Cars 3 Races to Drive Home Two Important Messages – The third film to carry the Cars title could have just been another attempt to milk cash from a proven money-maker. Making over $53 million in its opening weekend and scoring a 7.2/10 on IMDB, it definitely made money. But, it was more than that. Pixar, the company behind the Cars franchise and numerous other successful animated movies, drove not only one, but two, lessons across the finish line.
Cars 3 Races to Drive Home Two Important Messages
As is the case with most of Pixar’s offerings, the movie was fun and entertaining. But in Cars 3, Pixar took the spotlight off of the main character in order to tell a bigger story. The most obvious lesson being taught by Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater, and friends was that girls can win, too. Not only can girls win, but they can even be far better, and can do so in a male dominated world.
Cruz Ramirez begins the story as McQueen’s trainer. McQueen is aging, and needs to get himself back in shape. The newer, younger racers are able to beat him now. We follow Cruz and McQueen through the training program constantly hoping for McQueen to get better and come back a winner. Throughout their adventure, Cruz is consistently a McQueen supporter. Not only that, but Cruz actually saves McQueen from a bunch of baddies in the form of figure 8 racers. By the time that McQueen is ready to get back on the track, he realizes that Cruz should be the one racing… not him. Girl cars can kick butt too!
The second lesson, buried a little deeper in the movie – but still obvious, is that it’s okay to lose. Not everyone wins every time. You don’t always get what you want, and that’s okay! We see the familiar hero of the franchise begin to fade from the front of the pack. He strives to get back on top, but ultimately fails to do so… and McQueen is okay with that. Not everyone wins, and certainly not every time. It was refreshing to see the assumed hero of the story not quite make it. It shows the audience a bit of a real world situation, so to speak. Although the true hero of the story was Cruz, obviously the vehicle for driving the movie along was Lightning McQueen. Seeing him accept that he isn’t the best is a great lesson for children, and some adults, too.
Pixar is no stranger to making movies just because they can. A few franchises under their belt made one or two movies that we really didn’t need. Cars 3, however, was definitely needed. I think it’s important for boys and girls both to see this movie. It’s funny, entertaining, and features a catchy soundtrack (check it out here). But it also teaches some important lessons, and do so in such a way that children will be able to understand and accept them.
Cars 3 characters and cast include:
Lightning McQueen – Owen Wilson (Zoolander, Inherent Vice, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Big Year, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wedding Crashers, Meet the Parents, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)
Cruz Ramirez – Cristela Alonzo
Smokey – Chris Cooper (American Beauty, The Bourne Identity, Adaptation, The Patriot, The Town, August: Osage County, Breach, Capote)
Sterling – Nathan Fillion (Castle, Serenity, Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Guardians of the Galaxy)
Mater – Larry the Cable Guy (Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Bounty Hunters, Witless Protection, Delta Farce)
Jackson Storm – Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger, Nocturnal Animals, J. Edgar, The Social Network, Gossip Girl)
Dusty – Ray Magliozzi
Luigi – Tony Shalhoub (Monk, Men in Black, Wings, BrainDead, Nurse Jackie, Spy Kids, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Sally – Bonnie Hunt (Rain Man, Bonnie, A Bug’s Life, The Green Mile, Life with Bonnie, Toy Story 3)
Miss Fritter – Lea DeLaria (Orange is the New Black, Edge of Seventeen, One Life to Live, The First Wives Club)
Natalie Certain – Kerry Washington (Django Unchained, Scandal, Ray, The Last King of Scotland, Mr. and Mrs. Smith)
Bob Cutlass – Bob Costas
Louise Nash – Margo Martindale (Million Dollar Baby, August: Osage County, The Americans, The Hours, The Good Wife, Sneaky Pete, Suits, Heaven Is For Real, Justified, The Savages, Dexter, The Hollars, The Guest Book)
River Scott – Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (1408, 25th Hour, Enchanted, Goodfellas, Veep, The Wire, Cedar Rapids, Europa Report, Rubicon)