If you are a fan of Pixar films like I am, you’ll know that the Cars franchise sits at the bottom of the Pixar pile as far as movie excellence and critic opinions goes. I enjoyed the first one but the second one was short on plot and just didn’t make much sense. I was happy to find that Cars 3 was really the movie that Cars 2 should have been. If your kids liked the original Cars, they will enjoy Cars 3.
Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) has been on top of the stock car racing circuit for a number of years now. He loves racing and is quite surprised when he loses a race to Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), who, as a new generation of race car, has all the bells and whistles that Lightning can’t even imagine. Storm has a state-of-the-art training center with the latest simulation technologies and he can clock a lap at over 200 mph as opposed to Lightning’s high of 196.
When McQueen’s long-time Rusteez sponsors sell their company to Sterling (Nathan Fillion), Sterling builds a new training center and invites McQueen to train there. Not used to all the fancy equipment and the unorthodox methods of his new trainer, Cruz Ramierez (Cristela Alonzo), Lightning crashes the simulator and has to face the fact that he’s now considered old school. Sterling only wants McQueen for his branding power but Lightning makes a deal for one last race. If he can beat Storm, then he says when he quits racing, not the sponsor.
He needs some new ideas if he’s to have any chance at winning so he looks up Smokey (Chris Cooper), the mentor of his mentor, Doc Hudson (the late Paul Newman). Feeling like he’s following in Doc’s steps by being forced out of racing, Smokey fills Lightning in on some things he never knew about Doc. Smokey tells him that Doc did go through a terrible time after racing but that he found new purpose after he met Lightning and became his mentor.
Cars 3 brings back a number of old characters like Sally (Bonnie Hunt) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) as well as introducing new characters like Natalie Certain (Kerry Washington) and Miss Fritter (Lea DeLaria), the demolition derby school bus (sure to make a popular toy). But it’s Lightning’s journey of acceptance and rediscovery of who he really is that makes Cars 3 shine.
I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say this: enjoy passing things on to the young ones in your charge. I don’t mean “stuff” things, but things like your faith and values, what makes you tick, stories of how things were when you were a kid and what you learned during those times. Kids may not get the point of your stories now but someday they will use the wisdom you pass on to them in their own lives. Even we adults have much to learn from those who lived before us. My great aunt Mary was a nurse on the front lines in France during World War II and a few years before her death, my Dad videotaped her reminiscing about her experiences there. What a treasure those videos are to me now.
So, take precious time to listen to the stories of your elders and learn from their wisdom. Then, make sure to pass it on to the next generation. Your stories, your experiences, your wisdom is a gift to those who come after you. Give it generously.