Right out of the gate, I’m just going to declare it – CARS 3 was my favorite film of the franchise. I really loved Cars, Cars 2 was iffy for me (sorry!), and Cars 3 had me laughing, crying, and cheering! Check out my Cars 3 review and the reasons why I loved it so much. No spoilers!
Cars 3 Synopsis
Lightning McQueen is back on the big screen, but he’s not a rookie anymore. Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Piston-Cup champion finds himself suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. “The next-gen racers are cool,” says director Brian Fee. “You can see instantly that cars like Jackson Storm are effortlessly fast. We designed these younger, faster cars to be sleek and aerodynamic—and they’re a sharp contrast to Lightning McQueen.”
He turns to a tech-savvy trainer at the all-new Rust-eze Racing Center to get back in the game. “Cruz Ramirez is a top trainer in racing,” says screenwriter Bob Peterson. “She takes on Lightning as her ‘Senior Project’ and calls it like she sees it: he’s older now, which he doesn’t want to hear, but certainly needs to hear.” Cruz is all about technology and knows how to create winners on cutting-edge simulated racetracks. But Lightning isn’t part of the next generation, and things don’t go as planned at the slick and fancy high-tech racing center.
Lightning McQueen was a hotshot in the first movie. Here we see a more mature Lightning McQueen. He still has his moments where you want to shake your head, but it’s fun to see his character develop, too. And I have to laugh at some good side-eye thrown in.
Ever since I heard that there would be a female lead car aaaand she was voiced by Cristela Alonzo, I knew I would love her. And I did, but maybe not for the reasons you think. Cars 3 was not made to be some female empowerment story. Did I walk away feeling empowered? Yes. Because here comes Cruz, a likable, funny, relatable character who is flawed. She’s not perfect, she has insecurities, and she has fears, and she has spunk, just like the rest of us. Most importantly though is that she tries to stay positive. That to me is more important for little girls (and boys) to see. Cruz really is a terrific character who I’m happy to have my 5 girls look up to. She’s pretty kick-butt which always gets a thumbs up from me.
It’s Family Friendly and Funny
I love a good rated G movie that can keep the family entertained from the toddlers to the grandparents. This is Cars 3. Mater has gotten funnier through the years and there is a Demolition Derby scene with Miss Fritter that will have people rolling. Miss Fritter is voiced by Lea DeLaria, and she could not be any more perfect. It’s rare when I’m excited to bring my entire family to a movie where I know they’ll enjoy it (because movies for a family of 7 aren’t cheap), and I don’t have to worry about any questionable content. It’s a breath of fresh air.
The Animation Rocks
Cars came out over 10 years ago! Technology has changed. That’s a theme in the movie, but it’s also apparent on-screen. You feel like you’re right there part of the action. It really triggered a love of NASCAR for me, too, and I started looking up information about races and the stories behind the racers. I legitimately yelled out cheering in one race scene, because I was so invested in the story.
The Story Has Heart
Disney Pixar really researched the heart of the stories of NASCAR and even pay homage to NASCAR through 4 different characters in the movie. Cruz and Lightning McQueen’s mentor/trainer relationship is heartwarming and evolves as the movie continues. Doc Hudson also makes several appearances which made me teary.
You also learn many lessons about appreciation, respect, self-confidence. One of my favorite lines is when Cruz is talking to Lightning McQueen about how she loved to watch him race growing up and how he could do what he did. He answered, “I never thought I couldn’t.” Boom. When the storytelling is right, you become invested in characters and forget that they’re animated objects. In CARS 3, the storytelling is right.
Cars 3 races into theaters and your hearts June 16th! So yes, Cars 3 is for the girls. It’s also for the boys, the parents, the uncles, the aunts, the mentors, the coaches, the grandparents – everyone! If you’re looking for an action-packed, family-friendly, lesson-teaching, belly-laughing, jump-out-of-your-seat-to cheer movie, then Cars 3 is for you. My family and I will be there opening day with our popcorn and snacks. Hope to see you there!
Check out my Cars 3 Premiere Red Carpet adventures, too!
Thank you, Disney, for inviting me to the Cars 3 Event and providing travel and accommodations! All opinions about how much I relate to animated cars are my own.