in the times that we get to speak with them. All of the voice acting is very good.
The Story. So at its core, this story has been done many times. The comeback story, where the older person who was awesome in their day, is starting to be shown up the younger athletes coming into play, and now they feel like they have to make a comeback. With that said, I still like that cliché story because it allows for a lot of heart, if done correctly. Considering the fact that we’ve seen Lightning in that position, the younger crowd coming up and the older people being a bit intimidated by him, it was cool to see him on the other side of that bridge now. We care about him which makes his story that much more personal. There is also a little twist in there, that I saw coming but it’s still super sweet.
The Emotion. I think this movie packs in the emotion, and I was emotional already so I did tear up a little bit. Yes, Cars 3 made me tear up, but it was really sweet. I don’t want to spoil anything, even though Cars has been out for a while now, but basically Lightning makes a choice and it was a really mature and emotional one.
The Future. I haven’t looked into it to see if there is going to be a 4th movie or anything, but I think this movie did a great job in setting up the future for Lightning and other characters. I think with how the story went, there is room for more. If they decide not too, that’s fine as well but I think with how the movie ended, they really worked to make a plausible set up for more, whereas the second movie does not do that, nor does the first one. This ones doesn’t feel like the end, perhaps to one story, but it’s definitely the beginning to other stories.
Cons:
Cliche. Of course there were very few surprises in this movie, it’s very predictable to the point where I was literally calling out plot points as the movie went on. That’s a bit unfortunate for a movie that becomes really heartfelt.
Childish. Of course this is like, what? for a kid’s movie, but I just have to say this. This movie tries to feel more mature, to have Lightning make a grown up choice and while it’s sweet, it never quite adds up to what Pixar is known for. Yeah they do produce kids movies but they always have themes and choices that are still geared towards adults and I don’t think this movie quite fits into that mold. It still feels very kid driven and I think that does knock it down a notch to not really adding up to what it could have been.
Overall,
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Cars 3? What did you think about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Question: What is your favorite Pixar movie?
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Thanks for reading.

Movie Review: Baby Driver (2017)

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Summary: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. 
  • Ansel Elgort as Baby. Baby is hard of hearing, I won’t say he’s necessarily deaf because I don’t think he’s supposed to be, but he has tinnitus (a constant ringing in his ears) due to a car accident when he was younger. He hardly talks and he’s always listening to music, which he loves. Baby is an awesome getaway driver for a rotating crew of bank robbers.  I like Baby as a character, he’s quiet so we don’t learn about him through conversation and exposition, at least not a lot of the time. We learn about him through his love of music, and other people talking about him while he’s sitting right there. I don’t dislike Ansel Elgort, there’s just something smug about him that I don’t like and I think he puts that into his characters, but I thought he was able to really become Baby which surprised me. He was very subtle and I thought that was really good.
    • My one complaint, but I don’t think it affects the movie horribly, but while he’s an interesting character, as I wanted to know how he exactly came to be so good at driving getaway cars. We don’t know if he likes cars, he’s just good at it. I thought they could touch on that briefly or something, especially since he was in a car accident.
Supporting Characters.
  • Kevin Spacey as Doc. A mysterious kingpin of the gang of bank robbers. He also a criminal mastermind. He never uses the same crew for a heist twice and he’s very methodical. Doc isn’t in the movie constantly but the times he is, I thought he was great in his scenes, just the way he delivered lines was hilarious and kind of stilted but that was his character. I also thought his relationship with Baby was interesting, we got to learn a lot about it and it was beneficial in the end.
  • Jamie Foxx as “Bats”. He’s violent, impulsive and MEAN. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Jamie Foxx curse so much in a movie, I mean outside of Django Unchained and it was kind of weird lol. But Bats is crazy. He’s paranoid, he doesn’t like how Baby does his methods with his driving, and he does things that go against the rules. Jamie Foxx plays this part well, with his mean mugging face lol. He’s good.
  • Lily James as Debora. She is Baby’s love interest and a waitress in his favorite diner. He hears her singing one day when she’s coming in to work and he’s immediately smitten. They hit it off and it just goes from there. Outside of him being with her, she’s just there. She’s likable and Lily James is good in her role, but she’s just there.
  • Jon Hamm as Buddy. I think he’s someone Doc uses a lot in heists. He starts off really cool, he’s gritty and what not, but he seems to be one of the more competent and nicest of the gang that we see. Anytime someone tries to tease Baby or think he can’t do his job, Buddy always comes to his defense. He even makes a point to relate to Baby in a scene after Bats says something rude. Buddy does have an interesting back story, that we learn a bit about, not to mention, his character takes a turn that is not surprising but also kind of… great at the same time. I’ve never really seen Jon Hamm seriously in anything and he was really cool in this film. I really liked his character, he does a good job at being likable as well as being someone you know you can’t trust.
  • Eiza González as Darling. She is married to Buddy and his partner in crime. Darling is cool, she’s chill but you know she might have a crazy streak. The chemistry with Jon Hamm was great too. I love the scene in the diner.
The Soundtrack/The Use of Music. So the music is a big part of the film, the songs that were used were all great choices. Baby talks about how he chooses songs, or playlists that pertain to aspects of his life. I also really liked how during action scenes, whenever someone was shooting a gun, the shots would be to the beat of the song. It was really cool. Of course this movie isn’t the first to do that, but I liked that it was a running part of the of the movie and not just for one scene and then never done again. I also liked that Baby would record things and then create music using those things, especially words, or hearing other music from people (like Debbie singing) and then create music. It was nice. It was also unique in a way because Baby’s hearing condition and how he uses music to blur out the ringing, not to mention, later on, when he really has a hearing problem, he has to put his hand to the speaker to hear the music. I just liked the usage of the music in the film. Get the soundtrack.
The Driving/Stunts. I think this movie is so cool with the stunt driving. Watching Baby do his getaway driving was awesome. The opening scene was awesome. Even later with the third heist, it was really cool watching Baby in the cars (there is this great scene where he gets into this car, and the action halts for a minute while Baby tries to find a radio station with good music playing). I thought all of the action was handled very well, you could see what was going on, you would follow the characters as they went through the action.
The Story. I think the story is basic at it’s core but I think it’s cool. You have this kid who is stuck in this world due to a mistake he made, and along the way, he meets some interesting people and does some interesting stuff. I liked that Baby used music throughout his life, I liked that he lived with a deaf guardian so the use of sign language was important, I liked seeing the characters interact for the most part. It helped boost the story.
Cons:
The Main Couple. I don’t think they had much chemistry. Don’t get me wrong, it was cute, but I wasn’t invested in them at all. I liked the flirty dialogue in the beginning a bit, but at other times, I just didn’t really find them that interesting together. The other parts of the story was much more entertaining and interesting than the romance part. By extension I thought that Debbie’s character was a bit unnecessary. She wasn’t a bad character, nor badly acted, but if you removed her from the story, I don’t think it would change anything.
The Ending. I didn’t really care for the ending. It felt like a rush job. First, there’s this awesome story, then in a way it turns into a “Bonnie and Clyde” type thing and they even reference it in the movie, but then the way everything is tied up, just felt inorganic. It was like, they weren’t sure how to end the movie, so they chose a way that would tie up everything by making one person the scapegoat. I didn’t care for that.
Overall, I really liked Baby Driver and I’m a little upset I didn’t see it in theaters, but it’s definitely worth watching. The music is fantastic, probably one of the best things about the movie, is the music choice and how it’s used in the film. I loved the structure and how it flowed together, mostly in the first act of the movie. I thought all of the acting was good and all of the characters were interesting separately and only sometimes were they interesting together. I enjoyed the story and the action and stunts were really cool! This movie is so much fun! It does have a few problems, I didn’t think the leading romance was that interesting, Debbie’s character, while fine, didn’t seem to really have a purpose in the film, and the ending, I thought was lacking and rushed compared to the rest of the film. I loved it though.
Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Baby Driver? What did you think about it?
What is your favorite movie that has an AWESOME car stunt (or car in it period)?
One of mine would be Back to the Future… I mean LOOK AT THAT CAR!
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