Anyone who is a frequent reader to this site will know that we absolutely adore the brilliant work of Pixar, and their incredible emotionally heart-wrenching films. When Cars 3 debuted a few weeks ago, we loved the film for its emotional intensity and drama, which was very much in line with everything that made the original Cars so special. But one of our favorite things about Pixar’s latest film is that it manages to push Pixar’s creative boundaries to the limits in visual storytelling. To take a better look at the ways that Cars 3 is an excellent addition to the constantly evolving technology of Pixar, there is no better place to look than Chronicle Book’s latest publication, The Art of Cars 3.
We’ve covered some of Chronicle’s previous titles before, like our review of their last Disney release, The Art of Moana. Like their other books, Chronicle does not disappoint, and we couldn’t be more thrilled by the sheer amount of beautiful artwork, concept design and everything else that’s included in this marvelous book. The book starts early, with a foreword by Executive Producer John Lasseter (who directed the first two Cars films) about how Cars 3 takes the world of Cars and turns it upside down, to create this sort of Rocky IV-esque vibe in which Lightning McQueen faces the challenges of growing older and the need to find himself, yet again. Brian Fee discusses what a large learning process the entire production was to him, and how much directing his first feature film has taught him about collaboration. This is especially true when working with Production Designers Bill Cone and Jay Shuster, who went through extensive research to bring the world of the film to life again. The first part of the book explores the work that went into the inspiration behind the design of the film, from finding human characteristics in automotive vehicles to showcasing the world of Cars as an inhabited vehicle reflection of our human world.
The design that went into the look of the characters in the film, specifically the new additions, like Smokey, for example, are brilliant. The design team studied older car models in order to properly design a look that would properly imagine what an ‘older’ car would look like, which was a challenge, because the logic of how the world of Cars came to be, is a confusing topic on its own and one that Pixar prefers to avoid altogether. No Disney animated movie is complete without the research trips, and although the filmmakers had two previous films to build off, this film still needed a large amount of research, considering that much of it takes place in new uncharted areas. These include abandoned racetracks, modern Daytona 500 raceways, small towns, and many other locations to build this world.
My favorite thing about the book though, is how it chronicles the journey to crafting the story that is presented on screen though storyboards. The film’s climax, changed three times before settling on the one seen in the final film, and The Art of Cars 3 makes a point not to overlook this. The book is split up into three sections, Act One, Act Two and Act Three, which helps take a more focused look at each element of the plot structure. The designs changed rather frequently as the story began to take shape, and the design of the characters would change depending on the emotional perspective the movie would form. Cars 3 shows that filmmaking is truly a brilliant collaborative project, and when taking a look at the visual design of the film, it’s evident that everything seen in the look and feel of the film is only possible with the collaboration of each department.
Once again, Chronicle Books does not fail at showcasing the amazing work that goes into making an animated Disney film, and not only does the film shed a spotlight on the visual aspects of the film, but the collaborative process in order to bring those designs to life through story, color, and emotion. The Art of Cars 3 is the perfect companion to any fan of Pixar and the world of Cars, and just like the actual film, should leave you in wonder and amazement at the incredible work presented in front of you. We can’t wait for more Chronicle Book and Disney publications, and we’re thrilled that The Art of Cars 3 makes an excellent addition to their growing lineup.