CARS 3 – A Review by John Strange

MEET THE LEGENDS — Lightning McQueen comes hood to hood with a group of characters who represent the roots of stock car racing—and provide a link to Lightning’s late coach and mentor, Doc Hudson. From left: River Scott (voice of Isiah Whitlock Jr.), Junior “Midnight” Moon (voice of Robert Glenn “Junior” Johnson), Smokey (voice of Chris Cooper), Louise “Barnstormer” Nash (voice of Margo Martindale), and Lightning himself (voice of Owen Wilson). “Cars 3” opens in U.S. theaters  on June 16, 2017. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
CARS 3 – A Review by John Strange
One of the things you don't expect to see in an animated series is a serious approach to ending a career in an honest and intelligent manner where the subject maintains their dignity.  In Cars 3 we are presented with how someone with Lighting McQueen's talent handles the prospect of a career ending injury.
Lightning (voiced by Owen Wilson) has so much talent, but as in NASCAR, each year brings new rookies to challenge him.  They are younger, smarter, and faster.  They use new technologies in ways that the team at Rust-eze have never seen before.  They watch as friend after friend loses their place on the racing teams to the new crop of cars.
The newest big shot on the track, Jackson Storm (voiced by Armie Hammer), begins to win race after race.  This makes Lightning's place on the team under new owner Sterling (voiced by Nathan Fillion) very shaky.  When Lightning crashes during a late season push to take over the lead, it looks like his career is over.
In the spirit of Top Gun and Days of Thunder, this is a film about how the hero recovers from his terrible injuries and makes a comeback to regain his honor and pride.  Cruz Ramirez (voiced by Cristela Alonzo) is brought in to help Lightning train to re-enter the circuit.  The training takes them across country as they head for Florida to the first race of the new season, the Florida 500.
Our hero slowly regains his love of racing but he also has to learn how to race against the younger breed like Storm.  This would give any of us pause.  How do you get your mind around the need change how you run races?  Races you used to win with ease?  It's not easy and Lightning struggles to wrap his head around the concept.
The story of Lightning McQueen takes a turn that I didn't expect but I loved to watch unfold.  The film has a lesson for all of us about how and when to grow up.  Cars 3 is filled with the voices of the greats of racing and the voices of some of the best voice actors in the business.  Some of those characters voiced by NASCAR greats are  Jeff Gordon (Jeff Gorvette), Richard Petty (The King), Darrell Waltrip (Darrell Cartrip), and Kyle Petty (Cal Weathers).  Others by folks like Kerry Washington (Natalie Certain), Margo Martindale (Louise Nash), Cheech Marin (Ramone), and Bob Costas (Bob Cutlass).
Those voices are a strong part of why this series has worked for me.  The stories and the animation are excellent but as I see each new character come on the screen my ears strain to figure out whose voice is involved.  This is a good film for the family, well worth the cost.   
Directed by: Brian Fee
Cast: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Nathan Fillion, Larry the Cable Guy, Armie Hammer, Ray Magliozzi, Tony Shalhoub, Bonnie Hunt, Kerry Washington, Bob Costas, Margo Martindale, Darrell Waltrip, Isiah Whitlock Jr., John Ratzenberger, Kyle Petty, Lloyd Sherr, Junior Johnson, Ray Evernham, Paul Newman, Cheech Marin, Katherine Helmond, Paul Dooley, Jenifer Lewis, Madeleine McGraw, Jeff Gordon, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney, Bubba Wallace, Chase Elliott, Richard Petty, Andra Day
MPAA Rating: G
Selig Rating: A+
Runtime: 109 Min.
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
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