July 17, 2020

Cars Franchise: For The Child In You

Project Cars

Let’s take a different path in this post – Cars Franchise path.

While the previous post about the car racing movies was fun to make, we thought to take a different route here.

Besides, the Project Cars video game, we thought that it’s good to explore, some of the most fun racing movies ever. The Cars franchise!

That’s right. Disney related movies are exciting for sure. Writing about Rush, Days of Thunder, Ford VS Ferrari and Le Mans was fun as well. But you know what else is fun? Writing about talking animated cars.

Hear me out. I’ve been a fan of Disney/Pixar’s Cars franchise since the first Cars movie came out in 2006. Yup. A fan.

Cars Franchise and Project Cars on sale

And since we had the Project Cars video games in our latest BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment sale here at IndieGala I thought… Why not expand the topic beyond the standard sports drama/biopic movies about car racing.

But that’s not all. Aside from the aforementioned BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment sale which recently ended, we also have a fantastic selection of Pixar Cars video games. Indeed, some are currently on sale, as part of the Best of Disney Sale, they’re also directly connected with the Pixar franchise. Not to mention, they’re oh so fun. Which means that you’ll be witnessing the same adorable car adventures, but this time you’ll be joining in. The fan favorite Lightning McQueen takes center stage in the games, but the gang is there as well. Don’t miss out on great deal of fun.

Chances are if you have children you’ve seen the Cars movies a handful of times. But frankly, they’re so fun, that even the child within you can enjoy them. I know I do.

Certainly, to stay true to the racing car’s theme, I’m going to be omitting the spin-off movies (the Planes film series). So, I’ll be focusing solely on the three Cars animated movies.

But before I do that, let’s take a brief look at the game itself.

Cars Franchise

Project CARS vs Cars Franchise: What’re the Games All About?

Firstly, it’s an intense, authentic, and technically-advanced racing game. Developed by Slightly Mad Studios and distributed by Bandai Namco Entertainment, Project Cars was first published in 2015.

In it, you get to discover an unrivaled immersion fuelled by world-class graphics that allows you to truly feel the road. Furthermore, you can create a driver, pick from a huge variety of motorsports in a dynamic career mode, and become the best race car driver ever.

The authentic handling allows you to do that since it’s intended to represent realistic driving simulation. In addition to the 74 derivable cars, there are over 30 unique locations with at least 110 different courses.

You should check it out.

But let’s get back to the topic at hand. The Cars franchise. While some are better than the others there’s no denying that Cars provided some good entertainment.

In this first video game adaptation of Disney•Pixar’s Cars, you begin as Lightning McQueen, a rookie racecar looking to win fame and fortune at the Piston Cup Championship. A racing adventure game with ten playable characters from the film, Cars offers more than 30 races and mini-games through open environments. The game includes voice talent from the movie, so listen for moral lessons from Larry the Cable Guy and comic relief from Cheech Marin.

Anthropomorphic characters with clashing personalities and very different goals that frequently make self-referencing jokes. The cynics may sneer on the franchise as a ruthless money grab for selling unnecessary merchandise. It can be true at times. And there’s no denying of the acceptance gap between the audience and the critics.

But love them or hate them, they’re decent entertainment. So, with that in mind, let’s start from the movie that started it all.

Cars (2006)

Firstly I must mention the gamble that Disney/Pixar made with Cars back in 2006. While racing can be an individual and team sport at the same time, the NASCAR themed races were a bold move.

Why? Because stock-car racing and especially NASCAR-themed racing enjoys a great popularity in the USA. And mostly in the USA. This means the audience outside of the USA will most likely not relate to the concept and the sport.

Sure, Cars is also a road movie and a comedy as well. But at the same time, it is also educational. It tells a story about the importance of humility and teamwork. All important attributes in any type of sport.

But aside from the themes and messages that it conveys, Cars is a visual marvel. I’m sorry but it is. The rendering is done beautifully and the direction, especially in the car racing scenes, is exceptional. Every scene has meticulous attention to detail, but you never feel that it was done in a pretentious and snooty way.

Also, this was one of the last movies that the legend (and racing aficionado Paul Newman) did before his death.

Cars Franchise

Cars 2 (2011)

Arguably the weakest link in the franchise. The death of Paul Newman and George Carlin left a void for sure, but the casting isn’t the biggest problem of Cars 2.

The weak storyline is. However, the sequel lacked the fun and the charm that the first movie had. To this day, it’s the worst-reviewed Pixar movie and the only one with a „rotten“ score on Rotten Tomatoes. But despite the loss of Newman and Carlin, Cars 2 had an abundance of new voice actors. The top British actors Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, and Eddy Izard first come to mind, and they’re all great.

However, Cars 2 didn’t live up to the expectations (sorry not sorry). Thankfully Cars 3 was an improvement.

Cars 3 (2017)

After the disappointment that was Cars 2, Pixar took the time and effort to reflect on their mistakes.

So, 6 years later, Cars 3 was released and the fans agree that it was worth the wait. Cars 3 gracefully touches on the themes of aging and accepting that a better faster rival is the new star of the sport.

Cars 3 is about preserving a legacy and opening doors for others to someday compete. And of course, by adding lots of new themes and sub-plots Cars 3 is attempting to get to the basic. To the feel and atmosphere of the first movie. Almost a decade after the release of Cars, but it worked.

Armie Hammer shines as the new racing star Jackson Storm, while Lea DeLaria is hilarious as Miss Fritter. The intimidating monster school bus.

Much like the first movie, Cars 3 is also visually stunning. It’s an improvement, after the less-than-mediocre Cars 2, and it’s worth the watch.

The legacy of the Cars Franchise

While not the most acclaimed Pixar/Disney movies, the Car franchise won the fans over with the charm, heart, visual excellence, and a lot of fantastic music behind it. There’s a fantastic voice acting from plenty of great entertainers.

Larry the cable guy brings a funny southern charm, while Owen Wilson is the force behind Lightning McQueen.

They’re not movies on the level of The Incredibles, Wall-E, the Toy Story franchise, or even Inside Out, but they’re fun to watch nonetheless.

Your picks

What is your favorite movie form the Cars franchise ? Tell us all about them in the comment section. We’d love to know.

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