We received the Blu-ray of Disney-Pixar’s Cars 3 to review, a little later than usual so my review is up just as the title goes on sale. Cars 3 is one of the movies I didn’t have the chance to preiew this year ahead of time, we were traveling a lot this summer and so I don’t have a theatrical review of the movie but I will review the film here as well now that I have seen it.
Cars 3 is a terrific film, one that will be fun for kids and meaningful for adults. Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is getting a little older and is starting to lag behind the next gen set of racers, including new car Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). McQueen eventually ends up being trained by another new car character, the spunky Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo). She has dreams of her own, and those dreams don’t include being a trainer. Really, the movie is mostly owned by these two characters playing off each other in a variety of ways, though favorite characters are back – Mater, Luigi and Guido, and even Doc Hudson with the voice taken from recordings by Paul Newman before he passed away. While I found the bonus features overall a little on the slow side (at least for me), I found this aspect very interesting.
It has been over ten years since Cars first debuted, and one thing I did not remember is how Radiator Springs looked in the film. It really is amazing how the land at Disney California Adventure just looks almost exactly like it, that was fun to see.
The ending of Cars 3 is a satisfying one, I knew basically the story and a little about the ending many months ago. Cruz is a particularly strong new character and I expect we will see much more of her in the future. I give Cars 3 a B+.
Here are the bonus features for the Blu-ray – there are so many that are actually two total discs. The standout for me here is “Lou”, which is a fantastic short. I thought the bonus features otherwise were mostly on the slow side, as I mentioned earlier – not a lot of interest for me, I think it really would help to be more of an overall racing fan. I haven’t watched the commentary yet, but I expect to.
Blu-ray & Digital:
- Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool (Exclusive new mini-movie) – Enjoy blindsided testimonials from the Crazy 8’s, touting the transformative impact Miss Fritter’s Racing School has had in reshaping the direction of their lives
- Theatrical Short: “Lou” – When a toy-stealing bully ruins recess for a playground full of kids, only one thing stands in his way: the “Lost and Found” box.
- Let’s. Get. Crazy. – Get schooled in the world of demolition derby, the “rules” of figure 8 racing, and how Pixar puts the crazy in the Thunder Hollow Crazy 8 race. This piece is hosted by Lea DeLaria.
- Legendary – a close, historical look at the racing legends Wendell Scott and Louise Smith, whose tenacity and perseverance got them into the race even when they weren’t invited.
- Ready for the Race – Disney Channel’s Olivia Rodrigo and NASCAR Racer William Byron check out the Hendrick Motorsports campus to showcase how real-world race training influenced the filmmakers.
- World’s Fastest Billboard – Blink and you will miss all of the graphics and “car-ified” advertisements created by Pixar’s Art team to make the ”Cars 3” world as believable as possible.
- Cruz Ramirez: The Yellow Car That Could – Join Cristela Alonzo and the filmmakers on their journey to create a race-car trainer turned champion racer.
- Generations: The Story of “Cars 3” – For the story team, creating Lightning McQueen’s next chapter didn’t involve just a tune-up, but a complete overhaul.
- My First Car – A collection of illustrated first-car stories as narrated by members of the “Cars 3” cast and crew. “A Green Car on the Red Carpet with Kerry Washington,” “Old Blue,” and “Still in the Family.”
- 5 Deleted Scenes – Each deleted scene is set up with an introduction as to why it was removed from the film. Deleted scenes include “The Boogie Woogie,” “The Jars of Dirt,” “Lugnut,” “The Bolt,” and “More Than New Paint.”
- Cars To Die(cast) For – Take a look at the phenomenon of die-cast toy collecting and the more than 1,000 unique designs that exist in the Cars universe.
- Commentary – Brian Fee (Director), Kevin Reher (Producer), Andrea Warren (Co-Producer) and Jay Ward (Creative Director)
#95 by the #s in “Cars 3”
- 5 – As “Cars 3” gets underway, world-champion racer Lightning McQueen is riding high with five Piston-Cup wins under his hood.
- 11 – Lightning McQueen raced into moviegoers’ hearts 11 years ago—making his rookie debut in “Cars” in March 2006—and remains an iconic character today.
- 24 – The dramatic, slow-motion crash scene in which Lightning McQueen hits a wall and rolls several times takes 24 seconds.
- 95 – Lightning McQueen still sports the dynamic #95 with his signature lightning-bolt graphics. He displays five distinct looks in “Cars 3,” including one that pays homage to his original paint, a primer look he gets following the devastating crash, a custom wrap ordered by Sterling, and more.
- 198 – Lightning McQueen tops out at a speed of 198 miles per hour on his last lap with Cruz Ramirez on Fireball Beach. But Lightning’s nemesis—next-gen racer Jackson Storm—races at speeds pushing 207 mph.
“Cars 3” Pit Cast and Crew
“Cars 3” features Owen Wilson (“The Royal Tenenbaums,” upcoming “Wonder”) as the voice of Lightning McQueen. Cristela Alonzo (“The Angry Birds Movie”) voices tech-savvy trainer Cruz Ramirez, who tries to help #95 return to greatness, and Armie Hammer (“The Birth of a Nation”) lends his voice to next-gen racer Jackson Storm, whose high-tech speed leaves Lightning McQueen behind. Kerry Washington (ABC’s “Scandal,” HBO’s “Confirmation”) was called on to voice statistical analyst Natalie Certain, Nathan Fillion (ABC’s “Castle,” ABC’s “Modern Family”) provides the voice of brilliant businesscar Sterling, Lea DeLaria (Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”) lends her voice to formidable school bus Miss Fritter, and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton helps bring voice command assistant Hamilton to life.
The third chapter of Lightning’s story pays homage to NASCAR with four characters based on real-life stock car racing legends. Chris Cooper (“Adaptation,” “American Beauty”) voices Doc Hudson’s crew chief Smokey; team owner and NASCAR racing legend Junior Johnson lends his voice to Junior “Midnight” Moon; three-time Emmy® winner Margo Martindale (FX’s “The Americans,” FX’s “Justified,” Amazon’s “Sneaky Pete”) provides the voice of Louise “Barnstormer” Nash; and Isiah Whitlock Jr. (HBO’s “The Wire,” “Cedar Rapids,” HBO’s “Veep”) is the voice of River Scott. The film also features NASCAR drivers and the voices behind the sport, as well as a host of returning characters from Radiator Springs and the “Cars” racing world.
Directed by Brian Fee (storyboard artist “Cars,” “Cars 2“), produced by Kevin Reher (“A Bug’s Life,” “La Luna” short) and co-produced by Andrea Warren (“LAVA” short), “Cars 3” is executive produced by John Lasseter, who directed the first two films in the franchise. With a story by Fee, Ben Queen (TV’s “Powerless”), Eyal Podell (actor “Code Black”) & Jonathon E. Stewart (“Doing Time” short), the screenplay was penned by Kiel Murray (“Cars”), Bob Peterson (“Up,” “Finding Nemo”) and Mike Rich (“Secretariat,” “The Rookie”). The film features a score by Oscar®-winning composer Randy Newman (“Toy Story 3,” “Cars”), instrumental cues composed by Brad Paisley, and original songs by ZZ Ward and Grammy® winner Dan Auerbach.