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Disney•Pixar's CARS 3

(Disney / Pixar)

 

Legendary race car, Lightning McQueen, faces involuntary retirement and a young hotshot ready to take his place.

 

Rated G

Genre: Animation / Comedy

Viewer Appeal: Ages 4-12

 

I’m going to be honest: I almost didn’t review Cars 3, simply because I was so disappointed by Cars 2. I mean, how can the third in a series ever match up to the thrills and creativity of the first? And let’s face it, Cars 1 was pretty great, and then Cars 2 limped across the finish line. After that experience, I thought maybe I’d skip Cars 3 and save myself some sorrow.

 

Fast-forward to today and you know what happened: I caved.

 

I decided to give Lightning McQueen, Mater, and the gang one last chance. Good news! Cars 3 was worth the risk! OK, still not as great as Cars 1, but definitely a step forward in the series. Here’s the way it plays out this time:

 

Lightning McQueen is king of the racing world, winner of 5 Piston Cup championships and on his way to full-fledged “Legend” status. The problem? Well, nobody lives forever and age shows now mercy. Old #95 still has speed—he can top out at 198 mph on the Fireball Beach. But…young hotshot Jackson Storm is hitting 207 mph and pushing to take McQueen’s place as the elite racer in the Piston Cup competition.

 

And then…

 

During a wild race, 24 seconds change everything. There’s a mishap and (in glorious slow-motion drama) Lightning McQueen crashes into a wall and rolls several times. Now what’s a racing champ supposed to do when he’s injured, old (by racing standards), and facing involuntary retirement? Well, newcomer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) is about to help him find out.

 

Cars 3 is a breath of fresh air in the series, a return to the hope and soul that made Radiator Springs such a delightful place to visit. Alonzo is a joyful addition to the cast, and Nathan Fillion as “brilliant businesscar” Sterling, who runs the Rust-eze Racing Center is at his smarmiest best. Adding homage to NASCAR’s real-life racing legends (hello Junior Johnson!) there’s a lot of inside jokes for adult fans of stock car racing. Fun is all around in Cars 3, so take an afternoon and enjoy this one with your whole family.

 

Bonus Features in Cars 3 include:

• Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool (Exclusive new mini-movie) – Enjoy blindsided testimonials from the Crazy 8’s, touting the transformative impact Miss Fritter’s Racing School has had in reshaping the direction of their lives

• Theatrical Short: “Lou” – When a toy-stealing bully ruins recess for a playground full of kids, only one thing stands in his way: the “Lost and Found” box.

• Let’s. Get. Crazy. – Get schooled in the world of demolition derby, the “rules” of figure 8 racing, and how Pixar puts the crazy in the Thunder Hollow Crazy 8 race. This piece is hosted by Lea DeLaria.

• Legendary – a close, historical look at the racing legends Wendell Scott and Louise Smith, whose tenacity and perseverance got them into the race even when they weren’t invited.

• Ready for the Race – Disney Channel’s Olivia Rodrigo and NASCAR Racer William Byron check out the Hendrick Motorsports campus to showcase how real-world race training influenced the filmmakers.

• World’s Fastest Billboard – Blink and you will miss all of the graphics and “car-ified” advertisements created by Pixar’s Art team to make the ”Cars 3” world as believable as possible.

• Cruz Ramirez: The Yellow Car That Could – Join Cristela Alonzo and the filmmakers on their journey to create a race-car trainer turned champion racer.

• Generations: The Story of “Cars 3” – For the story team, creating Lightning McQueen’s next chapter didn’t involve just a tune-up, but a complete overhaul.

• My First Car – A collection of illustrated first-car stories as narrated by members of the “Cars 3” cast and crew. “A Green Car on the Red Carpet with Kerry Washington,” “Old Blue,” and “Still in the Family.”

• 5 Deleted Scenes – Each deleted scene is set up with an introduction as to why it was removed from the film. Deleted scenes include “The Boogie Woogie,” “The Jars of Dirt,” “Lugnut,” “The Bolt,” and “More Than New Paint.”

• Cars To Die(cast) For – Take a look at the phenomenon of die-cast toy collecting and the more than 1,000 unique designs that exist in the Cars universe.

• Commentary – Brian Fee (Director), Kevin Reher (Producer), Andrea Warren (Co-Producer) and Jay Ward (Creative Director)

 

Let's Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• What do you think Cars 3 is all about? Explain.

• How do you handle disappointment or difficult situations at school or home?

• What’s the best advice you could give to Lightning McQueen? What advice do you think he’d give to you?

 

--MN

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