by Graham Pierrepoint
It’s that time of year again – movies that pop up in early summer are always destined to be box office money-grabbers, and with a fair few big hitters waiting just waiting around the corner, it is of course another perfect opportunity for us to revisit some of the most popular franchises of recent years. Family films and animation, certainly, seem to be more likely to spawn sequels these days – and there are two big hitters that are set to return in the coming weeks. While we may just be getting over Pirates of the Caribbean 5 – which was oddly mediocre – Transformers 5 doesn't buck a trend that is critically maligned – but alongside the return of Optimus Prime is a resurgence from Pixar and another could-be hit from Illumination.
Cars 3 is set to be the third installment in the hugely popular but critically divided Pixar series centered around Owen Wilson’s champion racing car Lightning McQueen – with a movie that the studio will undoubtedly be hoping will erase much of the mediocre reviews that Cars 2 garnered. Meanwhile, there’s a further threequel – if such a word exists – in Despicable Me 3, which sees the return of affable villain turned anti-hero and family man Gru – and, of course, those Minions. Despicable Me was Illumination’s breakout hit and – while Pixar will be looking to turn fortunes around when it comes to their automobile capers, Illumination will be hoping to continue to capitalize on the success of the first two movies.
But how have the two movies fared so far in terms of critical reception? So far, it’s not especially clear – but Despicable Me 3 does seem to have something of an edge over Cars 3 in the sense that critics point out it continues on the same level that made earlier installments so likable. However, reviews at present do seem to indicate that the movie does little to go anywhere particularly new. The same, according to early reviews, seems to befall Cars 3 – while it does appear to connect a little better than its predecessor (for one, it’s not a decidedly odd spy caper), it again doesn’t seem to bring anything new to the table.
Have both studios gone for a safe bet this time around? One News Page will be reviewing them both in due course – keep an eye on our Movie Reviews section to find out who we crown the victor!