Movie Review: Disney Pixar Cars 3

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After watching a sneak peek of the first 40 minutes of Cars 3 at the #Cars3Event press junket a few months ago, I have been so excited to finally see how the movie ends. Of course, I woke up with a horrible cold the morning of the screening and couldn’t attend. My husband and son happily went in my place, after I made them promise to not share any spoilers with me until the film opens on June 16th. You better believe I’ll be at the theater opening weekend to see what happens to Lightening McQueen! My husband gave his thoughts on the film in the review section below. Also, arrive to the theater early enough to catch the new Pixar short – Lou. You won’t want to miss it. Ka-chow! 



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! 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” cruises into theaters on June 16, 2017.



  • Filmmakers added four characters to the film that were inspired by real NASCAR legends, Junior Johnson, Louise Smith, Wendell Scott, and Henry “Smokey” Yunick.
  • Five key areas in the southeast U.S. were visited to research the history of stock-car racing as well as the look and feel of racing in the area. Among these areas are Charlotte, North Carolina, where filmmakers spent time at the NASCAR museum, the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Hendrick Motorsport facility, consultant Ray Evernham’s garage and voice talent Humpy Wheeler’s house; North Wilkesboro Speedway; Occoneechee State Park and Speedway; Daytona, where they saw the Daytona Superspeedway, Daytona Beach (where early races took place), Daytona 500 Museum; and the Sonoma Speedway, where filmmakers were invited
    to ride along with professional racecar drivers.

Cars 3 Press Trip & Sonoma Raceway

  • More than two dozen characters take part in the Crazy 8 demolition derby sequence, including Tbone, a car whose condition improves—temporarily—when he gets hit; SuperFly, who catches air; FareGame, the taxi who doesn’t get any fares; and Jimbo the pickup truck.
  • Junior Johnson, NASCAR driver from the 1950s-60s who inspired “Cars 3” character Junior “Midnight” Moon, won 50 NASCAR races before retiring in 1966.
  • Lightning McQueen still sports the dynamic #95 with his signature lightning-bolt graphics. The design of those graphics is a hybrid of his look from 2006’s “Cars” and his look in 2011’s “Cars 2.”


  • “Cars 3” gets dirty, really dirty. And it turns out, dirt—particularly mud—isn’t easy to get right in an animated feature. Artists and technicians teamed up to get the look just right—not too thick, not too thin—which was important because mud, splatters, dust, sand and sacred dirt appear in 616 shots. 656 Cruz Ramirez is a key character with a compelling and emotional story. In order to give her a dynamic range of motion and expressions, character riggers gave Cruz a total of 656 controls, including 360 for her body and 296 for her face—the mouth, lips, teeth and tongue have 216 controls alone.
  • NASCAR legend Louise Smith entered her first race in 1949, where she rolled her family’s new Ford coupe. Smith inspired “Cars 3” character Louise Barnstormer Nash. NASCAR’s Wendell Scott, who inspired “Cars 3” character River Scott, was posthumously inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015.
  • The render farm being utilized to render “Cars 3” runs more than 60,000 cores. Memory has been upgraded recently, bringing the average per core to 10 gigabytes, compared to the 4 gigabytes per core recently used for “Inside Out”.



Cars 3 (rated G) is a return to greatness and reminiscent of the first film.  I was not alone in that opinion as I overheard a gentleman sitting next to me saying the same.  In my opinion, Cars 3 may be an even better film that the original Cars!

The film centers on our hero, Lightning McQueen, coming to grips with reality: athletes eventually slow down and lose to the youngsters. In the case of cars, to the brand new generation of faster, more aerodynamically efficient models. Lightning has a terrible crash when he pushes himself beyond the safe zone to try and catch the new Champ in town, and has to go back to his buddies in Radiator Springs to get repairs and make a comeback to take down the new Champ and regain his spot at number one. All of this, without the wisdom and guidance of the late Doc Hudson.
I think the film was a great exploration of the cycle we all must go through in life. As an athlete gets older, they will eventually come to a decision point: retire and fade off into the sunset or pass on their knowledge and wisdom to another and in doing so, derive greater satisfaction than they ever dreamed possible. Which will Lightning choose?
I think this film is an awesome Father’s Day movie. It reminded me of the joy I feel every time I get to teach my kids something new that I HOPE will serve them well in the future.
Cars 3 races into theaters on June 16th! 

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Hi, I'm Vanessa!

Welcome to See Vanessa Craft! I’m Vanessa, an MSSW and mom of two in Arizona, and I’m happy you’re here to get inspired with me. It’s my mission in life to spread creativity through crafts, recipes, travel and more in order to live a life well lived.