Summary: Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world.
Cast and Characters.
Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen. He is a legendary Piston Cup veteran who lives in Radiator Springs since the first movie. He is a seven time winner and the sport is changing and he begins to feel overshadowed by Jackson Storm, and the newer race cars in particular. After a brutal accident, he loses the Piston cup and now he must get faster, he must become better so he does not get pushed out of the thing he loves the most. He goes through a road trip in order to find out how he can be better than he was, so he can continue racing. This is probably the movie where Lightning has the most development and character arc and I loved it. I mean, I like the first movie a lot, (the second one is not even about him really and it was stupid) but this one really lets us see Lightning as a mature person having to discover new things about himself, which I think is more interesting.
Owen Wilson returns as the voice actor for Lightning and I think lately, Owen Wilson has been really funny, mostly because it’s been subtle and I thought Lightning had some great funny moments and lines in this film. A lot of that makes him so likable is the fact that Owen Wilson plays him so well… plus of course his animation. I also want to know how old Lightning is because the “old man” jokes were… odd.
Cristela Alonzo as Cruz Ramirez. She is Lightning’s trainer and racing technician. She wants to be a racer but she was told she couldn’t, so her confidence took a huge heat. Those who can’t do, teach right? lol so she is a younger model, very enthusiastic, upbeat and she’s like one of those fitness trainers from the videos, where they’re always trying to be positive. I like Cruz. There are times where she is a bit annoying but most of the time she’s likable and feel fresh compared to Lightning who is older and more mature. She plays off of him very well.I’ve never seen Cristela Alonzo in anything but I thought she was great here. Her voice is very charming and upbeat and she feels like a young woman would in her position.
There are a lot of supporting characters in this movie. We have the return of a lot of characters we know and love from Radiator Springs, like Sally, Luigi, Ramone, Flo, etc. Mater is in this too but not that much, thank goodness because I always found him annoying and not very funny. We have a lot other characters like Mack, Rusty and Dusty and Chick Hicks returning. Of course there are a ton of new characters such as Smokey, Natalie Certain, Jackson Storm, Sterling and some of Lightning’s close racing friends in and everyone makes their own impressions in the times that we get to speak with them. All of the voice acting is very good.
The Story. So at its core, this story has been done many times. The comeback story, where the older person who was awesome in their day, is starting to be shown up the younger athletes coming into play, and now they feel like they have to make a comeback. With that said, I still like that cliché story because it allows for a lot of heart, if done correctly. Considering the fact that we’ve seen Lightning in that position, the younger crowd coming up and the older people being a bit intimidated by him, it was cool to see him on the other side of that bridge now. We care about him which makes his story that much more personal. There is also a little twist in there, that I saw coming but it’s still super sweet.
The Emotion. I think this movie packs in the emotion, and I was emotional already so I did tear up a little bit. Yes, Cars 3 made me tear up, but it was really sweet. I don’t want to spoil anything, even though Cars has been out for a while now, but basically Lightning makes a choice and it was a really mature and emotional one.
The Future. I haven’t looked into it to see if there is going to be a 4th movie or anything, but I think this movie did a great job in setting up the future for Lightning and other characters. I think with how the story went, there is room for more. If they decide not too, that’s fine as well but I think with how the movie ended, they really worked to make a plausible set up for more, whereas the second movie does not do that, nor does the first one. This ones doesn’t feel like the end, perhaps to one story, but it’s definitely the beginning to other stories.
Cliche. Of course there were very few surprises in this movie, it’s very predictable to the point where I was literally calling out plot points as the movie went on. That’s a bit unfortunate for a movie that becomes really heartfelt.
Childish. Of course this is like, what? for a kid’s movie, but I just have to say this. This movie tries to feel more mature, to have Lightning make a grown up choice and while it’s sweet, it never quite adds up to what Pixar is known for. Yeah they do produce kids movies but they always have themes and choices that are still geared towards adults and I don’t think this movie quite fits into that mold. It still feels very kid driven and I think that does knock it down a notch to not really adding up to what it could have been.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
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