REVIEW: Lightning McQueen Passes the Torch in the Emotional, High-Octane ‘Cars 3’

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 12.44.03 PMLightning McQueen is washed up– at least that’s what he thinks following his wreck in the beginning of Pixar’s Cars 3.

The living Piston Cup legend realizes he’s aging, but isn’t ready to give up just yet in the franchise’s third installment. In a movie featuring emotion, humor, dedication, resilience and wit… McQueen still proves that he’s got “it.” He also finds a bit of the old legendary racer Hudson Hornet in himself when passing the torch of racing knowledge to Cruz Ramirez.

Cars 3 is a great addition to the Pixar catalogue and could very well be a standalone film. With no basic knowledge of the first two movies needed (other than the fact that Lightning McQueen is one of the best in the sport), Cars 3 is a thoroughly enjoyable film.
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The character development of all the new cars really drives the movie. Cruz Ramirez is an easy-to-love race car trainer who actually ends up learning a great deal about the racing world herself through her journey with McQueen. Jackson Storm is the super-cool, new-age racer who flies onto the scene trying to dethrone the almighty but aging lightning McQueen. Sterling is the business shark who looks to rebuild McQueen’s image after the veteran’s nasty crash, but evolves and changes as the movie goes on.

Some old favorites also make appearances in the film. Mater and Sally help McQueen get on the right track and keep throwing jabs at him in an effort to keep him young.

Part of what makes Cars 3 so enjoyable is its relatability. No matter what sport you like or even if you like any sport, everyone is able to connect to the storyline of older generations being pushed out by youngin’s. Many of the racers that used to go up against Lightning McQueen as he dominated the circuit are now being pushed out of the sport by newer, high-tech generation racers. With all new training facilities and technology as well as racing techniques.. the new school is looking to take over. Lightning McQueen is the only veteran racer that believes he has a fighting chance… much like real-life athletes that try to reinvent themselves to prevent being pushed out of the sport.

The animation for this movie is on par with the first two Cars installments, there is really no upgrade. However, the landscape and cinematography techniques (mainly used for adding dramatic effect) were outstanding. The storyboarding of this film flat-out makes sense and keeps viewers interested throughout its entirety. Animators, writers and directors seemed to have paid close attention into the series of events and building an emotional storyline much like many sports documentaries do when covering aging or retiring athletes; even without knowing the background of McQueen’s character, you become emotionally attached to him and his legacy.

There’s not much to say about the soundtrack of the film, but the score itself is simply fantastic. Legendary Disney Composer Randy Newman use his musical resources to create different emotions and vibes throughout the film. He uses soft music as McQueen reminisces of his times with Doc Hudson and then switches to more upbeat tunes when racing laps with Cruz Ramirez– it’s remarkably well done.

Overall, Cars 3 has the perfect balance between emotion and fun. The third installment of Cars seems to wrap up the franchise pretty nicely, it’ll be tough to see another feature-length film come out of this franchise; and that’s okay. Lightning McQueen and company ride off into the sunset on a high note.

Figure out what it takes for Lightning McQueen to get back in the winners circle with a whole new team when Cars 3 zooms into theaters on June 16.

**Oh yeah, make sure you keep an eye out for Miss Fritter, she’s a hoot!
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