I attended a complimentary screening for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.
Cars 3 is in theaters nationwide starting today! I had the chance to attend a screening of the newest installment from our favorite red racer and I’m excited to share what we thought. Thinking of taking the family to see Cars 3? Do it!
Cars 3 Family Movie Review
Official Cars 3 synopsis – Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo), with her own plan to win, plus inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage!
What I loved about Cars 3
First of all, I should tell you that we have only ever been mild to moderate fans of the Cars franchise. I loved the first movie in every way from the music to the animation to the plot and I’ve been wanting to take my boys to Cars Land from the moment Jerry and I set foot there during a conference a few years ago.
That said, the second movie strayed pretty far from the original and left many parents, myself included a little disappointed. I had high hopes for the third movie and I’m happy to say I had a great time seeing it with my boys.
So what’s to love about Cars 3? Well, I feel like this is the sequel we should have had instead of Cars 2. It was lighthearted and fun like the original, without all the danger of the spy theme that seemed so out of place in the second film. There were funny little one-liners for the parents, sight gags for the kids and good music for everyone.
Mater provided lots of fun comic relief and it was fun to see all of his “costume changes” throughout the movie. I also enjoyed learning more about Doc Hudson’s history as he was always one of my favorites in the original. And as a fan of NPR’s Car Talk, it was great to see the (slightly) bigger parts given to the Rusteez brothers, who have a special place in my heart.
I took both of my boys (ages 8 and 5) to the nighttime screening and while they were up way past their bedtime, they both loved it and stayed engaged for the whole movie. I really thought Calvin (5) would fall asleep but he didn’t want to miss a thing!
What I didn’t love about Cars 3
Look, this is a 3rd movie. And on top of that it’s animated. It’s no Cars(1) and I think it’s wise to set your expectations accordingly. Jackson Storm as the movie’s hotheaded rookie was fine as the villain and Cruz Ramirez was a good enough protagonist. But like most sequels, the newer characters just don’t live up to the originals.
I would have loved smaller parts for the new guys and a little more development for our old favorites like Mater, Sally and Mack. Does that mean the movie wasn’t enjoyable? Not at all. It just means I might have done it a little differently. Alas, PIXAR hasn’t yet discovered my genius.
If you are looking for a fun night (or day) out with the family, I think you’ll really enjoy seeing Cars 3 together. This is a kids movie and my kids thoroughly enjoyed it, which means it’s a hit in my book!
Make sure to grab your popcorn and get in your seats in plenty of time to catch the short, LOU, before the movie. Oscar said this was one of his favorite parts of the evening and I have to agree! It’s just the sweetest little film. Also, make sure you stay to the end of the credits for a fun little extra scene after the full movie.
Free Cars 3 Printable Activity Sheets
I love free printables to bring along on road trips, waiting rooms or even dining out. Click the images below to open and print these pdfs!
Are you planning to see Cars 3 or have you already seen it? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Cars 3 rated G and has a run time of 1 hour 49 minutes. Now playing everywhere!