The third instalment of Disney Pixar’s Cars finds our hero, the legendary Lightening McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) blindsided by a new generation of super-fast racers and the harsh reality that he may just have reached the end of the track.
Powered by simulators, racing coaches and statistics, McQueen watches the likes of Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) and his future-gen peers knock out the old-timers one by one, leaving McQueen friend-free and quite literally lacking direction. Facing mechanic extinction following a nasty crash, McQueen convalesces at Radiator Springs reflecting on both his own failings and those of his mentor, the late great Fabulous Hudson Hornet (Paul Newman).
Seeking redemption and a shot at saving his ailing career, #95 powers back into the limelight under his original endorser, Rusteze all geared up to prove that he’s still the best race car in the world. Partnered with enthusiastic coach, Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) and the hope of having a go on the elusive simulator, McQueen is put through his paces by the feisty Latina. Accepting that maybe he is in fact “old” and maybe Cruz does know what she’s talking about are just some of the lessons our hero must acknowledge on his path to rehabilitation.
The nod to the current technological climate which periodically sees the ways of yesterday instantaneously replaced by automated alternatives is a clever subtext to this animated release from John Lasseter and his Pixar team. More than that, the story romances the novelty of technology but at its core seeks to reminisce in the ways and traditions of the olden days taking McQueen on a journey, literally and figuratively back to where it all started to help him achieve his ultimate goal.
What appeals to me the most about the narrative curve of this tale is that personal success is not necessarily achieved by our own individual action but through teamwork and realising another’s potential. Taking the lessons he’s learned from his mentors, fellow racers and most notably Cruz herself, McQueen’s ultimate discovery is both unexpected and utterly rewarding, both for him as protagonist and us as the audience.
A wonderful cinematic outing for the whole family, Cars 3 is due to zoom into a movie theatre near you from 22 June 2017, just in time for the school holidays.
Running Time: 109 minutes
Director: Brian Fee