Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cars 3 Review

Photos courtesy of Disney and Pixar

This has been quite the summer for Disney movies. All of them have been sequels. All of them have been good. But, quite surprisingly to me, the best one was Cars 3. Now, don't get me wrong, I'll always love Pirates and Guardians, but at least Cars 3 didn't make me cry. And while the first two were a bit slow to start, Cars 3 hit the track running and never let off the gas. It also had what I thought was a very satisfying ending. Caution: Spoilers Ahead! 

The film starts with Lightning McQueen doing what he loves: racing and competing with his friends, Bobby Swift and Cal Weathers. Sometimes he wins, sometimes he doesn't, but he and the other racers truly enjoy the sport.

All too soon, Lightning discovers that there's a new type of rookie in the race, Jackson Storm (voiced by Armie Hammer). He is the ultimate in automotive technology, and boy, does he know it! Pretty soon, nearly all of Lightning's friends have been forced into retirement by Jackson and cars like him, and Lightning is struggling to find his place in a strange new world.

And that's when it happens. Lightning pushes himself to the limit and suffers a major crash. He goes home to Radiator Springs and locks himself in Doc's old garage. He's worried that his racing days are over, just like Doc's were after his big crash. With a little encouragement from his friends, he decides to try again, but with some help from the technology that helps Jackson Storm to win.

The Rusteze guys want to make sure Lightning has everything he needs, so they sell their company to Sterling (voiced by Nathan Fillion), the owner of a mudflap company, and super fan of Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson. Sterling has built a new training center for rookie racecars where Lightning can train with Cruz Ramirez (voiced by Cristela Alonzo). Cruz knows everything about motivation and the latest racing technology, but very little about actual racing. Lightning makes a deal with Sterling that if he wins the next race, he can keep racing, but if he loses, he'll become a spokesman for all the products Sterling wants him to sell.

Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez

With so much riding on a single race, Lightning must do everything he can to beat Jackson Storm. He decides to revisit the famous racetracks from Doc Hudson's past. First up, Fireball Beach, which nearly defeats Cruz as she attempts to keep up with Lightning. Then, it's on to the Thunder Hollow Speedway, which has unexpectedly become a hilarious demolition derby. Finally, Lightning decides to seek out Doc's old Crew Chief, Smokey, at his hometown, the Thomasville Speedway. Along the way, Lightning learns a lot about his mentor, which leads up to a fabulous twist during what may be his final race.

Thomasville Speedway

Cars 3 was a fantastic movie, which I can't wait to watch again. Kids will love the familiar characters and jokes, while adults will appreciate a story about growing older and figuring out your ever changing place in the world. And there are some pretty funny jokes. Personally, I liked Lightning's offhand remark to Cruz early in the film "Life's a beach, and then you drive." And that one statement just about sums it up.

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