Our love for the “Cars” movie franchise began back on a hot day in May, when the three of us decided to snuggle up and watch the epic thrill ride that was the original 2006 film, “Cars.” Between Alex’s love for Owen Wilson, Abbey’s passion for animated automobiles, and Chloe’s infatuation with Radiator Springs, it’s no surprise that this Disney masterpiece makes our Top 10. Imagine our shock when less than a week later, we realized a third Cars would be hitting the big screen in just a short month. With high hopes that this one would top the trash that was “Cars 2,” we downloaded the AMC rewards app on our phones, and settled for a rainy day in July at the Georgetown theatre (Chloe insisted on the reclining chairs).
Two days prior to the big event, Abbey and Chloe headed to the Town of Kensington, Maryland to grab some Cars paraphernalia at the Party City located inside Wheaton Mall. Much to our dismay, there was a very weak selection, comprised of a few overpriced party hats, some cheap sunglasses, and a deflated Lightning McQueen balloon. We eventually decided on some Cars themed temporary tattoos, despite our disappointment with Mater not being included in the tattoo pack.
After gathering our bearings, tatting up, and purchasing $14 tickets, we headed to the concession stand, where we went all out on chicken nuggets, soda, and a large popcorn. Due to some complications with Alex’s chicken nugget order being given to the wrong customer, we arrived to the theatre about five minutes late, luckily missing only the intro. The red leather reclining chairs made up for the poor customer service, providing maximum comfort and a joyous viewing experience.
In a year filled with feminist films like “Wonder Woman” and “Moana,” “Cars 3” was no different. Alongside Lightning McQueen was Cruz Ramirez, a successful female racing instructor turned competitor. Ramirez’s success on the track was supported by the old timer Louise Nash, “The First Lady of Racing,” who back in the day, had to steal her racing number in order to race because she was a female car. Louise Nash was based on real life female race car driver, Louise Smith, who drove a Nash Ambassador. When Ramirez got on the track, she was faced with sexism from competitors, reporters, and fans, a feeling many competitive female athletes in a male dominated sport can emphasize with.
While “Cars 3” had a fantastic soundtrack, we were more than disappointed by the minimal role of Tow Mater, the humorous and innocent side kick to Lightning McQueen. Mater was a fan favorite for many, but as “Cars 3” took on a more serious tone, Mater was left without a significant role.
“Cars 3” stirred up the perfect amount of childhood nostalgia without overly relying on earlier films in the trilogy for plot elements. Our personal favorite scene ended in tears all around, and resulted in Alex nearly having to leave the theatre, popcorn in hand. The tear provoking moment involved McQueen finding out that Doc’s favorite part of his career was not his very successful racing days, but rather his time coaching McQueen. This scene (spoiler alert) turned out to foreshadow the film’s moving ending, in which McQueen retired from racing in order to train the younger, promising Cruz Ramirez.
Overall, we came to a consensus that this movie far surpassed “Cars 2,” but got into a heated argument over whether it was better than the original Cars movie. Abbey and Chloe were on the affirmative side, arguing that the combination of female empowerment and recognition of technological advancement helped to make this film the strongest yet, while Alex stayed true to his childhood fav.
Whether you’ve seen the previous Cars films or not, Cars 3 is a must see for all ages. So hit the brakes on your delta math, rev your engines, and park yourself at your nearest theatre before it’s too late!
PHOTO COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS