Cars 3 takes us on a journey that for many we saw coming. Yes, the first trailer out seemed as though Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) was dead. Or, severely injured and in all honesty the animation for the crash was right on with the rubble coming off and everything was just brilliant visually but in a target audiences perspective- this would have been devastating to watch as the hero we know faces something all athletes soon face- the next generation of athletes. Which in this case was a step ahead of lightning’s capability and seemed soon the time to retire as ‘Storm Jackson’ , a new next generation race car comes up on the scene to take victory and show what seemed the end for the car in red.
What instantly does stand out about this film is that it comes back from what wasn’t necessarily a very good sequel to a more Pixar produced film. It also highlights the key theme of gender equality with this idea of girls being able to compete just as well in competitions and sport as the male competitors with the introduction of Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonso). Cruz is set out as Lightnings trainer in a bid to bring him back to the top with a new look as well as next level training that being on a racetrack can’t do, apparently. It comes to the forefront that Cruz always wanted to be a racer but never took the path after a failed first race when she was younger. This only lead to something that I for one saw happening as Lightning eventually makes her dreams come true but I won’t ruin it too much.
Something else I liked was that the plot took us back to the classic Cars with all the originals near enough featuring as well as an insight into the Hudson Hornet (Lightnings mentor) and how Lightning turned his life around after he had to retire after a crash. It really is a way of highlighting how much someone can change your life and despite a lot going wrong- one person can completely change a perspective and this is why Pixar brings itself back with some emotions that I missed in the second one and even gives a message that I think can apply to a lot of sports professionals with the line: “The racing is the reward, not the stuff!” A line that perhaps footballers who sit on the bench for 50,000 a week should be considering. I think there really are some great points to take from this film.
What features further is a growing relationship between Lightning and his trainer as he shows her what real racing is rather than the on shown in the simulator inside. This takes them down to a mud rally where things really get interesting and the time away from the racing centre brings a reality of the new owner ‘Sterling’ and how he disregards Cruz’s ability. This of course is where the false persona of his first appearance is seen and we start to root for a split of lightning and Cruz from the company which may or may not happen. The audience also starts to hope Cruz gets her chance after Sterling complains she can’t be a race car which stems back to this whole gender inequality theme but as we hoped. It switches around for the final race of the season where all the cards are made to ensure a good end to the film is met.
It is a funny film but could have done with a few more one liners that are seen in Pixar films but the underlying messages were there and some good examples were made to set people on the right paths to do things for the love of doing it, not for the stuff.